Report: COVID-19 causes ‘Do-It-For-Me’ auto repair to plunge at double-digit rate
“The onslaught of COVID-19 sent total miles driven down more than 13% last year and caused Do-It-For-Me (DIFM) auto repair to plunge at a double-digit rate. Nevertheless, some DIFM outlets fared better than others in this turbulent marketplace.
“Although all types of DIFM outlets fell in repair dollar volume last year, some managed to increase their share of the DIFM market.”
— Jim Lang, publisher, Lang Aftermarket iReport
DIFM Market Plunge
COVID-19 caused a historic decline in Do-It-For-Me (DIFM) car and light truck auto repair across the U.S., with total product volume during 2020 plunging at a double-digit rate. Nevertheless, not all of the seven major types of DIFM outlets were equally affected.
While there was an unprecedented plunge in light vehicle DIFM product annual sales from over $4.0 billion to less than $1.0 billion for individual types of repair outlets, even greater differences occurred in the product share changes of DIFM outlets.
Winners and Losers
Five of the seven major types of DIFM outlets were badly battered by the devastating conditions of the light vehicle repair marketplace last year.
However, two types of repair outlets, Repair Specialists and Foreign Specialists, showed much greater resilience and each was able to add substantially to its DIFM market share despite the challenging marketplace.
DIFM Market Share Winners
Repair Specialists (outlets focusing on a limited menu of vehicle repair) increased their DIFM market share by 0.7%, despite suffering more than a $2.5 billion decline in 2020 product volume.
Foreign Specialists (outlets concentrating on the repair of foreign nameplates) suffered a $2 billion decline in annual product volume, the smallest sales loss of any major type of Service outlet. As a result, their DIFM product share climbed 0.6%. This largely reflected the strong performance of foreign nameplates in the DIFM market.
Types of DIFM Outlets Hit Hard
The nearly $12 billion plunge in 2020 DIFM light vehicle product volume caused significant losses in product share for five major types of DIFM outlets.
Service Stations & Garages suffered the largest product decline, accounting for nearly one-third of the total 2020 DIFM product plunge, as their product share suffered a major hit.
Tire Stores reported more than a $1.0 billion decline in product volume, followed by Discount Stores/Mass Merchandisers with bays and Auto Parts Stores with bays, both with significant reductions in product volume and DIFM product share.
Dealers Hold Steady Share
Dealers’ DIFM product volume declined by nearly $2.5 billion during 2020. Despite this, Dealers did not suffer a drop in product share as their position in the DIFM market held firm.
Differing Rates of 2020 Product Decline
Service Stations & Garages suffered nearly a 16% plunge in light vehicle product sales last year, greater than the 12% average of the overall DIFM market. Three other DIFM outlets contributed to the total reduction in DIFM product sales during 2020: Auto Parts Stores with bays, -17%; Discount Stores/Mass Merchandisers with bays, -22%; and Tire Stores, -13%.
Foreign Specialists recorded the smallest decline in 2020 DIFM product sales, down less than 7%, while Repair Specialists also had a much lower-than-average drop in DIFM product sales last year, down 9%.
Dealers managed to match virtually the overall reduction rate of DIFM product volume during 2020. This enabled Dealers to hold the same share of DIFM product sales in 2020 as they did the previous year.
Impact of Outlet DIFM Performances
The significant differences in the performance of the seven major types of DIFM outlets reflect the kinds of products they install, the nameplate and age mix of vehicles that they repair, and the competitive strengths they bring to the marketplace.
While DIFM product sales are rebounding appreciably during 2021, there will be significant differences in how well each of the major types of DIFM outlets recover in the changing 2021 aftermarket.
Six Major Takeaways
- COVID-19 caused a historic plunge in performance in DIFM car and light truck repair across the U.S., with total product volume plunging nearly $12 billion at user-price.
- Repair Specialists and Foreign Specialists showed much greater resilience to the impact of COVID-19, and each were able to substantially add to their DIFM market share during 2020.
- Five of seven major types of DIFM outlets were badly battered by the tough conditions of the light vehicle repair market, and they sank significantly in DIFM product share.
- Service Stations & Garages suffered more than a 14% slump in light vehicle product sales last year, Auto Parts Stores with bays were down 17%, Discount stores/Mass Merchandisers with bays recorded a 22% decline, and Tire Stores fell 13% in repair product volume.
- Foreign Specialists recorded the smallest decline in 2020 DIFM product sales, down less than 7%, while Repair Specialists also had a less-than-average drop in DIFM product sales last year, down only 9%.
- The significant differences in the 2020 performances of the seven major types of DIFM outlets correlate to the kinds of products they install, the nameplate and age mix of vehicles they repair, and their competitive strengths.
Copyright 2021 by Lang Marketing Resources, Inc.
NOTE: Special thanks to publisher Jim Lang for granting us permission to publish the Lang Aftermarket iReport.