Report: Do-It-For-Me (DIFM) specialists lead auto repair recovery
“There are two types of Do-It-For-Me (DIFM) Specialty outlets: Repair Specialists and Foreign Specialists. For many years, these outlets have achieved strong annual rates of DIFM product growth in the U.S.
“The product growth of these two DIFM Specialty groups is reflected in their expanding service bay populations. This has enabled them to record annual product growth that has far outpaced the combined growth of all the other repair outlets over the past five years (2015 to 2020).”
— Jim Lang, publisher, Lang Aftermarket iReport
Repair Specialists (outlets focusing on a limited array of light vehicle repair) have added more product volume between 2015 and 2020 than any other type of repair outlet in the car and light truck aftermarket.
Repair Specialists encompass a wide array of outlets including undercar specialists, exhaust specialists, brake specialists, and oil change specialists, among many others.
Foreign Specialists focus on the repair and maintenance of foreign nameplates. They have recorded the highest percentage growth rate in the DIFM aftermarket over the past five years, leveraging the rapid expansion of the overall foreign nameplate aftermarket.
DIFM Product Increases
Although Repair Specialists and Foreign Specialists both had decreased aftermarket product sales during the 2020 onslaught of COVID-19, each suffered lower rates of product decline than the overall DIFM market.
Despite lower 2020 sales, both Repair Specialists and Foreign Specialists recorded significant product growth between 2015 and 2020.
Until the onslaught of COVID-19, Repair Specialists had increased their 2019 annual product sales by more than $2.6 billion over 2015, with Repair Specialists pushing their 2019 product volume up by $1.6 billion over these years.
All other DIFM outlets suffered a combined $2.9 billion loss in product volume between 2015 and 2020.
Expanding Product Share
Repair Specialists and Foreign Specialists together climbed from less than 31.0% of 2015 DIFM product sales to a 33.2% combined share of the 2020 DIFM market.
Lang Marketing estimates that Repair Specialists added 1.2% to their DIFM product share between 2015 and 2020, while Foreign Specialists achieved a 1.1% increase in their repair product share.
Annual Growth Rates
Repair Specialists expanded their product volume at a 0.8% annual rate between 2015 and 2020, while the entire DIFM market suffered a 0.3% annual decline.
Foreign Specialists increased their DIFM product volume at an even faster pace, averaging a 2.5% rate of product growth during these five years.
More Specialty Service Bays
Both types of DIFM Specialists have steadily expanded their service bay populations. Repair Specialists operated 4,000 more car and light truck service bays across the country at mid-year 2020 than they did in 2015.
Foreign Specialists added 3,000 bays by mid-year 2020 over 2015.
At the same time, the total number of car and light truck service bays operated by all other outlets plunged by more than 30,000.
Strong Future Growth
Lang Marketing expects that both types of DIFM Specialty outlets will be at the forefront of the rebound in light vehicle repair volume across the U.S.
By 2024, Lang Marketing projects that Repair Specialists and Foreign Specialists will combine for more than $33 billion in car and light truck product volume at user-price and will generate over 60% of the light vehicle DIFM product growth between 2020 and 2024.
Lang Marketing also forecasts that the combined bay population of these two groups of DIFM Specialists will top 330,000 by 2024.
Six Major Takeaways
- Lang Marketing estimates that Repair Specialists and Foreign Specialists together will add more than $4 billion to their total DIFM product volume between 2020 and 2024.
- The growth of DIFM Specialists is reflected in their expanding service bay populations.
- Lang Marketing estimates that Repair Specialists will add approximately 8,000 bays nationwide between 2020 and 2024. Foreign Specialists will expand their service bay population by an estimated 6,000 during these years.
- Repair Specialists will average more than 5.5% DIFM product growth between 2020 and 2024, much greater than the average annual increase of all other DIFM outlets over this four-year span.
- Foreign Specialists’ sales will climb at an even faster pace, with over 6.0% annual growth between 2020 and 2024.
- Lang Marketing projects that both groups of Specialty Repair outlets will continue expanding their DIFM product volume at an above average pace, driven by the increasing number of service bays they will operate over the next four years.
Copyright 2021 by Lang Marketing Resources, Inc.
NOTE: Special thanks to publisher Jim Lang for granting us permission to publish the Lang Aftermarket iReport.