Report: Independent ‘Do-It-For-Me’ market share shrinks

“The Independent Do-It-For-Me (DIFM) market consists of all non-Dealer outlets that repair cars and light trucks. Following the 2008 Recession, more than 3,000 Dealers closed across the U.S. This created an automotive repair vacuum that was quickly filled by Independent (non-Dealer) repair outlets, whose DIFM product share steadily expanded over the ensuing six years.

“After topping 78% of car and light truck repair in 2014, Independent (non-Dealer) DIFM outlets began to suffer small annual DIFM market share declines.”

— Jim Lang, publisher, Lang Aftermarket iReport

Independent Repair Outlets

The Independent (non-Dealer) DIFM market is regarded as “Independent” because OE service outlets (Vehicle Dealers) purchase the bulk of their automotive products through OE distribution.

Non-Dealer service outlets, in contrast, have most of their vehicle products supplied by non-OE or Independent channels (including multitier and independent distribution).

Declining Independent Outlet Share Prior to 2008

The Independent outlet share of the car and light truck service repair market had been shrinking for more than two decades prior to the 2008 Great Recession.

During 2007, the Independent (non-Dealer) service market bottomed at less than 73% of light vehicle DIFM product volume.

Independent DIFM Market Share Surge

By 2010, the Independent light vehicle Service market has risen to 78% of DIFM product volume, up from 74% of the 2008 market.

Independent (non-Dealer) repair outlets continued to expand their DIFM product share, reaching 79% of 2014 DIFM product volume.

Dealer Rebound

Regrouping from the 2008 Great Recession, Dealers began to expand their DIFM market share during 2015.

Many Dealers embraced a new set of service bay strategies that included repairing all-makes and all-years of vehicles. They coupled this with making their service bays more convenient and price competitive.

Dealers Build Repair Market Share

The 2008 Great Recession hit Dealer bay volume hard, with Dealer DIFM product share falling from 27% during 2008 to just over 21% by 2014.

The Dealer DIFM light vehicle market share began to climb in 2015, and Lang Marketing estimates that Dealer share in 2020 topped 22%. Full analysis of the 2020 DIFM aftermarket will be available in June.

Slipping Independent DIFM Share

As Dealers increase their DIFM light vehicle share, Independent outlet strength will decline.

Lang Marketing projects Independent (non-Dealer) service outlets will slip to a 76% share of 2022 DIFM product sales.

Covid-19 Impact on Independent Repair Outlets

Two major groups of Independent repair outlets will suffer the brunt of the expanding Dealer DIFM surge: Service Stations & Garages and Tire Stores.

The 2020 impact of Covid-19 on the aftermarket disproportionately affected the repair product sales of these two groups of outlets, particularly Service Stations & Garages.

Six Major Takeaways

  • More than 3,000 Dealers closed across the country following the 2008 Great Recession. This enabled Independent (non-Dealer) repair outlets to rapidly expand their DIFM product share.
  • The Independent (non-Dealer) service market had suffered a shrinking share of car and light truck repair for more than 20 years prior to the 2008 Great Recession.
  • Bottoming at 72% of car and light truck DIFM repair in 2007, Independent (non-Dealer) service outlets surged in strength, peaking at 79% of the 2014 DIFM market.
  • Dealers climbed from 25% of the 2000 light vehicle DIFM sales to more than 27% of the 2007 market. The Great Recession of 2008 ended more than two decades of repair market share gains by Dealers.
  • In 2015, Dealers achieved their first increase in DIFM product share (since 2008), and Lang Marketing projects that Dealers will continue to expand their share of the DIFM market, reaching an estimated 24% of 2022 DIFM product volume.
  • Most of the Dealer growth in DIFM product share has been at the expense of two major groups of Independent repair outlets: Service Stations & Garages and Tire Stores, with Service Stations & Garages accounting for over 75% of the Independent market share loss.

Copyright 2021 by Lang Marketing Resources, Inc.

NOTESpecial thanks to publisher Jim Lang for granting us permission to publish the Lang Aftermarket iReport.