What you need to know

The car parts replacement market, as defined by Mintel, is set to see steady growth during 2019 (2.8%) to take its value to £5.76 million. Although the shocks of Sterling’s depreciation in mid-2016 on prices may have passed, the currency continues to be under pressure affecting costs to the consumer. Separately trading up within the tyre sector during 2019 is a notable short-term feature helping ensure that tyres continue to be the largest segment of the market overall with revenues estimated at £2.93 million for 2019.

Despite growth in sales value, the market into which replacement parts are sold is currently beset with difficulties. New car sales have been falling since 2016 with the latest data suggesting a further fall to 2.33 million units in 2019. The used car market, for a long time a growing sector, has also recently been hit by problems with sales here expected to be down to a forecast 7.57 million units in 2019. Coupled with the increased costs of car ownership, the fact that cars are becoming ever more reliable and as sluggish consumer confidence as Brexit continues to play out, manufacturers and retailers increasingly need to re-assess how they can operate effectively.

Illustrating the challenges faced by suppliers is the apparent loss in confidence from manufacturers and retailers towards promotional spend. Investment in advertising and promotion has fallen yearly from £9.65 billion in 2015 to £7.73 billion in 2018 with even lower spend expected for 2019.

Mintel’s consumer research offers an insight into where the market is heading. Whereas there is a strong level of support for the ownership of older cars, and the likely replacement opportunities these present, there is also a trend towards the purchase of ‘newer’ used vehicles which are likely to be more reliable. While in-store purchasing of replacement parts remains popular, there appears to be growing interest in purchasing online. With this typically offering lower prices, it is potentially worrying that Mintel’s research highlights the importance of this channel for the most affluent car owners. Exploring ways of offering added value for those looking at parts replacement continues as shown by the continuing expansion in fast-fit outlets.

Products covered in this Report

Car aftermarket parts are defined as products that need to be replaced so that, mechanically, the car may function better or, indeed, at all. In this respect, they differ from car accessories, which may include comfort, security and/or appearance as the prime motivators to purchase.

For the purposes of this Report, only certain major aftermarket parts are reviewed. These are defined as those parts that are typically able to be serviced at automotive fast-fit centres in addition to dealers and garages. Replacement tyres are also included in this definition. The full line-up of parts reviewed is as follows:

  • shock absorbers and related parts

  • oil filters and related parts

  • tyres

  • exhausts and related parts

  • batteries

  • brakes and related parts

  • clutches and related parts

  • lightbulbs and related parts

The product areas covered in this Report may be purchased from a retail outlet and fitted by the car owner or will be purchased from a garage, dealership, fast-fit outlet or a mechanic and fitted by a professional. VAT is included.

This Report purely covers the sale of this type of good to consumers (and not trade between suppliers/manufacturers and retailers).

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