Automotive Aftermarket Market Research & Business Solutions

The automobile is central to the American story. We are a people of movement and change. The businesses of the automotive aftermarket and petroleum-marketing industries – integral to that vision of America – know all about change. The NPD Group is where those businesses turn when seeking to understand how American consumers’ buying patterns are shifting.

For more than a quarter century we’ve tracked buying trends; collected consumer data; polled drivers, mechanics, and DIYers; and crunched the numbers – all to support industry leaders in their strategic decision-making.

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Products


Retail Tracking

Our Retail Tracking Service delivers unmatched point-of-sale information so you can understand market dynamics, partner with retailers, and identify growth opportunities. Like no other source, we provide a complete and accurate view of the automotive products market. Information is collected from our retail panel covering 80 percent of the total U.S. market, including 18 retailers from the mass and automotive specialty channels.

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Weekly Retail Tracking

Now you can monitor product launches, promotions, and seasonal sales cycles, especially when fast market response is required. This service delivers a clear view of a promotion’s impact during the week or weeks the promotional event occurred. It gives you the flexibility to more effectively analyze sales influenced by holidays, seasons, and weather events. You can use this weekly information to analyze actual market price changes with increased precision, so you can better align pricing with drivers. It enables an apples-to-apples comparison to year-ago time periods.

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Store-Level Enabled Retail Tracking

Store-Level Enabled Retail Tracking complements our national Retail Tracking Service – it can help you determine whether sales are distribution-driven or whether certain parts of the country are contributing more to national share or driving growth. The velocity measure set that is part of Store-Level Enabled Retail Tracking takes into consideration sales volume (Annualized Industry Volume or AIV) rather than considering store count alone, for a more meaningful read on where products are selling and how they are performing.

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Account Level Reports

These reports enable retailers who choose this option to share their information with approved vendors, allowing vendors to analyze business performance at specific retailers down to the item level in many instances. By making this report available to their vendors, retailers can work together with them to optimize performance. These reports may only be made available with the express permission of the retailer.

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Car Care Track

Look to Car Care Track for in-depth consumer behavior data for mapping long-term, sustainable growth in the automotive industry. With consumer profiles, category trends, and consumer purchase behavior detail, it offers a complete profile of the “do-it-yourself” and “do-it-for-me” customer markets throughout the U.S.

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Motor Fuels Index

Explore the most comprehensive source of information for understanding the gasoline consumer and tracking trends in the U.S. gasoline marketplace. Based on information provided by more than 200,000 households annually, Motor Fuels Index helps petroleum marketing companies analyze and react to shifts in consumer behavior and keep up with marketplace changes.

Categories

  • Unleaded Gasoline (regular, mid-grade, premium)
  • Diesel
  • Alternative Fuels

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Shopping Activity Services

Get access to insights on shopping, browsing, and buying visits across all channels, retailers, categories, and demographics. View conversion rate and average spend measures and see how they vary by retailer, season, and demographic. Gain an understanding of where else your customer is shopping and buying.

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Solutions


You have opportunities. You face threats. What you need are smart, quantifiable methods of distinguishing one from the other and maximizing your chances of success.  NPD’s Solutions Group includes a team of senior leaders with extensive experience developing and delivering analytic solutions that address strategic marketing, sales, and planning issues.

We combine NPD POS and consumer information, industry expertise, and custom survey research… then add state of the discipline research techniques and methodologies to explain the “why behind the buy”.  Through advanced modeling and analytic services, we offer insight into what will happen in the future, not just what has happened in the past, answering your most pressing business questions:

See how clients have used our solutions to solve their business challenges in our Solutions Case Study Library.


Reports


January 15, 2016

Aftermarket Perspectives

November 2015

Despite the decline in gas prices compared to the previous November, the continuation of fall’s warmer-than-average temperatures in much of the country led to the first dollar volume decline of 2015 for the U.S. aftermarket. 

 

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November 16, 2015

Aftermarket Perspectives

September 2015

It was the perfect storm for the automotive aftermarket in September – mild weather prevailed, and average gas prices were a dollar less than they were at the same time last year. The extended good weather and less expensive gas combined to generate growth in several categories.

Read More


November 16, 2015

Aftermarket Perspectives

December 2015

The overall U.S. Consumer Confidence Index may have grown by +3.7 percent in October versus year-ago, but confidence in the Texas Region declined by -9.7 percent in the same period. Lower gas prices have had a negative impact on the oil and gas industry – resulting in layoffs or potential layoffs and less driving (which, in turn, means less maintenance).

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October 13, 2015

Aftermarket Perspectives

In August, the overriding fundamentals remained – people were driving more, and the weather was favorable for maintenance and appearance. Growth in the overall aftermarket industry continued – even units/quarts were positive over the past six months.  Key categories supported by both aging vehicles and brand-new cars experienced strong growth.

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September 16, 2015

Aftermarket Perspectives

July saw car care heat up –categories related to hot weather and appearance had their moment in the sun. Batteries and battery accessories, along with refrigerants and accessories, were up in July. Appearance accessories and chemicals, too, got a summertime boost. See which products drove the growth and what it translated to in dollar gains.

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August 27, 2015

Who are your most valuable auto parts customers?

Is it the heavy DIY’ers – the “Grease Monkey Mikes” – or the medium DIY’ers – the "Tune-Up Toms"?

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Press Releases


February 23, 2016

Car Sales, Miles Driven, and Record-Breaking Temperatures Fuel Growth for Automotive Aftermarket

NPD Forecasts Retail Sales Will Surpass $15B In 2016, While Miles Driven Will Return To More Modest Rate Of Growth Port Washington, NY, February 23, 2016 – The automotive aftermarket industry grew to $14.6 billion in 2015, with dollar sales increasing by 3.9 percent and units/quarts by 1.7 percent*, The automotive aftermarket industry grew to $14.6 billion in 2015, with dollar sales increasing by 3.9 percent and units/quarts by 1.7 percent*, according to global information company The NPD Group. While dollar sales have been accelerating since 2013, unit/quart sales have been down, and 2015 marked the first year in which both ended positively. New and used car sales, an increase in miles driven, and atypical weather were factors that influenced the aftermarket’s strong performance during the year.

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Infographics


Insights


April 22, 2016

An Eye on Boomers’ Fuel Consumption

While Millennials have been on retailers’ radar as a prime demographic group to target, the Baby Boomer age cohort should not be ignored. Baby Boomers are the generation with the greatest buying power in the history of the U.S.; they account for a dramatic 40 percent of total consumer demand.

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January 27, 2016

2015 Automotive Industry Year-End Review

See how the automotive industry performed in 2015 in this year-end review webinar, presented by Nathan Shipley, Director of NPD's US Automotive practice. Get a review of the macro trends that impacted performance of the DIY automotive channel in 2015 and see what's to come in the next 12 months.

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January 15, 2016

Aftermarket Perspectives

November 2015

Despite the decline in gas prices compared to the previous November, the continuation of fall’s warmer-than-average temperatures in much of the country led to the first dollar volume decline of 2015 for the U.S. aftermarket. 

 

Read More


November 16, 2015

Aftermarket Perspectives

September 2015

It was the perfect storm for the automotive aftermarket in September – mild weather prevailed, and average gas prices were a dollar less than they were at the same time last year. The extended good weather and less expensive gas combined to generate growth in several categories.

Read More


November 16, 2015

Aftermarket Perspectives

December 2015

The overall U.S. Consumer Confidence Index may have grown by +3.7 percent in October versus year-ago, but confidence in the Texas Region declined by -9.7 percent in the same period. Lower gas prices have had a negative impact on the oil and gas industry – resulting in layoffs or potential layoffs and less driving (which, in turn, means less maintenance).

Read More


October 13, 2015

Aftermarket Perspectives

In August, the overriding fundamentals remained – people were driving more, and the weather was favorable for maintenance and appearance. Growth in the overall aftermarket industry continued – even units/quarts were positive over the past six months.  Key categories supported by both aging vehicles and brand-new cars experienced strong growth.

Read More


September 16, 2015

Aftermarket Perspectives

July saw car care heat up –categories related to hot weather and appearance had their moment in the sun. Batteries and battery accessories, along with refrigerants and accessories, were up in July. Appearance accessories and chemicals, too, got a summertime boost. See which products drove the growth and what it translated to in dollar gains.

Read More


June 30, 2015

Aftermarket Perspectives

June 2015

U.S. drivers logged more than 3 trillion driving miles in the year ending March 2015 – the most ever recorded. And gasoline consumption was up 4% in April. Which categories gained most from all those miles and gallons? What were the top-growing categories as consumers turned their attention to springtime car maintenance?

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April 10, 2015

Aftermarket Perspectives

April 2015

Spring may be in full bloom in some parts of the U.S., but for areas that suffered a plague of winter storms, the memories are still fresh. Which categories gained most from the long and snowy winter? How did the season’s sales stack up to year-ago numbers?

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March 10, 2015

Aftermarket Perspectives

March 2015

When it comes to the high gas prices they faced for years, U.S. consumers are getting some relief. January’s gas prices dipped lower than we’ve seen since 2009. What does this mean for the automotive aftermarket? How will you stake your claim on the extra dollars consumers are no longer spending at the pump?

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Insights and Opinions from our Analysts and Experts


September 29, 2015

Growth Streak Continues For The Automotive Aftermarket

Looking at the automotive aftermarket industry, the overriding fundamentals remain: people are driving more, the weather is favorable for maintenance and appearance, and the industry has experienced dollar growth for each month of 2015 thus far. Whether it is an aging vehicle or brand new car, the categories supported by these vehicle segments are experiencing strong growth*.


Old Car
Dollar sales of performance chemicals, a category traditionally driven by aging vehicle maintenance, grew 6 percent in August. Complete fuel system cleaners grew 8 percent – a major contrast to what has been seen over the past year. Other top growing segments include power steering fluid, oil stabilizers, and brake cleaners, which contributed a combined $1.2 million in growth to the category.

New Car
Unit sales reached 17.5 million for new cars in the 12 months ending August 2015**, the highest level since 2005, which could be driving growth in the appearance chemicals category (+5 percent). This category includes scratch removers (+18 percent), detailers (+15 percent), carpet/fabric care (+13 percent), and protectants (+5 percent).

Clean Car
Up 12 percent, the air fresheners category ranked #1 for dollar volume growth in August. Vent/clip on fresheners grew 21 percent and contributed the bulk of the dollar growth.

Cool Car
Items within the refrigerants and accessories category were heavily promoted all summer. The category overall experienced an 11 percent lift in dollar sales. In particular, a/c charging kits grew 12 percent and contributed nearly half of the total dollar volume gains for the category in August.

Old, new, clean, cool… Regardless of what phase your vehicle is in, a positive story continues to be told for various automotive aftermarket categories.

*Source: The NPD Group, Inc. / Retail Tracking Service, 4 weeks ending August 29, 2015 versus same weeks in 2014
**International Business Times: ‘August 2015 US New Auto Sales: Americans Shrug At Global Market Volatility, Buy Cars At The Highest Pace In A Decade’

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August 31, 2015

Millennials Are Adding Additives

This year, the Millennial generation is expected to surpass the Baby Boomers and become the largest living generation in the United States*. With a projected population of 75.3 million and a reported $200 billion in annual purchasing power, it is necessary for retailers, manufacturers, and marketers to understand and pay close attention to the behaviors of this newer, diverse breed of consumers.

Technology and fashion may be among the top industries that come to mind when considering Millennial consumption, but this generation is also leaving its tracks in the automotive aftermarket world. While they love smartphones and sneakers probably more than any other generation, we can also say the same about fuel additives. A recent study conducted by NPD found that 30 percent of younger Millennials (aged 18-24) said they would increase their usage of fuel additives, making them three times as likely as consumers aged 35-54 and six times as likely as those aged 55+ to say this**. Whether Millennials upgraded their fuel at the pump or treated it with a packaged additive, they are using more additives and are more concerned than any other generation about treating their fuel.


What is spurring this behavior? When asked why they would use more fuel additives, most Millennials cited “aging vehicles,” “problems with vehicles,” “a clean engine,” and “more educated about benefits” among their reasons. According to NPD’s Motor Fuels Index Database, Millennials are the most likely of any generation to drive older vehicles, as 36 percent report that their vehicle is at least 11 years old.

Understanding that Millennials are driving older cars and purchasing more fuel additives for a variety of reasons indicates that they are looking to increase their vehicle’s longevity and stretch their dollar. To attract Millennials, messaging around additives, cleaner engines, and increased vehicle longevity may help to capture this important group of consumers.

*Source: U.S. Census Bureau
**Fuel Additives: Consumer Insights on the Uptreatment of Fuel, July 2015

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