Auto Repair: The Evolving Aftermarket
The automotive aftermarket is a pillar of the four-wheeled industry, covering everything from replacement car parts to additions and modifications. As a car owner, you will almost definitely participate in the automotive aftermarket at some point, whether it is to replace your tires or repair some damage after a minor fender bender.
In this article:
A Brief History
As long as cars have been commercially available, there has been anautomotive aftermarket. Garages and repair shops are essential for vehicle maintenance, and beyond performing repairs, they will regularly have to replace parts in people’s cars. Replacement parts can be sourced directly from the manufacturers of specific cars, be generic parts that work across multiple brands and models, or be custom-made to specifications and designs by OEMs (more on them later).
Over the years, the automotive aftermarket has grown beyond the confines of the local body shop, as the degree of complexity of automobiles and the skills required to work on them have both increased considerably. This trend is only expected to continue, with developments such as the rise of electric vehicles leading the way.
Changes In The Landscape
According to Mckinsey, the aftermarket auto parts industry has changed dramatically since the advent of the internet. Digital channels have become a primary focus for many organisations, with consumers using internet reviews and other digital information resources to better plan their purchases.
As a result, the aftermarket is becoming increasingly digital, with the eCommerce sector's market share expected to reach 30% by 2035. The eCommerce side of the industry has also seen a significant increase in the last two years, as the pandemic has reduced physical footfall for businesses all over the world.
OEMs or Original Equipment Manufacturers are investing more and more into the aftermarket as well, as cars are lasting longer than ever before. In the past, OEMs might only sell to specific manufacturers to be branded in a specific way, but in recent years they’ve started to present their products more independently.
Another major facet of change in the automotive aftermarket has been the growing interest in car modification. Aftermarket parts are no longer just for repairs and replacements; instead, an increasing number of people are using them to redesign pre-existing cars to their preferences.
Growing Aftermarket Trends
In 2022, there are a few trends that will define the automotive aftermarket industry, as dictated by sales. Some of these trends include:
- Off-Road/Exploration Accessories: With more consumers answering the call of the wild, the aftermarket parts of their cars are following. Special tires, wheels, rooftop tents, and side steps are growing in popularity.
- Smart devices: Smartphones have already become integrated into people’s lives, and smart devices for cars are already becoming increasingly popular. Things like AA Smart Breakdown are gaining traction in the UK.
- Overlanding: Much like offroading, this is a growing sector focused on upgrading the car for more rugged capabilities. Functionalities like improved suspension, added storage, and body armour are being sought after more than ever.
As you can see, the automotive aftermarket is an ever-changing entity, and as people’s interests and hobbies change and evolve, so will the car industry and the aftermarket that supports it.
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