Vehicle service and repair markets grow steadily, reports Mintel
High gas prices and financial worries are keeping many people off the road … but their cars are still heading for the shop. A new report from research firm Mintel, Automobile Aftermarket, shows the market for vehicle service, repairs and upgrades slowly but steadily driving ahead.
Mintel estimates the automobile aftermarket reached $106.5 billion in 2007, an 18% increase from 2002 when it was valued at $90.1 billion. The research firm expects today’s economic slowdown to put the brakes on auto service and repairs for 2008, but growth is expected again in 2009. Mintel predicts sales will surpass $120 billion by 2012.
“The market for auto service, repairs and upgrades isn’t growing robustly, but it is showing strength during rough economic times,” comments Mark Guarino, senior analyst at Mintel. “People are driving less and spending less, but they’re still putting money into their vehicles.”
Guarino points to factors fueling growth in the automobile aftermarket. People are driving their vehicles longer and therefore, doing more maintenance on them. Mintel notes the median age of cars grew from 8.1 years in 2001 to 9.2 years in 2007. “Rather than buying a new car, more Americans saving money by fixing the ones they have.”
The auto aftermarket is also helped by new cars’ complexity, a major hurdle to former do-it-yourself-ers. “Increasingly computerized vehicles are making more people turn to professionals for service,” states Guarino. Mintel shows sales in professional repair shops growing faster than sales for do-it-yourself auto repair.