AAPEX Awareness: Aftermarket paint and body products experience pandemic growth

Las Vegas, Nevada ⁠— During Tuesday’s Automotive Aftermarket Parts Expo (AAPEX) webinar, Nathan Shipley, executive director and industry analyst for the NPD Group’s Automotive Aftermarket division, detailed the landscape of North America’s automotive aftermarket in the midst of the pandemic.

During his presentation, Shipley said automotive aftermarket markets like paint and body are experiencing serious growth as customers turn their focuses to do-it-yourself projects at home and in their own garages. Conversely, Shipley said maintenance products such as motor oil have not been performing as well. 

He attributed the paint and body market’s growth to the shift to e-commerce amid the COVID-19 pandemic, which has experienced exponential growth as many customers express discomfort in visiting in-person retail facilities. 

A year ago, the automotive aftermarket estimated that 17 to 18 percent of DIY customers had searched online for products for their vehicles, said Shipley. Now, he says the pandemic has amplified that number, putting the automotive aftermarket in a position it did not think it would be in for another three to five years.

The most popular purchases, said Shipley, are in the realms of recreation, as-needed purchases, DIY projects and distressed purchases. 

Further, he said 28 percent of aftermarket purchases were influenced by COVID-19, while 15 percent were pulled forward from earlier in the year as customers made planned purchases earlier than originally anticipated. 

Shipley also detailed some short-term conditions spurring market growth and said retailers should consider these trends when considering e-commerce endeavours, including the influx of enthusiasts currently working on project cars with newfound spare time.

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