LAS VEGAS—Things continue to look up for the automotive aftermarket as more and more vehicles on U.S. roadways continue to age, requiring more repairs and maintenance, according to IHS Markit.
Automotive aftermarket sales are expected to grow 3.6 percent annually over the next six years, according to IHS Markit, a market research firm that presented its market forecast during the 2016 Automotive Aftermarket Parts Expo in Las Vegas.
Meanwhile, the surge in new vehicle sales is expected to level off, and even decline a bit, said Mark Seng, global aftermarket practice leader for IHS.
Even though there will be more new cars on the road, compared with recent years, the average age of light vehicles grew to about 11.6 years last year, up from 11.5 years in 2015, and it is expected to reach an average of 11.8 years by 2019, he said.
Other trends Seng said the auto aftermarket should prepare for are: the continued saturation of imported vehicle brands in the U.S. market vs. domestic brands; the growing popularity of small CUVs; and the continued increase in miles driven by U.S. motorists, thus adding to the wear and tear on their vehicles.
Seng noted that the automotive aftermarket will enjoy increased dollar sales growth due in part to three vehicle parts—wiper blades, fuel pumps and wheel bearings—which have increased component value and thus yield higher price tags.
For example, low-profile wiper blades are three times more expensive than regular blades that were sold several years ago.
A key industry driver, as in the past, is the total miles driven in the U.S., which fell measurably after the recession but rallied to set a record of 3.1 trillion miles in 2015. The U.S. was expected to maintain that rate in 2016 thanks to low gas prices.