The statistics are slowly trickling in for 2021, showing clear trends and interesting forecasts for the rest of the year. Join us as we go over the ten best trends that are transforming the auto parts industry in 2021!
Tangible Increase in Auto Parts Sales
The ongoing pandemic has had an impact on a variety of industries, causing a reduction in the movement of both goods and people. Even so, automotive parts sales have been going up across the board. The entire industry has seen an increase in sales that has been fairly linear aside from a brief dip in April 2020.
The projections for 2021 look promising, with some estimates showing a 30% increase in sales within the commercial as well as medium and heavy-duty vehicle segment of the industry.
eCommerce Taking the Lead
One of the more prominent recent trends this year is the increase in eCommerce automotive parts sales. eEuroparts.com, one of the leading online sellers of new auto parts, has noted a rise in personal auto parts sales that promise to match those in the automotive service industry.
So far, the eCommerce side of the industry is exceeding the projected annual average growth of 4%. Several causes for such drastic changes in this sector, with the ongoing pandemic being the most obvious one.
Shift in Distribution
The increase in eCommerce sales has triggered a potential shift in distribution networks as well. With a large chunk of sales being online, eCommerce retailers are going straight to the source. Such a direct approach to sourcing automotive parts, both in the OEM and aftermarket segment, creates a demand for direct supply routes and more streamlined distribution.
The parts ordered online are rarely sourced from a 3rd party middleman but rather the manufacturing facility. As a result, consumers see faster shipping times combined with optimized prices, all of which promise to boost sales in the future.
Boost in South American and East Asian Markets
Aside from short-term trends, we’ve also seen confirmation indicators for several long-term growth trends in South American and East Asian markets. More specifically, the demand for new automotive parts is growing in China and Brazil as these two countries are seeing a gradual rise in disposable income per capita. The long-term projections indicate growth in both OEM and aftermarket segments.
New Technologies on the Rise
Speaking of the aftermarket segment, it is slowly repositioning to take a larger market share of overall auto parts sales as new technologies are being introduced throughout the industry. Namely, the advent of precision 3D printing and similar tech is promising to give aftermarket parts manufacturers a means of producing performance parts that offer the same reliability as their OEM counterparts.
New research is also showing the positive impact of neural networks on automotive parts supply chain management. As companies are looking for ways to optimize their inventory and predict future sales trends, more and more empirical data shows that neural networks could be the key to increased efficiency.
Average Vehicle Age is Rising
Another trend that has been solidified this year is the increasing average age of vehicles. Consumers worldwide are holding onto their cars for longer, which means more service cycles and maintenance intervals before the car is discarded. This has had a direct impact on the sales of lubricants, oil filters, air filters as well as any other maintenance item that is frequently changed.
The increase in the average age of cars is yet to significantly impact sales of critical engine components, chassis parts, and electronics. However, these segments are anticipated to see a tangible boost in traffic soon enough.
Genuine Parts Remain Dominant
Despite the overall improvement in the aftermarket segment, the market for genuine car parts shows the strongest growth indicators year after year. The same trend continues in 2021, with over half of all parts sold in the North American market belonging to the genuine segment.
Being strictly under the Luxury car manufacturers’ control, genuine automotive parts are the most trusted, followed by certified OEM and aftermarket, respectively. The increase in complex, proprietary new technologies adds to the validity of projections for this segment. Consumers are generally reluctant to replace core automotive components with parts from unknown or uncertified sources.
Tire Sales On the Rise
The ongoing pandemic has significantly impacted the sales of tires across all segments, but mostly in passenger cars and light trucks. During the first months of COVID restrictions, the use of public transportation has dropped significantly compared to the same period in 2018.
Instead, more people have resorted to the use of personal transportation to reach work, local supermarkets, and any other place. An increase in personal vehicle usage has brought on an increase in tire sales.
Increase in Performance Parts Sales
One of the more interesting trends this year is the increase in sales of performance aftermarket parts in the passenger car and light truck segment. People are purchasing bolt-on upgrades for their vehicles, giving this often neglected part of the aftermarket segment a proper boost in sales.
Potential Shift Towards Local Parts Manufacturing
Developments in 3D printing technologies have enabled automotive parts manufacturers to establish localized manufacturing centers, thus moving closer to a decentralized production system.
Producing parts locally means no shipping, import/export, and distribution management expenses to worry about. The reduction in these costs ultimately offsets the price of setting up local production facilities.
Green Across the Board
As a matter of fact, the increase in personal transportation use has caused a tangible boost across all performance metrics and indicators. Needless to say, 2021 and 2022 will be exciting for auto parts manufacturers and retailers alike.