The automotive aftermarket and auto parts market in 2021

auto parts industry distribution channels

CLICK TO ENLARGE: Distribution channels in the auto parts industry. The dashed lines indicate a relatively new channel of distribution in the auto parts market, from internet retailers sending drop ship orders to WDs, who in turn ship directly to auto aftermarket consumers.

Introduction to the automotive aftermarket and auto parts market, 2021 version

The automotive aftermarket is the after-sales auto parts market. This chart shows the complexities of distribution for aftermarket auto parts and aftermarket accessories.

“Two-step distribution” was the primary channel of distribution for aftermarket auto parts for decades. This distribution channel went from manufacturer, to warehouse distributor (WD), to the auto parts retailer/jobber, to the consumer.

This has given way to multiple channels of distribution in the auto parts market, as the internet has opened new channels of distribution and consumer buying. A prime example of this is shown with the dashed lines: internet retailers who take orders for parts and accessories, send orders to warehouse distributors (WDs), who then drop ship orders directly to consumers. Manufacturers are increasingly selling direct to consumer (DTC) on the internet, bypassing all other traditional distribution channels.

At a glance: Automotive aftermarket 2021

  1. CLICK TO ENLARGE: Automotive aftermarket eCommerce remains strong entering 2021, posting a 50% year-over-year revenue increase for January 2021 compared to January 2020.

    Personal consumption of aftermarket auto parts in October 2020 increased 8% from October 2019.

  2. The US light duty auto parts aftermarket market size is projected at $290 billion in 2021.
  3. The entire US automotive aftermarket including medium- and heavy-duty is projected at $390 billion in 2021.
  4. Expected growth in automotive eCommerce in 2021: Over 30%.
  5. Automotive DIY activity is rising in 2021, which is a good sign for the auto parts market.
  6. 234.5 million people will be licensed to drive in the US by 2022.
  7. In the US auto parts market, eCommerce is projected at $18 billion in 2021.
  8. North American auto parts eCommerce is projected at USD$26 billion in 2021.
  9. The medium- and heavy-duty market in 2021 will grow about 2% from 2020.
  10. Amazon auto parts sales is projected at $10.3 billion in 2020.
  11. eBay Motors is projected at $6 to $7 billion in 2020.
  12. Industry demand for automotive technicians continues to outpace the available pool of auto techs, continuing a pattern since 2009.

Learn the latest automotive aftermarket outlook for 2021, with our interpretation and analysis. We cover news and statistics from SEMA, AASA, CAN and the AutoCare Association, as well as other news on the automotive aftermarket industry. We also look at the impact of coronavirus and COVID-19 on the aftermarket industry.

Automotive aftermarket in 2021: Auto parts industry doing well

automotive aftermarket trends: personal consumption of tires up 8% from a year ago.

CLICK TO ENLARGE. Automotive trends: In June 2020, personal consumption of aftermarket tires hit an all-time record, $35 billion. In April it was at the lowest point since 2012. July 2020 was very close, at $35.462 billion, an 8% increase from July 2019. “Personal consumption” is retail only, no B2B, through brick and mortar and eCommerce, and includes specialty tires and OEM replacement tires.

Personal consumption of auto parts hit an all-time record in June 2020, reaching an adjusted $50.509 billion. July (revised) was $49.884 billion and August improved to $50.303 billion. Personal consumption of aftermarket tires also hit a record in June, at $35.504 billion. July was very close at $35.462 billion. Both metrics were down in April to 2012 levels.

The North American online auto parts industry market size will be about US$26 billion in 2021. It will be up 30% or more from 2020.

The light duty automotive aftermarket industry size is $290 billion in 2021. The entire automotive aftermarket/auto care industry including medium and heavy-duty will be about $388 billion in 2021.

Historically the auto parts industry has grown about 3.5% to 3.9% per year. We project eCommerce to grow at a higher than forecasted rate due to the coronavirus shutdown.

The power of digital influence on the automotive aftermarket industry is a major trend to watch. About $140 billion in automotive through all sales channels, including online and brick and mortar, are influenced by digital. Digital influence on auto parts retail will grow to over $168 billion by 2023.

Automotive online shopping is growing, automotive technology is changing with more hybrids and electric vehicles, mobile shopping is on the rise, self-driving cars are supposedly on the horizon, and Amazon and eBay are going strong. How do you know what aftermarket information to follow, or even which automotive aftermarket trends are important in the first place?

Automotive accessories revenue

Learn about the latest developments in automotive accessories sales statistics, including performance parts and accessories sales forecasts and projections. In these articles we refer to our own market research, SEMA market research, AASA research and reports from the AutoCare Association. We also have the most recent projections on eCommerce for the aftermarket industry.

Performance accessories trends

We track auto parts performance accessories trend analysis over time, including online sales data, demographic data and more.

Auto repair and service outlook

The aftermarket industry employs nearly 5 million people, and includes over 270,000 repair shops and over 265,000 retail parts outlets. Vehicles drive over 3 trillion miles per year on US roads.

Common automotive aftermarket questions

How big is the automotive aftermarket industry?
The light duty aftermarket is projected at $290 billion in 2021. The entire automotive aftermarket/auto care industry including medium and heavy-duty is about $390 billion in 2021.

Why is it called aftermarket?
This is a “market” for parts and accessories “after” a vehicle is sold, so it’s called the “aftermarket.” It’s the secondary market of the automotive industry. These are replacement parts and accessories sold after a vehicle is sold as new, intended for repair, customization or enhancement.

Which is better OEM or aftermarket?
There is no “better” level of quality when it comes to OEM or aftermarket parts. OEM replacement parts are made by the manufacturer of a vehicle or for the manufacturer according to the manufacturer’s specifications. Aftermarket parts can be made to similar specifications or in some cases may exceed OEM specifications. In some cases there is no OEM equivalent to an aftermarket part.

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