Market readings positive!

Passing this year’s mid-point, indications are positive for the independent automotive aftermarket as consumers keep gaining confidence in the economy.

During last month’s Tool & Equipment Distributor Association (TEDA) vendor advisory meeting in Ellicott City, MD, TEDA President Glen Pratt noted that independent tool and equipment distributors have collectively posted double-digit sales gains every year for the past three years. That confirms other positive findings for the aftermarket.

For the third straight month, Northcoast Research recently reported that aftermarket sales continue to grow. The main reason being that consumers have stopped deferring automotive maintenance.

Some research has indicated automotive aftermarket sales have declined since the recession, but on investigation, these studies mainly reflect the fallout in the number of aftermarket outlets caused by the recession.

Such a fallout was noted in the Automotive Aftermarket Industry Association (AAIA) Digital Aftermarket Factbook. But while AAIA noted that a fallout in aftermarket outlets began even before the 2008/2009 recession, it also reported aftermarket revenue has increased every year since 2009.

So what does all this mean to you as an individual shop owner? While forecasts vary, all studies agree recovery can be expected in the near future if it hasn’t occurred already.

And keep in mind that a shop’s willingness to invest in employee compensation, training and shop assets has more bearing on its success than overall market trends.

Shop owner attitude also plays a role; positive or negative, attitudes are contagious.