A vision of the next five years

How different will the aftermarket be by 2020?

Published:  25 June, 2015

By Neil Pattemore

When I started to look more deeply into the details, it makes interesting reading and will start to show the longer term developments beyond 2020. Firstly, if we look at the recent past, the UK is in a better position than some of the other large European economies, with the UK showing a small, 1% increase in the volume of the aftermarket from 2009 to 2012, but with an increase of 3% in value. Compare this to Germany over the same period and their volume was 7% lower and the value was down 6%. You may recall that during this period, Germany's economy was seen as the powerhouse of Europe!

It is not so rosy a picture for the main dealers. They have seen their numbers reducing for some time and the forecast is for around a further 10% reduction in the total number by 2020. This is cushioned by some dealers multi-branding, but the overall trend is still downward.

Probably one of the most significant influences is the increase in online access to service and repair, either to be able to book a convenient time slot, research service costs or to use an online booking site, where independent workshops can bid for the work. Research shows that 56% of consumers are now using on-line information before taking a vehicle to a repairer, with the most important aspect being the ability to book a convenient time slot. There is also evidence that female drivers are starting to prefer this method to avoid the risk of being 'ripped off'.

However, the online activity has also grown for the buying of parts, with 39% of buyers owning vehicles under 5 years old and 46% being female (but still buying the same type of parts as men). The cascade is then the issue of these consumers coming to independent workshops and asking for these parts to be fitted - but that is another subject.

So although there appears to be some good news for the aftermarket, what other challenges and threats are likely to impact the next five years?

Probably the most threatening is telematics, as this will provide vehicle manufacturers with an increasing advantage of knowing what a vehicle needs (service, repair, breakdown etc.), where the vehicle is and the urgency of any work needed and then being in a position to influence the driver to a repair location/partner of their choice.

Telematics will also allow a vehicle manufacturer to remain in direct contact with the vehicle owner as the vehicle ages, as well as supporting their main dealer networks to offer these owners more targeted offers.

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