FORT WAYNE, Ind.Lang Marketing Resources Inc. is predicting as many as 4,325 light vehicle servicing outlets will disappear from the market by 2020, but independent repair garages and tire dealerships are expected to absorb much of the business these outlets served.
Lang Marketing makes this prediction in its latest monthly Lang Aftermarket iReport, which tracks the do it for me (DIFM) business sector.
The Fort Wayne-based consulting and marketing analysis company said the majority of the service locations to disappear will be in the service station and garage category, especially among smaller operations. Some losses could come in the tire store category, Lang said, particularly among smaller independent operations.
Lang said repair businessesincluding new car dealershipsthat specialize in foreign nameplates will benefit to a greater extent.
The market forecaster also said the changing number and mix of light vehicle DIFM outlets will have significant implications for the entire aftermarket in terms of where repair is performed as well as the flow of products through distribution channels supplying the light vehicle DIFM market.
The forecasted losses follow what Lang claims was a drop of 4,050 car and light truck service outlets across the U.S. at mid-year 2014 vs. five years earlier, with service stations and garages accounting for most of the decline, along with a measurable drop in auto parts and general merchandise stores with service bays.
Individually, Lang reported there were 3,100 fewer service stations and garages and 1,850 fewer car dealer locations performing service in 2014 vs. 2009. However, gains were recorded by repair specialistsincluding quick lube and brake outletsup 1,300 outlets; foreign specialists, up 1,100 locations; and tire stores, up 500 outlets.
Lang said repair specialists and foreign specialists recorded significant gains in DIFM light vehicle product share during the five-year span, whereas tire stores recorded only modest gains despite the growing number of outlets.
Lang Marketing, founded 20 years ago by James Lang, specializes in proprietary analysis for individual companies' multi-client work and research and analysis for national trade associations.