PORT WASHINGTON, N.Y. (Feb. 22, 2017) — The retail value of the U.S. automotive aftermarket is expected to fall nearly 2 percent this year, based on slowing growth in retail pricing and miles driven, according to the latest NPD Group Inc. forecast.
The decline would follow 2.9 percent growth last year, the market forecasting group said, to an estimated $15 billion.
"Declining retail prices coupled with a slowdown in miles driven in recent months point to a decline in retail dollar sales in 2017," said Nathan Shipley, director and automotive industry analyst for NPD Group.
"I expect that miles driven growth will slow due, in part, to higher gasoline prices, which were 20 percent higher in the first four weeks of 2017 than the same period last year," he added.
Some individual component categories will outperform the forecast, NPD said, which is dependent on how the weather fares and how quickly, and by how much, gasoline prices increase this year.
"As always, extreme weather events are impossible to foresee," Mr. Shipley said, "but help the industry to grow."
The 2.9 percent growth last year was less robust than in recent years, NPD said, reflecting an acceleration in unit/quart growth and a decline in overall average selling price. Macro trends taken into account for the forecast included an increase in miles driven and new car sales, lower-priced gasoline, and unpredictable weather patterns.