NAPERVILLE, Ill. — A majority of independent vehicle repair shops increasingly are opting to purchase private label parts, according to IMR Inc. research.
In 2018, the market research firm asked shops if they had increased their purchasing of private label/store brand parts in the previous two years and 33.4% said they did.
Now, 65.8% of shops surveyed increased their private label parts purchasing.
This trend is projected to continue over the next year, with 68% of independent shops now reporting that they plan to increase their purchasing of private label parts, IMR said.
Only 1% of shop owners responded that they decreased their purchasing of private label/store brand parts over the last two years, while 65.8% increased their purchasing.
Today, 45.4% of shop purchases are private label/store brand parts, IMR said.
Historically, reasons for increasing purchases of private label/store brand parts revolved around "lower prices," "immediately available/easier to get," and "quality is equal or better than OEM parts."
But now the COVID-19 pandemic has played a major role in this industry shift with independent repair shop owners stating that "customers trying to save money due to pandemic uncertainty" is the top reason for their increased purchasing (33.9%) of private label/store brand parts. This response was followed by cost-effectiveness (19.2%), better availability (15.4%) and better quality (4.7%) as additional reasons for increase.
In a related IMR survey of 500 independent repair shops around the U.S., May 4-29, the top challenges the shops believed they'd face for the remainder of the year are: getting parts on time, finding suppliers with parts in stock, dealing with rising parts costs and adjusting costs to keep their prices affordable.