If you own a car, there’s a high chance you’ve had direct experience with the automotive aftermarket, whether you realize it or not. Anyone who has had to repair a windshield, replace brakes, purchase new tires, or even buy windshield wipers has participated in the automotive aftermarket, as has anyone who has re-outfitted their car with heated leather seats or a bike rack.

What is It?

Simply stated, the automotive aftermarket includes every service that improves your vehicle after you purchase it from the original equipment manufacturer (OEM), regardless of whether or not the parts you’re replacing/adding are under warranty. It exists to service every type of vehicle. Used and new parts are available for almost every make and model, including motorcycles, semi-trucks, and standard cars.

Replacement Parts and Accessories

The auto aftermarket industry itself can be categorized into two subsets: replacement parts and accessories. Replacement parts are any pieces of equipment that are created to substitute original vehicle parts that have become compromised, such as body parts, air conditioning, door locks, etc. Accessories are any after-purchase add-ons that enhance a vehicle’s comfort, customization, performance, or safety, such as dimming side mirrors, body stylings, truck bed accessories, customized steering wheels, etc.

The Economic Impact

This market has made a large economic impact on the United States and continues to do so. America has historically been one of the world’s top car consumers, both in terms of the total cars and cars per capita it boasts. This has fueled the growth of the U.S. automotive aftermarket to an estimated $318.2 billion in 2013, employing 4.2 million workers in manufacturing, distributing, retail, and repair businesses.

But the industry expands beyond brick and mortar shops to encompass online sales as well. According to Hedges and Company, online automotive sales grow significantly and steadily year over year, with a projected revenue of over 9 billion in 2018.

What the Economic Impact Means for Consumers

Because the auto industry is thriving, consumers have multiple options for where they want to purchase their parts and where they want to repair or customize their vehicles. The automotive aftermarket is what allows you to service and continue driving your vehicle the way you want without buying a new one every time something breaks.

What the Economic Impact Means for Industry Professionals

While the market’s thriving economy is a boon for consumers, market research and predictions have never been more complex for service providers. The advent of the internet and the evolving American automobile market make it increasingly difficult to predict area-specific demands and sales and replacement rates, which in turn affects inventory optimization techniques and software development decisions.

Although the market is fairly straightforward and convenient for consumers, providers are faced with an increasingly complex economy that requires professional marketing insight. This is how Aftermarket Analytics was created—to optimize the automotive aftermarket for providers and consumers alike. Having the right inventory in stock at the right times increases customer satisfaction. Aftermarket Analytics brings business exchanges that benefit everyone.