ROSEMONT, Ill. NPD today provided aftermarketNews with an update on the status of its Aftermarket Industry Monitor (AAIM), after it was reported that the research firm would suspend publication of this research.
Created in 2001, the Aftermarket Industry Monitor tracks retail and commercial sales for the auto parts channel. The data has been collected in a collaborative effort among aftermarket retailers, providing point-of-sale (POS) information on retail and commercial channels at the national and local market levels. More than 21,000 auto parts stores in the continental U.S. provided NPD with market data for trend analysis on product movement across a wide range of front-of-store and hard parts.
Last year, NAPA made the decision to stop sharing hard parts and commercial data with AAIM. NPD, working with the Automotive Aftermarket Industry Association (AAIA), formed an industry task force to work on a solution to ensure continued AAIM participation by other retailers. Since that time, the AAIA, AAIM retail panelists and NPD have focused on finding an equitable reporting solution that meets the needs of the AAIM panelists and enables some equity for front-of-store, light application and hard parts reporting.
After numerous discussions, NPD said that its retailer partners have been unable to agree on a solution that would allow AAIM to collect and report the source information necessary to continue a total store reporting model. As a result, NPD announced the suspension of application parts categories reporting with the February delivery of January data, which coincides with the last NAPA data delivery. With no retailer solution in place, AAIM service on front-of-store and light application categories will also be impacted, according to NPD.
According to David Portalatin, NPD Group executive director of industry analysis, NPD is committed to serving the aftermarket industry and remains engaged with aftermarket retailers, despite these changes.
"The sharing agreement that we had in this industry was really historic and I don’t think anybody wants to take a step backward. We just need to find a solution that is equitable for everyone," Portalatin said. "We’ve been providing market data for the aftermarket for decades, even prior to the Aftermarket Industry Monitor, and we continue to monitor trends in the market as well as doing monthly consumer tracking of auto parts purchases."
NPD says it is currently working with its AAIM retail partners to assess the viability of launching a point-of-sale service later in the year that covers retail sales for front-of-store categories and includes a broader set of retailers across multiple channels of distribution. At the same time, NPD is now seeking an agreement on an interim solution effective after the release of January 2012 data that would bridge a modified form of AAIM to a broader retail tracking service. In the meantime, NPD continues to track aftermarket consumer purchase behavior through its Car Care Track, which continually collects purchasing information from a vast panel (tens of thousands) of do-it-yourself (DIY) and Do-it-For-Me (DIFM) automotive consumers.
"This is really not an NPD story, it’s an industry story," Portalatin said. "This entire service was birthed in collaboration with the industry and it has always been a collaboration of industry partners. That is what made it so unique and so successful. And that’s why we have an exciting future ahead of us as we continue in that spirit of collaboration."