Five Consumer Automotive Repair Trends to Prepare for in 2022

Five Consumer Automotive Repair Trends to Prepare for in 2022

Synchrony's Curtis Howse shares the five trends impacting the aftermarket and offering opportunities for growth.

In the 1970s, one of the most popular books for DIYers was John Muir’s “How to Keep Your Volkswagen Alive: A Manual of Step-by-Step Procedures for the Compleat Idiot.” With simple-to- follow instructions, the book was the perfect guide for know-nothing consumers who wanted to do their own repairs on a Beetle’s basic engine. 

Yet as the years went on, consumers wanted more from their vehicles: more luxury, more technology and more sophistication — complex vehicles that can only be serviced and repaired by professionals. And, with sophistication comes increased costs to purchase, maintain and repair them. The good news for aftermarket parts and service providers: with higher prices, consumers will look increasingly toward third-party repair shops to keep those costs down. 

Here are five trends that we are seeing in automotive ownership that will significantly impact the parts and service aftermarket.  

1. The in-store experience is key. Synchrony’s recent Major Purchase Journey Study of 3,800 consumers found that when it came to automotive-related purchases, 79% continued to buy in-store. And 62% of those who did, visited a local independent retailer, with virtually all of that group preferring to shop locally. 

2. Yet online is growing in importance. Most consumers (58%) went directly to the retailer’s website. But, regardless of which online method consumers use, in the end, all roads will lead back to the home page, reinforcing the importance of developing and maintaining a compelling, useful and comprehensive web presence. Use search engine optimization to ensure that when customers look for a business, yours will be at the top of the list. 

3. Vehicles are aging. The Covid-19 pandemic and the resulting chip shortage have caused a dearth of new vehicles. Therefore, consumers are keeping their cars and trucks longer than ever before — 12.1 years, according to IHSMarkit. The older the vehicle, it is generally greater the cost to service and repair. Repair costs also are rising due to the consumer switch to SUVs and crossovers, which typically cost more than sedans to maintain. When doing business with aftermarket parts and service providers, consumers need to feel they are spending their money wisely. 

4. Repair times are increasing. Parts shortages continue to plague the industry, resulting in delayed repair times. Owners will be forced to rent temporary vehicles for longer periods, putting added pressure on the amount of money they’re willing to spend to repair their vehicles. Providing a good value to customers is key. 

5. Financing repairs helps consumers say yes to necessary parts and service purchases. While there’s little that can be done to prevent an expensive repair bill when the work is required, consumers should be made aware of various financing options available in the aftermarket. In Synchrony’s Major Purchase Journey Study, 64% said financing makes large parts and service purchases more affordable. Regardless of which credit company aftermarket part professionals and service providers suggest, the financing and payment experience should be simple, with just a handful of application questions and easy, digital account maintenance.  

With owners keeping their vehicles longer, the need for reliable transportation for work and leisure is paramount. Parts and service providers can take steps now to ease customer concerns and ensure that the aftermarket will always be top-of-mind when it comes to the consumers’ need for trusted, reasonably priced vehicle maintenance. AMN

About the Author:

Curtis Howse is Executive Vice President  and CEO of the Home & Auto platform at Synchrony, one of the nation’s consumer financial services companies.

You May Also Like

Unifying Your Parts Technology to Eliminate Channel Conflict

Harmonizing various channels in your eCommerce strategy through unified technology helps build an agile business model.

ecommerce channel conflict auto parts suppliers

As manufacturers and parts sellers strive to grow their parts businesses, channel conflict has emerged as a critical challenge. The channels through which parts are sold and distributed are as varied as they are complex, often leading to channel conflict, which occurs when sales channels within the same company or involving the same product compete against each other. This can lead to inefficiencies, confusion and reduced sales or profits.

Opus IVS Achieves 100+ Patents Pending

The company will demonstrate its patented technologies at the 2023 SEMA Show.

UVeye, Amazon Automate Vehicle Inspection with AI

The integration of the automated vehicle inspection system aims to expedite the delivery process while ensuring road safety.

Amazon Uveye
JNPSoft OptiCat Partners with Eucon Americas

JNPSoft OptiCat and Eucon have a history of collaboration in Europe and are expanding into the North American aftermarket.

JNP Soft Opticat Eucon
How Sustainability is Driving the Future of the Aftermarket

The rise of sustainable business has hit an apex over the last decade, and more recently within the automotive aftermarket.

Other Posts

Solera Study Reveals AI Priority for Fleet Operations

Fleets are prioritizing AI to streamline maintenance, speed up driver workflows and improve risk capture, the study found.

Why the Aftermarket is a Tantalizing Investment Opportunity

The automotive aftermarket will likely continue to be a compelling investment target for private equity.

automotive aftermarket M&A
The Connected Car Services Customers Will Pay to Have

Once consumers use connected services, they are satisfied and likely to resubscribe, an S&P Global Mobility survey found.

connected car
Cummins Acquires Key Fuel Cell, Electrolyzer Technologies

The acquisition enables continued investment and growth in hydrogen technologies.