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Millennials record fastest growth in DIFM auto repair share volume

Generational changes alter Do-It-For-Me vehicle repair volume with Gen Z expected to have significant impact by 2025

Fort Wayne, Ind.—By the end of the decade, “significant changes” will have occurred in the Do-It-For-Me (DIFM) share held by each of the three major consumer generations: Millennials, Gen Xers, and Baby Boomers.

Lang Marketing’s latest consumer research breaks new ground in exploring how the three major generations differ in their values and their perceptions of the auto repair experience, and how best to market auto repair to each generation. The following are highlights of the research that focuses on how the generations differ in their preferences for purchasing auto repair.

Consumer Generations

Three major generations account for approximately 95% of the U.S. Do-It-For-Me (DIFM) auto repair market: Baby Boomers, Gen Xers, and Millennials (Gen Y). Gen Z will begin to have a significant impact on the DIFM market starting in 2025.

Generation Age Ranges

Baby Boomers were born between 1946 and 1964 and currently range in age from 58 to 76. Gen Xers have birth-year brackets of 1965 and 1980 and are 43 to 57 years old. Millennials (Gen Y) were born between 1981 and 1999 and are between 23 and 42.

Lang Marketing’s consumer study focused on these three generations. Gen Zers (born between 2000 and 2014) will be included in Lang’s expanded consumer research early next year.

DIFM Market Volume Shift

Each generation will represent different portions of the DIFM market across the U.S. as their share of the nation’s population changes.

Baby Boomers represented approximately 39% of DIFM volume in 2012, declining to 29% of the 2022 market. In contrast, Gen Xers have expanded their DIFM market share, climbing from 33% to 35% between 2012 and 2022. Millennials (Gen Y) have recorded the fastest growth in DIFM share, increasing from 28% of 2012 volume to 36% by 2022.

Changes By 2030

Over the balance of the decade, significant changes will take place in each generation’s DIFM share. Lang Marketing estimates that by 2030, Baby Boomers’ DIFM share will be in the low double digits, followed by Gen Xers with approximately 37% share. Millennials will generate the largest portion of DIFM volume by 2030.

Generation Differences in the Auto Repair Experience

The three generations were asked about their preferences in purchasing auto repair: doing it online, calling repair outlets, or visiting repair outlets.

While only minor differences existed in the overall findings (across all three generations), Lang Marketing found generational differences for all three purchase experiences.

Online

While approximately one-third of consumers across all generations preferred to buy auto repair online, there were differences between the generations. Nearly half of Millennials preferred buying auto repair online rather than calling or visiting repair outlets. In contrast, only one-fifth of Baby Boomers preferred going online to purchase auto repair and less than one-third of Gen Xers favored this approach.

Call Repair Outlets

Just over 30% of all consumers preferred calling repair outlets to purchase auto repair. Again, there were differences between the three generations. Calling repair outlets was the most popular option for Gen Xers (over 35%), and it was the second choice of Baby Boomers, just under one-third. However, one-quarter of Millennials preferred to call repair outlets.

Visiting Repair Outlets

Nearly half of Baby Boomers preferred to visit repair outlets to purchase auto repair. However, they were alone in this choice. Only one-third of Gen Xers preferred to do so, and only approximately one-quarter of Millennials wanted to visit repair outlets as their first choice.

Visiting auto repair outlets was nearly twice as likely to be the top choice among Baby Boomers than Millennials. In contrast, buying auto repair online was more than twice as popular with Millennials than among Baby Boomers.

Within each of the three major generations, there are significant differences in auto repair purchasing based on gender, nameplate of vehicle (domestic versus foreign) and vehicle age, among other factors. Lang Marketing also noted the significance of video in communicating with all generations, particularly Millennials.

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