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Covid-19 steers shops to increase private label parts purchasing

More than 45 percent of shop purchases are now private label/store brand parts as consumers tighten spending during pandemic

Naperville, Ill.—In 2018, IMR Inc., an automotive 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 percent said yes. Now, 65.8 percent of shops report increased private label parts purchasing.

This trend is projected to continue over the next year, with 68 percent of independent shops now reporting that they plan to increase their purchasing of private label parts.

Over the past two years, independent automotive repair shops have reported that they’ve increased their purchases of private label/store brand parts. In 2018, when asked if they had increased their purchases of private label/store brand parts over the past two years, only 33.4% of shops said they had. Now, 65.8% of shops said they had increased their purchases of private label/store brand parts.

Only 1 percent of shop owners responded that they decreased their purchasing of private label/store brand parts over the last two years, while 65.8 percent increased their purchasing. Today, 45.4 percent of shop purchases are private label/store brand parts.

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’. However, the pandemic has changed that dynamic. Now, ‘customers trying to save money due to pandemic uncertainty’ (33.9%) has far exceeded any other reason for a repair shop’s intended increase of private label/store brand parts.

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 percent) of private label/store brand parts. This response was followed by cost-effectiveness (19.2 percent), better availability (15.4 percent)  and better quality (4.7 percent) as additional reasons for increase.

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