Auto Service World
News   September 1, 2023   by Adam Malik

DIFM trending back up

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The rise of do-it-for-me (DIFM) service grew over the course of many years as vehicle complexity grew. It dominated the aftermarkets segment until the COVID-19 pandemic pushed many to the do-it-yourself (DIY) route.

But as normalcy has returned, so has the upward trend for DIFM services in the U.S., according to a recent Lang Marketing report.

“For decades, the do-it-for-me market steadily expanded its share of the car and light truck aftermarket product volume in the U.S.,” said the report, DIFM Storms Back from COVID Downturn.

DIFM services, it noted, were at 80 per cent market share.

“However, the past two years have seen the situation change again, with DIFM product sales sharply rebounding from their 2020 decline,” the report said.

Four factors have driven DIFM, Lang observed: An aging population, the falling costs and increasing convenience of many DIFM jobs, increased vehicle complexity and an increase in foreign nameplates.

Most DIY work is performed by those under 40, usually to save money. Past this line, most feel they can save more money doing home renovations on their own rather than working on their vehicle.

“Accordingly, do-it-yourself automotive work has declined significantly among older Americans, as they chose to have technicians install products rather than do the work themselves,” Lang’s report said.

As prices decreased and convenience needs increased, the choice to go with DIFM for their automotive needs changed.

“Many common automotive repairs, such as oil changes and light vehicle repairs, can quickly and economically be purchased at quick lubes and quick service lanes,” the report said. “The money that can be saved by doing these DIY jobs has declined in recent years, and it has become much more convenient to have these repairs performed at specialty outlets.”

And as vehicles get more complex, they’re harder to work on.

Today, many repairs call for sophisticated tools and equipment, in-depth mechanical knowledge and in-depth diagnostics. A growing share of automotive repairs are too complex for many consumers to perform,” Lang observed. “In addition, many younger consumers do not have the interest in vehicles that their parents did and have not acquired the knowledge necessary to perform many automotive repairs.”

And with more foreign vehicles on the road these days, parts are not always easy to find in a typical store that has traditionally had to stock up more on domestic brand parts.

So DIFM growth is expected to be strong.

“Lang Marketing projects that the DIFM market will continue to gain strength during 2023 through 2025 as the underlying factors leading to DIFM growth before COVID-19 will remain robust through 2025,” it said.

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