People have spent money fixing up their homes, on new entertainment options at home, fixing up their vehicles and more during the COVID-19 pandemic. But will they continue with these behaviours and money-spending habits after the pandemic subsides and other opportunities arise?
That remains to be seen. But, says Nathan Shipley, executive director of The NPD Group, there are signs pointing to consumer spending habits during the aftermarket outlasting the pandemic.
“There [are] definitely a lot of these new behaviours that are sticky,” he said during his presentation Retail and Aftermarket Outlook at AAPEX 2021. “A lot of consumers have invested in equipment, whether that is equipment to cook more at home, tools to work on their car, tools to exercise at home. A lot of folks have invested in equipment to be at home. And so does that behaviour shift back to the gym, shift back to restaurants? Some of it but a lot of it does end up staying [at home].”
People are spending money on things that will directly benefit the aftermarket. Boat sales are up, as too are recreational vehicles, which is forecasted to see sales 15 per cent higher than its best-ever year four years ago, Shipley reported. People are investing in these purchases and are turning to the aftermarket to care for their equipment.
“This is a very big story. A lot of folks that don’t want to be in hotels and don’t want to be on airplanes, they’re getting out and they’re travelling his country holding a trailer behind them or driving in an RV,” Shipley said. “This is a nice tailwind for us. They’re driving; whether they’re maintaining that RV, maintain that trailer or maintaining the tow vehicle that they had to buy to pull the trailer. All a great story.”
Many invested in what Shipley calls “fun vehicle ownership.” Basically, anything with a motor in it — an ATV, dirt bike, RV, jet ski and the like.
NPD’s research found that 40 per cent of people either bought one of these items during the pandemic or already owned one. And 86 per cent of those who already owned one were using it more or as often than before the pandemic.
“Again, when you start breaking down all the ways that the aftermarket has grown, this is another part of the story. A lot of folks spending that extra time on a project car or RV or that boat,” Shipley said.