Cost-Conscious Millennials, Longer Vehicle Ownership Bodes Well for Automotive Aftermarket

The average length of ownership of new vehicles continues to increase, according to a recent analysis from Polk.  Consumers are now holding onto a new vehicle, on average, for 63.9 months based on second quarter 2010 data, up 4.5 months from the same time last year, according to Polk.

Length of ownership has risen each quarter since the end of 2008 and serves as an indicator of business opportunities available to the automotive aftermarket, based on the increasing numbers of older vehicles in operation that may need service or parts, and an increasing number of vehicles on the road falling out of warranty.

It also highlights opportunities for manufacturers to consider targeting those consumers that are hanging on to older vehicles as potential customers for new vehicle purchases.

According to Polk, the average length of new vehicle ownership increased an average of 3.7% annually prior to the economic and auto industry meltdown in late 2008.  Since that time, average length of ownership of new vehicles has increased more than 14%, with no signs of slowing down.

"Ownership trends are something our customers watch very closely," said Eric Papacek, Polk solutions consultant. "Armed with insightful data on these trends, aftermarket and retail customers are able to appropriately plan for levels of service work and parts that may be required based on the increased age of vehicles on the road," he continued.

Millennials Represent New Era of DIY Repair

Millennials, those born between 1980 and 1994 and representing the largest generation of car drivers since the 1960s, have been hard hit by the Recession and are increasingly turning to do-it-yourself (DIY) maintenance and repair to keep their autos running, according to recent automotive aftermarket research by The NPD Group.

"Having lived through tough economic times and being one of the age groups most impacted by it, Millennials may remain cost-conscious for a long time and, as a result, could represent a new era of DIY repair," said David Portalatin, industry analyst for NPD's automotive aftermarket business unit. "Gaining a better understanding of what Millennials are likely buying today will enable marketers to position their brands, stores, and services for what could be a lifetime of car care purchasing by 65 million influential young drivers."

[Source:  Automotive vehicle ownership analysis.  Polk.  3 Nov. 2010.  Web.  17 Nov. 2010;  Automotive aftermarket research.  The NPD Group.  27 Oct. 2010.  Web.  17 Nov. 2010.]