Companies in this industry operate physical retail establishments that sell automobile parts, supplies, batteries, and lubricants. Major companies include Advance Auto Parts, AutoZone, O'Reilly Automotive, and The Pep Boys (all based in the US), as well as ATU Auto-Teile-Unger (Germany); AUTOBACS SEVEN and Yellow Hat (Japan); Halfords Group (UK); and Supercheap Auto (Australia).
Demand for automobile parts is driven by the age and mileage of vehicles in use and generally increases when fewer new cars are sold and older cars are kept on the road longer. The profitability of individual companies depends largely on inventory management and marketing. Large companies have economies of scale in purchasing and distribution. Small companies can compete effectively by carrying specialized parts or providing extra services such as fast delivery. The US industry is concentrated: the 50 largest companies generate about 60% of industry revenue. The four largest companies account for about 45% of industry revenue.
Products, Operations & Technology
New and rebuilt auto parts account for about 50% of retail sales; auto supplies, 15%; auto batteries, 8%, and auto lubricants, 5%. Because products are used on vehicles after their original sale, the industry is considered part of the motor vehicle aftermarket. Products are sold to two main groups of customers. Do-it-yourself (DIY) customers are consumers who work on their own cars; do-it-for-me (DIFM) customers include commercial installers such as auto repair shops, gas stations, fleet operators, and car dealer service departments. Parts sellers who provide installation and repair services may also categorize customers of those services as DIFM.