Automotive Parts & Service Consumer Purchasing Behavior During an Economic Downturn

The U.S. is experiencing an unprecedented economic shock due to the Covid-19 pandemic.  Nearly every industry is being affected by the temporary shutdown in business activities.  While we hope business activity will get back to ‘normal’ very soon, we, at IMR,  thought we would provide insights from our long-standing automotive tracking studies to shed some light on how consumers changed their automotive parts and service purchasing behaviors during the last major economic downturn.

What’s important about the following report is context.  We’re comparing the years leading up to the Great Recession (2007 and 2008) to 2009, the primary year of the Great Recession.  The numbers being reported are not based on dollars but rather based on service events and percent of purchases.  In addition, the data does not include automotive accessories but rather the parts, services and chemicals that keep our vehicles moving.

We know during that recessionary time, 2009 was the first time the Auto Care Association reported a post-mortem decline in the growth of the auto industry.  That means that the percentages being shown, whether up or down comparatively, are in reference to a declining automotive parts and service market compared to a historically growing market.  Ultimately, the purpose of the insights we’re providing are to show how consumers changed their behaviors in a recessionary market compared to the prior non-recessionary years so that you may have additional information when making critical decisions for your company.


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