All types of do-it-yourself (DIY) activity have dropped over the past 10 years, according to new research from the Automotive Aftermarket Suppliers Association (AASA). A detailed DIY analysis is included in the soon-to-be-released 2006-2007 AASA Automotive Aftermarket Status Report.
Based on consumer surveys conducted by IndustrialMR, AASA grouped service jobs into light, medium or heavy DIY categories. AASA data reveals that between 1995 and 2005, “heavy” DIY activity fell from 33 percent of the jobs in the heavy DIY group to 25 percent; “medium” DIY activity dropped from 35 percent to 28 percent; and the percent of jobs in the “light” DIY service group declined from 54 percent in 1995 to 40 percent in 2005. According to AASA Executive Director Steve Handschuh, increasing vehicle complexity and changing demographics have led to all three levels of DIY activity declining, with light DIY declining more rapidly than the other two types.
“While still declining, the decreases in the past few years have been slower than in previous years,” Handschuh said. “One possible explanation is the increasing use of the Internet with a corresponding increase in the depth of information that can be found. It is now possible to find step-by-step instructions, along with illustrations, for many service jobs.”
Frank Hampshire, AASA research director, noted that AASA’s DIY estimates are not simply the proportion of retail over-the-counter sales which are the substance of some DIY reports. AASA’s statistics are strictly based on consumer purchases for DIY repairs.
Hampshire also explained that DIY fluctuates with vehicle type, vehicle age, owner age, household income and gender. For example:
Light DIY reaches nearly 55 percent on pickup trucks and only 37 percent on passenger cars. Likewise, medium and heavy DIY activity is considerably higher for pickup trucks than for other vehicle types.
DIY activity, at all levels, grows as the vehicle ages, although the growth rate is different for the three levels. Light activity starts strong and slows, medium is relatively constant and heavy DIY activity accelerates as vehicles age.
DIY activity is highest in the $10,000 per year and lower income group. Beyond that first major drop, heavy DIY starts dropping at $30,000, medium after $50,000, and light DIY activity does not drop off until the household’s income reaches $75,000.
DIY activity is not exclusive to men. Although a significant percentage of women vehicle maintainers perform some tasks at all levels, in traditional homes with two adult heads of households, it is generally the male who assumes the responsibilities of vehicle maintenance.
“Understanding the DIY market is important for manufacturers in order to segment the aftermarket and allocate resources to appropriate target markets,” Handschuh noted. “For example, the estimated level of DIY activity for some product lines dictates the placement of advertising and the importance of brand awareness.”
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