The Future is Looking Bright: Growing DIFM Market Share

The Future is Looking Bright for Automotive Repair Services

Market Research Shows Increasing Demand

Not long ago, the U.S. economy was unsustainable and heading toward hard times. There was serious concern about potential bank failures. Unemployment skyrocketed, the stock market began its plunge toward multi-decade lows, and new automobile sales stopped almost entirely.

Fast forward to today. The economy is looking much healthier; the stock market is back up to all-time highs, unemployment has come back down, and people are investing in newer model cars. By watching market trends, we can project how the automotive service industry will fare in the future. With the economy still in recovery, we know we’re not completely out of the woods, but trends are definitely showing some signs of growth and progress. It looks like demand for the role of professional automotive technicians will continue to remain strong.

Case in point: the number of vehicles per service bay has increased dramatically to 209 vehicles per service bay in the U.S. Compare that to 134 vehicles per service bay 25 years ago. As a technician, you are servicing more vehicles per bay. Put another way, we could say that today’s technician is 56% more efficient than a technician 25 years ago.*

During the recent recession, the DIY (Do-It-Yourself) market experienced resurgence as more people wanted to save money by repairing their vehicles themselves. A stronger economy, along with increasing vehicle complexity, is now driving the DIY market to an all-time low as a percentage of automotive repairs. Cars are just getting too complicated now. This translates to more vehicles being professionally serviced and more business for the Do-It-For-Me market (DIFM).

The Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, reports the nation’s demand for auto mechanics is expected to grow about 17% from 2010 to 2020, adding 124,800 jobs for a total of 848,200 automotive repair positions.* Technicians who have completed formal postsecondary training programs—especially the ones with training in advanced automotive technology, such as hybrid fuel or computer systems—should enjoy the best outlook in upcoming years. There’s good reason to feel positive about the direction of our shared industry.

2010 to 2020 Projected Employment Chart

As vehicle technology advances, shops and technicians need to continuously upgrade their diagnostic tools and skill levels. Here at Mitchell 1, a division of Snap-on Tools, we’re doing our part by researching the latest applications and technologies and developing solutions to meet the future needs of tomorrow’s technicians. The future is bright!

* Data cited in this blog post has derived from: AASA (Automotive Aftermarket Suppliers Association), Lang Marketing Resources, Inc., an independent consulting company specializing in the vehicle products industry, and the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

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About the Author


Altan Alsanjak is a Product Manager responsible for the Mitchell 1 DIY, ECAT, API business operations and managing affiliate partners. He has over 20 years of experience in information technologies, including developing and implementing e-commerce markets.