Aftermarket motor oil sales in the United States declined for the first half of this year, although sales picked up for oils used in boating and recreational vehicles as summer arrived, according to The NPD Group.
Although overall automotive aftermarket sales increased 4 percent in dollars, motor oil sales revenue fell 2 percent for the period from January through June.
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Citing U.S. Department of Transportation data, NPD noted that the number miles driven in the U.S. was down by 17 percent year-to-date through May, compared to the same period of 2019, and down significantly steeper during April and May. According to DOT data, miles driven in the U.S. for the 12 months through May 2020 declined 6 percent, a decrease of almost 211 billion miles. By comparison, for the 12 months ending in May 2019, the miles driven grew 1 percent, an annual increase of 29 billion miles.
On the flip side, the company noted, the coming of summer “boded well for aftermarket products tied to boating, recreational vehicles, ATVs and motorcycles, with products such as marine and ATV oil and motorcycle oil up 22 percent and 21 percent, respectively.”
Generally, NPD noted, the do-it-yourself and discretionary spending categories grew sales significantly during the COVID-19 period as consumers undertook at-home projects. U.S. automotive aftermarket sales revenue grew 4 percent in for the first half of the year.
“There are a number of nice tailwinds in the air for the aftermarket industry,” Nathan Shipley, NPD’s automotive analyst, said in a news release. “Lower gas prices coupled with an anti-viral society limiting mass transportation and favoring road over air travel places greater reliance on car usage and health. In addition, consumers tend to watch how they spend their dollars during economic uncertainty and often do more DIY – a sales generator and relationship builder for the aftermarket.”