There are more than 1,700,000 vehicles registered in the Charlotte area. Many need new windshield wipers, shocks, struts, brakes, air filters, ignition coils, and the hundreds of other items that fill the shelves of local auto part dealers.
Despite the pandemic induced slowdown, business at auto parts stores has grown nearly 13% since February, according to the US Census Bureau.
This explosive growth in auto parts sales directly relates to the average age of cars on Charlotte's roads.
"Per the latest study from IHS Markit, the current combined average age of vehicles has hit a record of 11.9 years," Rimmi Singhi wrote this week on NASDAQ.com. "The aging vehicles are a boon to auto parts, replacement, and repair companies. In a bid to ensure long-term functioning of the aging vehicle population, customers are making investments to replace faulty vehicle parts and components."
Also contributing to the rapid aging of cars on the road is the current demand for used versus new vehicles. According to the Bureau of Economic Analysis, the personal consumption expenditures (PCE) for used cars is 25% higher in August than it was during the same month last year.
Economists believe that the increase in used car expenditures is fueled by consumers' fear of public transportation caused by the pandemic and the emerging flight from larger cities to less densely populated areas.
To claim a larger share of the $2.9 billion Charlotte area consumers are expected to spend this year on vehicle aftermarket products, local auto parts store owners will need to advertise. By almost any metric, advertising on Charlotte radio is the best way to reach customers who are ready to buy.
In a recent study, Nielsen discovered the elements of an advertising campaign that had the most potent effect on purchase behavior. The results indicate that reach (the number of different consumers exposed to a campaign) was responsible for driving more sales for the advertiser than branding, recency, context, or targeting.
Every week, according to Nielsen, Charlotte radio reaches significantly more adults who own at least one car or truck than all other local advertising media.
Most importantly, Charlotte radio also reaches the most consumers who live in households with multiple vehicles. It stands to reason that the homes with the most cars will have the greatest need for auto parts.
Perhaps the greatest benefit of advertising an auto part business on Charlotte radio is listening location. Despite the current pandemic, the majority of radio listening occurs while consumers are outside from home, most likely in a car or truck. These drivers will be particularly aware of their need for auto parts.
According to a 2020 study by Edison Research, local radio remains, by far, the primary choice for audio media while consumers are in a vehicle.
Economists believe the economic forces driving the growth of the auto parts business will continue into 2024. The average age of cars on the road will continue to increase as consumers opt to repair their current vehicles instead of buying new cars and trucks.
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