GfK’s nationwide point-of-sale (POS) panel of independent U.S. retailers has released new data showing that the light truck category is leading a sluggish tire retail market in the U.S.
Representing nearly 35,000 points of sale nationwide, the data reveal that, in an overall down market, light truck tires have performed better than other segments, including passenger car (PC) and 4×4/SUV tires.
Gfk data shows that unit volume for light truck tires has fallen only 3.1% compared to a year ago, which is roughly half of the overall decline (-5.7%) in the tire retail market. In addition, the value for LT tires is almost at parity year-over-year (-1.1%), while the total market is off -4.5%.
Light truck tires have achieved this success despite an industry-leading price growth of 2%. At $196 per unit, LT tires are now the most expensive by far – almost 50% pricier than the overall average ($135 per unit), and about double the cost of PC tires ($109).
The GfK panel data also show that, in terms of units, 20-inch rims have posted strong year-over-year growth (+9.9%), while smaller, more traditional sizes have mostly been declining. The largest unit losses came in 15-inch rims (-16.8%), followed by 16-inch (-11%) and 17-inch (-2.9%).
“The light truck segment has held its own in a challenging marketplace, recording relatively small losses despite very high costs,” said Neil Portnoy, managing director of GfK’s POS Tracking (Tires) team. “To some extent, retailers have been forced to pass on price increases dictated by rubber costs and other factors. At a time when consumers are increasingly price savvy and not always brand loyal, this poses a challenge. To maximize profit in this marketplace, retailers and manufacturers alike need the timely metrics that GfK’s tire panel is delivering.”
GfK built a POS (point-of-sale) tracking panel for the U.S. tire retail marketplace, which represents 62% of all tire sales nationwide. The GfK data allows manufacturers and retailers to understand country-wide trends, competitor activities, sale prices and brand market share, allowing them to make more informed business decisions.
Click here to read more of the Gfk POS panel’s report on the light truck segment.