How auto aftermarket sales are impacted by the latest driving behavior trends
Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, one thing that has remained constant is the fact that driving behaviors continue to evolve and exactly how they change is surprising and challenging for business leaders.
That is why Arity’s analysis of daily driving behaviors is an ongoing effort; how people’s driving behaviors change (or do not!) impact all industries, not least of which is the auto aftermarket. We took the stage at the Auto Care Connect event and, in our presentation, we dug into Arity’s hundreds of billions of miles of driving data to uncover the latest driving trends. For those of you who missed it or need a refresher, we have gathered some of the highlights from the presentation that got the most “ooohhs” and “ahhhs.”
When are people driving the most?
This is a big question that auto aftermarket professionals want to know. The data shows that, comparing to the 2019 average, non-rush-hour driving is accumulating more mileage, and traffic is spread out more during the day, which leads to fewer traffic jams.
This data came from GPS driving data points and events from multiple first-party anonymized and aggregated sources including consumer mobile apps (with the consumers’ permission), insurance telematics programs (OBD II and mobile), and more. But an even more pertinent question right now is are people driving the same even as gas prices skyrocket? And with all of these changes, how might professionals find the best customers? We have data on that as well.
Have rising gas prices impacted the number of miles driven?
We looked at the impact of gas prices on miles driven in the biggest U.S. (United States) counties in March 2022, and there was a drop by 370,000 miles per day. Using an average vehicle gas mileage of 21 gallons of gas per mile, that translates to a decrease of 122 million gallons of gas used.
But that is an “all-U.S.-county” view. The picture may be very different if you are looking at a specific county or comparing a single county’s overall driving to their residents’ driving. For example, we looked at the weekly miles driven in New York County and Los Angeles County from early March to early May 2022, and the differences were significant.
- While all New York County miles in aggregate continued to plummet mid-April to early May, miles for residents began to bounce back toward the end of April.
- In Los Angeles County, as miles for all drivers have been steadily dropping from mid-March to early May, we saw a spike in resident miles in early April, a big drop mid-April, and then resident miles began a steep, steady climb at the end of April into early May.
It is as if people who have a choice to buy expensive gas and drive through New York or LA are choosing not to. But if you live there, and all the gas is expensive, you have no choice. You still need to take care of business.
How can driving data like this help drive and predict sales?
Driving continues to vary from state to state and county to county. Wide swings in how and how much people drive make it difficult for auto aftermarket professionals to optimize their business to meet consumers’ needs. A more granular view of vehicle miles traveled and driving events can be used to create models that help predict consumers’ needs and enable the auto aftermarket to more accurately forecast inventory and sales down to the zip code level.
All this mobility intelligence can also be transformed into more targeted and impactful marketing efforts as well.
Data and analytical models like this can also help determine the best audiences to market to. It depends on the type of auto aftermarket business, of course, but you could request vehicle miles traveled data to target audiences such as:
- High mileage drivers
- Change in mileage low-high or high-low
- Change in residence of driving
- Surging resident mileage in geography
- Time of day pattern changes
You can also correlate these audiences with driving events such as an increase in hard braking or a change in acceleration patterns, or an increase in average speeds for local or highway drivers.
Not sure how to get started analyzing driving data to improve your sales? We hope you will get in touch. Helping businesses apply and integrate our unique insights into their business planning and decision-making processes for optimal results is one of our favorite topics.