In terms of unit volume, the week of May 18 proved to be tire retailers' strongest sales week of 2020, according to tire market research firm GfK. Volume during that period exceeded volume achieved during “the weeks before the (COVID-19) pandemic brought much of the U.S. economy to a standstill."
“The previous best week of the year had come in late-February," note GfK officials.
New data from GfK also reveals “overall growth of 10% in unit volume compared to the previous week (ending May 16) and a relatively modest drop of 3% compared to the same period in 2019. By contrast, units were down roughly 45% compared to 2019 for three consecutive weeks in March and April.”
In addition, GfK reports that tires “related to ‘essential service’ vehicles – usually the light truck category – have been driving recent gains" while the firm's "latest figures also show surges in ‘discretionary’ segments, such as ultra-high performance.”
“While COVID-19 had a huge impact on tire retail, the market is rebounding at remarkable speed,” says Neil Portnoy, managing director of point-of-sale tracking at GfK. “Our leader panel provides an early indicator of emerging trends, helping U.S. manufacturers and retailers make the decisions that will build a strong recovery.”
GfK's leader panel is a subset of its point-of-sale panel, which includes more than 3,000 tire retailers.
On June 4 at 2 p.m. EDT, GfK will host a webinar about what the new industry “normal” will look like. The webinar will discuss whether consumers’ travel and shopping behaviors will “shift back to old patterns” and other topics. Click here for more information.