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GfK's U.S. Tire Panel: Winter Tire Sales at Retail Stores Drop 26%

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Initial data from GfK Group’s tire retail panel in the U.S. shows a 5.6% decline in store sales year over year, with a 26% drop in purchases of winter tires.

GfK Group, a market research firm based in Germany, has built the first POS (point of sale) tracking panel for the U.S. tire retail marketplace, which represents 62% of all tire sales nationwide.

GfK says the data, collected from over 3,500 points of sale, allows manufacturers and retailers to understand – for the first time – country-wide trends, competitor activities, sale prices, and brand market share.

The new data release shows over 137 million tires were purchased in the independent tire channel during 2017, with an average selling price of $135.31 – a modest $1.71 increase over 2016. More than half (75.5 million) of those tires were for passenger cars, although sell-out in this segment actually dropped 7.1% in 2017, compared to 2016. Three tire sizes – 205 55 R16, 215 60 R16, and 215 55 R17 – led in passenger car sales.

Winter tire sell-out fell to 2.1 million in 2017, a 26% drop year over year. A set of four winter tires cost roughly $22 more in 2017 than 2016 – one possible factor in the sales decline.

“At a time of huge change – from consolidation, ecommerce, and other factors – a consistent view of the independent tire channel is essential to making smart, fact-based decisions,” says Neil Portnoy, managing director of GfK POS Tracking in North America.

“Manufacturers and retailers need to understand the sources of transformation and respond. Executives selling into or marketing in the channel can use the GfK panel data to take on today’s complex competitive landscape and see opportunities emerging on the horizon.”

GfK’s data also reveal that

  • the average tire dealer sells 387 tires per shop per month – down from 409 a year ago;
  • budget brand sales decreased 6.7% YOY, with an average 2017 sale price of about $98; and
  • rim sizes larger than 18 inches saw a 6.8% sales increase YOY, while those under 17 inches declined 9.2%

Bridgestone retail stores are among sources for GfK’s data. For details, read: “Bridgestone’s Stores to Share Point-of-Sale Data With GfK.”

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