Consumer 2021 Fall/Winter Tire & Automotive Outlook
The ability for each of us as consumers to get products or services we want, or need, has been disrupted across many markets for a variety of reasons. The tire and automotive business has not been immune and we are concerned for our customers for the upcoming season. Please find below our outlook for the upcoming Fall / Winter season you may want to consider for your mobility requirements.
Right now, and over the coming months, there are five trends that are going to negatively impact consumer’s ability to source tires, automotive products, & services in order to meet your mobility needs.
1. Retail Talent shortage
Long before early 2020 there was a labour shortage across the tire and automotive markets. Today this has multiplied as it has in many other industries. Retailers are extremely challenged to find experienced technicians to inspect, maintain, or install the same products that are becoming hard to source.
With a talent shortage across both the Original Equipment and Aftermarket retail segments, there will be a reduced capacity for how many customers can be served during the remaining months of the year. In a traditional year waiting too long can leave consumers waiting two to three weeks to be able to get an appointment for tire or automotive needs. We expect given the reduced capacity across the industry that these wait times will be extended further than traditional waiting times.
2. Product shortages
Manufacturers across most industries are facing the same talent shortage as retailers. Operating plants with reduced work force also results in less capacity resulting in long lead times to fulfill orders. Talent shortages also extend to farming and other feeder plants producing the wide range of raw materials required to support tire and automotive. The industry is already experiencing gaps in inventory as a result.
3. Shipping delays
We can conservatively say that 35%+ of tire and automotive products are produced outside the North American market to satisfy consumer demand within North America. Sourcing both containers to ship product in along with space available on Ocean Freight Liners is limited creating long delays in shipping.
Large organizations have resorted to buying their own containers and/or Freight Liners in order to try and control their own fate with product shipments. Whether organizations own containers and/or Ocean Liners, or not, port shut downs off shore are creating further delays in product fulfillment to the North American markets.
We are already receiving notifications that products on order to help support the North American demand this coming season are delayed until late in the year from overseas. Not only are the products delayed but the cost of freight continues to double.
Where you live will play a role in your ability to source what you need for this winter season. Living in Canada we will all experience winter weather but some will see the shift in weather earlier and longer. As winter weather rolls in, supply chains will shift inventory to markets that present the first opportunity to sell the inventory, putting even more pressure on markets who get the winter shift in weather later in the year. Markets with the highest probability to get late winter weather, large demand, and increased product shortages would be the southern markets in Canada. Primarily Central and Southern Ontario.
5. Price changes
With all the above impacting product availability and capacity for businesses throughout the supply chain, we can expect higher price increases. The tire and automotive industry has seen arguably the most price fluctuations with the highest increases in prices in a single year. As manufacturers have a limited capacity to produce they will continue to have to raise prices on the products they do manufacturer and sell. We have been notified of a third round of price increases set to take effect within the next 30 days ranging from 3% to 8%.
At the same time, as talent continues to be difficult to source the cost of labour from Manufacturers to Retailers will also continue to rise resulting in both higher prices for products and services.
Within the industry we refer to the closing months of each calendar year as “the fall rush” for a reason. The majority of consumers wait until the day, or leading days, into the first snow fall before they act. This as mentioned earlier leads to over capacity issues within a normal year and this will be no normal finish to the year for consumers who choose to wait.
Please find our recommendations to prepare you for your mobility needs this year to ensure you get what you need while there is product and time available.
If you have not been provided a pre-booked appointment leading into the fall, reach out to reserve your time soon. Pre-booked appointments will ensure you have the time available to prepare your vehicle for the turn in weather. If you think you may need tires having that conversation early and securing product now while it is available is suggested. Most retailers do not require deposits in order to hold product. Especially this year since if customers do not show up for appointments they will be able to sell the inventory quickly.
If you are used to waiting until the winter weather is right in front of us again let us urge you to reconsider. We get it, not too many consumers get excited to spend their hard earned money on their mobility needs. You should know that inspections or installations are better handled early, will not impact any warrantees, and for a short period of time will not have a negative impact on your vehicle. Safer to be ready for winter before it gets here than wait until long after it has been on us.
If you have tires in storage have them inspected. If they are at a retail location and you have not received the condition of your stored tires, contact them to request. Or, if you store your own tires have a look at the tread depth and wear patterns. If you’re not sure what to look for contact your retail location to request help.
There is no secret there is a lot of financial pressure on many consumers who may be opting to put off their vehicle requirements until as late as they can. Again, waiting until late into the season this year could be a painful, and quite frankly an unsafe, experience. If budget is the concern you can seek consumer centric finance support.
The current shortage of talent, availability of products, as well as the cost of both will continue to be impacted negatively over the remaining months of 2021. Continuing to operate this fall as many have in past years and wait until the last minute will lead to disappointment and potentially unsafe driving. Those who are actively planning, proactively scheduling, and securing both products along with the time for their upcoming winter needs will be in good shape when it gets here.
Thank you for your business and reading our Consumer 2021 Fall/Winter Tire & Automotive Outlook . If you have any questions please contact us today!