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Aftermarket Auto Parts Industry Gets Big Boost From Federal Stimulus Payments

Americans are buying aftermarket and performance-enhancing auto parts in record numbers.


The COVID-19 pandemic has wreaked havoc on the economy. Record numbers of unemployment filings are pouring in. In an attempt to keep the economy afloat, the federal government is sending some Americans payments to help make ends meet, but also to spur spending to keep businesses large and small afloat.

American's are spending the stimulus money on a wide variety of things. One industry we know is benefitting is the vehicle aftermarket and performance parts market. As a result of the federal stimulus, consumers gained approximately $155 billion in their checking accounts. Much of that was on its way or had arrived by April 15th.

Image of car part by Zane Merva

The automotive marketing company Hedges and Company conducted a study of about 8 million user sessions and online purchases from parts and accessory websites in the US and Canada. The study determined that the week leading up to and of the federal stimulus payments was the highest-volume sales week in the automotive aftermarket's history. Hedge's summary says that, "Most clients set some type of website record…either the single biggest day for online sales (mostly Wednesday 4/15, but some saw sales come in Thursday 4/16 or Friday 4/17), or the single biggest week for sales. Sales continue to be strong the week of April 19."

As soon as Torque News began sharing this story on social media readers began to post images and comments. One TN reader we will call DTA, posted, "I have a set of wheels and tires, and a brand new jack, literally on a UPS truck right now." Another posted an image of his just-upgraded vehicle.

Sales chart courtesy of Hedges and Company

The study looked back to the week prior to the stay-in-place mandates and forced closings of many businesses in America. It ompared that week of sales to the week the stimulus was sent. Here are some highlights of what was observed:

-Overall aftermarket eCommerce sales, including automotive, light truck and powersports: Index of 140.3 vs. 100.
-OEM parts sales: Index of 125.4 vs. 100, the first positive week after sales declines the rest of the weeks.
-Light truck and off-road parts sales: Index of 157.2 vs. 100.
-Performance/racing parts sales: Index of 148.9 vs. 100, surprisingly strong demand considering many motorsports events are canceled.

Did you buy car parts with your stimulus check? If so, tell us what build or repair you are working on this week in the comments below.

John Goreham is a life-long car nut and recovering engineer. John's focus areas are technology, safety, and green vehicles. In the 1990s, he was part of a team that built a solar-electric vehicle from scratch. His was the role of battery thermal control designer. For 20 years he applied his engineering and sales talents in the high tech world and published numerous articles in technical journals such as Chemical Processing Magazine. In 2008 he retired from that career to chase his dream of being an auto writer. In addition to Torque News, John's work has appeared in print in dozens of American newspapers and he provides reviews to many vehicle shopping sites. You can follow John on Twitter, and view his credentials at Linkedin.

Image Notes: Images courtesy of Zane Merva of Please note that the images are representative only and were taken prior to April. Sales chart courtesy of Hedges and Company