Consumer Perception of Local vs. Chain Auto Body Shops

Goals

To provide an overview of any differences in the consumer perception of local versus chain auto body shops. This information will be used to inform the repositioning strategy for Maaco, a chain auto body shop in the U.S. and Canada.

Early Findings

Overview of the Auto Body Shop Market in the U.S.

  • In 2019, the market share of the different types of body shops in the U.S. was: independent stores, 54.1%; chain and franchised shops, 26.6%; and dealership body shops, 19.3%.
  • There’s a trend towards "large franchise auto repair businesses, which have smaller shops rolling up into them," in the U.S.

How Customers Choose an Auto Body Shop in the U.S.

  • From a survey conducted by an independent auto body shop, 49% of customers surveyed found their body shop via word of mouth, while 21% found one through an internet search, and 17.5% were referred by an insurance provider. This could be detrimental to chain auto body shops as they are known to receive a bulk of their business from insurance companies.
  • 25% of survey participants identified estimated pricing as the most important factor in making a choice on an auto body shop followed by proximity to the customer, 17%; reviews and testimonials, 15%; and the shop's brand reputation, 14%.

Insights on Local Auto Repair Shops' Customers in the U.S.

A 2015 survey found the following insights on customers of local auto repair shops in the U.S.
  • Customers of local auto repair shops used them an average of 3.3 times in the previous 12 months.
  • 60% of local auto repair shops wanted to see an improvement of the local auto repair shops' websites, including a better, new or mobile-friendly website.
  • 71% of local auto repair shop customers would like to receive communications via email or social media, such as service/appointment reminders and advice/helpful tips.
  • The top reasons given by customers on why they use their local auto repair shop were: quality of work, 39%; trustworthiness, 36%; and reliability, 32%.
  • The top reasons given by customers on why they would stop using their auto repair shop were: decline in the quality of work, 59%; significant increase in pricing, 42%: and not being treated fairly, 38%.

Sample Strategies to Attract Customers to Auto Body Shops

  • Marketing to new movers: according to studies, within the first 6 months of relocating, 54% of new movers are in market for auto repair services and 49% for auto parts.
  • Online presence is also an added advantage in gaining customers as a large number of consumers use the Internet to find or research a business. 41% of respondents in a survey on choosing an auto body shop looked at the social media profiles of body shops, with 31% doing it specifically on Facebook.

Summary of Findings

  • In our preliminary hour of research, we were not able to find information on the differing consumer perceptions on local versus chain auto body shops. From our research, information that provides this demarcation is not readily available. We were able to find insights on how customers view and why they use local auto body repair shops, as well as insights on how consumers choose an auto body shop, in general.
  • During this hour of research, we were only able to focus on the U.S. although we noted that Maaco operates in the U.S. and in Canada.
  • In addition to this public search, we scanned our proprietary research database of over 1 million sources and were unable to find any specific research reports that address the stated goals.

Proposed next steps:

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