TWG Survey Provides Food for Thought
The Tyre Wholesalers Group of the NTDA held its Annual Lunch on Wednesday 23rd November and Chairman Peter Gaster, of Kings Road Tyres, gave brief details of the recent survey carried out by the group – the first for two years. Brief highlights follow.
Firstly, the survey shows that the number of delivery vehicles has almost doubled in two years – a sign of the wholesalers’ commitment, says Gaster. Next day delivery is the most common time frame. 44 per cent of market activity is accounted for by firms selling between 100,000 to 500,000 car/van/4×4 tyres a year, although 35 per cent of companies sell in excess of one million tyres annually.
Parallel imports are a fact of life and, taking car and truck together, one fifth of premium brand tyres are purchased outside the UK, illustrating the ease with which these tyres can be sourced.
The customer base is changing too, with the biggest increase in sales (up 18 per cent since 2003) being to the independent tyre dealer. When it comes to what TWG members think their customers find important, price is not the number one issue, although it is undeniably an important factor, especially in truck tyres. Most important was availability of range and brands, while product and application knowledge was voted as essential for those offering agricultural tyres.
When it comes to sales channels, the Internet is, as yet, regarded as the least important method. E-mail is growing in importance, but telephone/fax remains the most popular. Sales through wholesalers appear to have increased over the past two years, but many are reporting that margins have fallen.
Another difference from 2003 is that then there were many complaints about fill rates from manufacturers. The latest survey shows a slight improvement in premium and mid range car tyres, while the budget sector has deteriorated, something which shows where the main market activity is centred, said Peter Gaster. When it comes to truck tyres, he added, the shortages of a year ago seem to have all but disappeared.”