Following what was generally regarded as an insightful presentation on the impact of coronavirus on global, European and UK tyre markets, the panel for our “New Tyres in Corona-World” Virtual Tyre Industry Conference 2020 session (James Ward, senior insight manager, GfK; Andrea Manenti, VP north region, Bridgestone; and Pravesh Amtha, Sales General Manager Consumer UK&I, Goodyear) moved into a discussion relating to how manufacturers are working on creatively supporting the tyre trade in the face of the second lockdown and ongoing pandemic- and economy-related complications.
While van manufacturers have been both developing their electric portfolios and sustaining a double-digit sales contraction in a pandemic affected market, the picture for van tyre suppliers is certainly not as hostile. As we will see in this feature, the requirements of e-commerce and electric vehicles are providing new impetus to van tyre suppliers in the medium term. But 2020 UK figures generated by market data analyst GfK’s Point of Sales Tracking show that the segment is faring better than many with the travails of this year. At the same time, several trends are coalescing to improve the fortunes of van tyre suppliers.
5 November saw the inaugural virtual Tyre Industry Conference, with Tyres & Accessories bringing the traditional annual conference into the virtual arena due to Covid-19 restrictions. Produced in association with the NTDA and supported by Cam Systems, our expert panel was comprised of James Ward, senior insight manager, GfK; Andrea Manenti, VP north region, Bridgestone; and Pravesh Amtha, sales general manager Consumer UK&I, Goodyear. The wide-ranging 45-minute conversation covered a lot of bases, but the first session, which was designed to focus on the new tyre market’s recent trends and statistics began with a presentation from James Ward.
The latest data might show that 4×4 replacement tyre sales are down 6 per cent, however Tyres & Accessories asked market analysts GfK how past trends compare with current realities and found: 4×4 tyres have been hit by the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic, but far less than most other segments. At the same time, the all-season 4×4 tyre sub-segment witnessed some examples of positive growth.
4×4 retail tyre sales have long been a growth area and the UK market constitutes one of the leading lights in Europe. More recent growth has been driven by similarly strong SUV vehicle sales as well as consumer switches towards all-season products. At the same time, more practical and off-road-orientated vehicles have also been supporting 4×4 tyre sales.
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The Covid-19 pandemic and lockdown has made 2020 an annus horribilis for the UK car tyre market, with a near quarter-long lockdown slashing miles driven, original equipment sales due to prolonged factory closures, and reducing sales opportunities further with the government’s MOT exemption. However, tyre businesses have begun ramping up again in response to the reopening of business sectors, people returning to work, and the possibility that private car usage could become increasingly popular as commuters avoid public transport – though the trend for working from home could create more than a headwind for any growth in miles driven. Perhaps the greatest driver of UK car tyre sales growth in 2020 could be the projected spike in MOTs in the autumn, as the period of exemption expires for many pandemic affected motorists. Halfords Autocentres estimates that there could be an 85 per cent jump in demand for MOTs in October – click here for Tyrepress’s own analysis of the MOT situation. Why is this important in a feature about all-season and winter tyres? As we are about to see, the all-season tyre segment continued its impressive growth over April 2019 – March 2020.
On the morning of 10 June 2020, well-respected market analysts GfK hosted an webinar for north of 170 European tyre executives. Overall, the “Global Car Tyre Market Overview” presentation concluded that, while there are many variables and unknowns, retail tyre demand in 2020 market is likely to be down 20-30 per cent compared with 2019.
The latest GfK data based on its tyre retail sell-out sources – what it refers to as its panelmarket – shows that UHP tyre sizes, especially above 17″, continued to represent a growing market in 2019. The analyst compared UHP tyres, here defined as 17” and above, in the period from January 2018 to December 2018 with January 2019 to December 2019. The first column shows that 17” takes a share of the total tyre market of just over one-fifth (21 per cent). 17” has been a popular size for many years, benefitting from the transition of more compact cars onto higher rim sizes. However, growth in 17” dimensions has now plateaued, with this figure representing no change on the previous year’s data.
The combination of political disruption and Brexit uncertainty made 2019 a tough year for the UK economy in general, so it is not surprising to learn that this was reflected in the overall passenger car tyre replacement market. According to the latest sell-out UK tyre replacement market data collated by analysts at GfK, the headline news is that both the value and the volume of the decreased in 2019. But there are reasons for hope, with signs of growth remaining in the value-rich SUV tyre sub-segment and with evidence of strong growth in sales of all-season tyres.
Larger capacity, increased comfort in the cabin and multi-terrain capabilities are just some of the reasons why motorists are continuing to choose SUVs when purchasing a new vehicle.
Indeed, SUVs and crossovers currently account for a third of the UK’s best-selling cars list of 2019 to date, with offerings from Nissan, Ford and Kia among the biggest sellers.
The size of the UK truck tyre market by sell-out unit volume fell 9.8 per cent in 2018 set against the backdrop of European import tariffs, according to GfK data presented at Autopromotec 2019. But what do the tell us about the effectiveness of the tariffs?