Companies in this industry operate physical retail establishments that sell new and used tires; some also provide automotive repair services. Major companies include Discount Tire, TBC Corporation, Monro Muffler Brake, Les Schwab Tire Centers and retail units of manufacturers Bridgestone and Goodyear (all based in the US), as well as Beaurepaires (Australia) and Kwik-Fit (UK).
Global demand for tires is projected to rise 3.4% per year through 2022, reaching a value of $267 billion, according to rubber and plastics market research firm Smithers Rapra. Demand is expected to be strongest in the Asia/Pacific region, where per capita vehicle ownership is increasing. China is the world's largest consumer and producer of tires, followed by the North American and Western European markets, where premium and high-performance tires help drive demand.
The US tire dealer industry includes about 20,500 establishments (single-location companies and units of multi-location companies) with combined annual revenue of about $35 billion.
Demand for replacement tires is tied to vehicle use, which in turn depends on economic activity. The profitability of individual companies depends on marketing, since the product is largely a commodity. Large companies benefit from economies of scale in purchasing and advertising. Small firms can compete effectively by serving a particular region, by specializing (such as in tires for high-end cars) or by joining purchasing/distribution networks. The US industry is concentrated: the 20 largest companies generate about 50% of revenue.
With about 60% of the market, independent tire dealers sell more consumer tires to end users than any other distribution channel, according to Modern Tire Dealer (MTD). Growth of the independent dealer channel has come at the expense of mass merchandise chains and stores owned by tire manufacturers. Both Amazon and growing direct-to-consumer sales by tire manufacturers threaten to take market share from independent tire dealers. Online tire sales are a small but growing competitive threat. Representing 7% of the total consumer tire market, some 16.7 million tires were sold online in 2017, according to MTD research.
Imports, primarily from China and Thailand, and to a lesser extent Canada, South Korea, and Japan represent a significant share of the US replacement tire market. US consumer tire imports from China have decreased sharply in recent years due to tariffs imposed on imports by the US Department of Commerce and the International Trade Commission. Shipments to the US from China fell from 60.5 million units in 2014 to just 12.3 million units in 2017, according to MTD. Overall trade relations with China worsened in 2018 and 2019 as the Trump administration toughened US trade policy, citing China's alleged abuse of US intellectual property rights. Thailand has surpassed China as the largest exporter of tires to the US, with 33.8 million units shipped in 2017.
Products, Operations & Technology
Dealers sell replacement tires for passenger cars (about 50% of industry revenue) and commercial vehicles (20%). Other sources of revenue include service
Sales & Marketing
Finance & Regulation
Regional & International Issues
Also includes the following chapters:
Quarterly Industry Update
Trends and Opportunities
Call Preparation Questions
Glossary of Acronyms