The automotive aftermarket in the US is a $300 billion giant and is forecasted to grow at a healthy eight percent over the next five years. The average age of cars on roads in the US has increased to 11.5 years and is set to grow as vehicles improve in quality and durability.
Autozone, Inc. achieved automotive parts sales in 2020 of $12.6 billion (4.2% market share) through 6,003 US store locations. A subsidiary of Global Parts Company, National Automotive Parts Association (NAPA) achieved sales of $16.5 billion (5.5% market share) through 4,487 stores in the US.
Both Autozone and NAPA are significant parts purchasing, wholesale and retail organizations buying their parts from a similar supplier base. The two organizations also claim to have a similar number of retail outlets. Let’s look at what makes the difference to customers.
What Customers And Employees Of Autozone And NAPA Say
The aftermarket automotive parts industry is poised for a massive shakeup as the growth of EVs will reduce the size of the future market. The transition will gradually occur as the Internal Combustion Vehicle car park is enormous and will take at least three decades until regulations and fuel prices will thin out the volumes.
The onslaught on the lucrative aftermarket parts business is also coming from the online platform retailers like Amazon.com and others, making Autozone and NAPA’s leadership critical to guide their organizations through the turbulent market. It is enlightening to compare the views that employees of these two organizations have of their leadership, working conditions, products, pricing, and customer service.
A study by Comparably.com provides organizations, job seekers, and customers a perspective on the culture at companies. A comparison between Autozone and NAPA provided some interesting findings. NAPA has reported that it will have 50,000 employees and 4,487 retail outlets in 2020. Autozone reported a staff complement of 90,000 employees and 6,001 retail outlets in 2020.
In 2020, NAPA reported annual revenue of $16.54 billion and a gross profit of $5.65 billion (34.1% GP), whereas Autozone reported a yearly income of $12.6 billion and a gross profit of $6.76 billion (53.7% GP).
In the survey conducted online by Comparably.com, 360 employees from Autozone participated, and 4,121 total ratings were received. Only 48 employees from NAPA participated, and 620 total ratings were obtained. The low participation rate of NAPA employees and customers still yield statistically significant results.
In scoring the Product Quality, Pricing, and Customer Service respondents for Autozone scored at 3.5, 3.5, and 3.6 out of five, respectively. Respondents for NAPA scored them at 1.8, 2.0, and 2.1 out of five, respectively. The Net Promoter Score (NPS) is calculated by subtracting the number of detractors from the number of promotors in the survey.
The NPS for Autozone was 14% (48% pro – 34% con), and for NAPA, the NPS was – 42% (27% pro – 69% con). An assessment was also performed on how the CEO ranks overall working culture, gender diversity, race diversity, perks and benefits, and professional development.
Although the NAPA employees rated their perks and benefits at a 65% satisfaction score versus the 60% Autozone employees, Autozone was significantly better in all other aspects and achieved a CEO score of 69% versus the 58% for the NAPA CEO. The employee and customer experience are much more positive at Autozone than at NAPA, despite providing better benefits.
These results say a lot about how a company treats its customers. Creating an inclusive and worker-friendly environment where employees are developed to their full potential will benefit the customers. The parts retail business is about building trust with your customers where quality, price, and service are expected.
A review of other customer forums online bears out this balanced view of the Comparably.com survey. Both organizations have promoters and detractors, but on balance, Autozone seems to be coming out on top, underscored by the divergence in gross profit percentages noted earlier.
Profit is the final applause that an organization can claim for treating its customers well, and it is apparent that Autozone is well ahead of NAPA in all respects.
How To Find The Best Auto Parts and Service
People manage automotive parts stores. Some stores have poor management and resultantly poor customer service and ratings. In the ultra-competitive parts market, the poorly managed parts stores are the endangered species. The important thing is to do your homework before going to the parts stores.
Prepare the list of parts you need, recording your vehicle information and as much detail as possible. Autozone and NAPA both offer excellent websites that will assist you in defining the part number details, pricing, and availability. Check out the other online platforms also and compile a parts basket noting part make and price.
Visit your nearest Autozone or NAPA and discuss your needs face to face. You will not have this advantage with online platforms like Amazon.com, but consulting with the parts sales staff is essential. Ensure that you can return parts and that a warranty covers the parts.
Please speak to the local automotive repair workshops in your area and ask them for their opinion on the Autozone and NAPA stores. Build a relationship with your local parts store and let them know that you research parts pricing, quality, and service. Participate in their customer feedback reviews and give them constructive feedback.
Autozone and NAPA are competing in a highly contested and very lucrative market segment. Surveys conducted amongst the employees and customers of these two organizations indicate that Autozone has the edge over NAPA.
Both organizations have extensive retail networks, excellent websites, and excellent parts purchasing and distribution capabilities. You may be well served at either of these companies, but you have to arm yourself with knowledge beforehand. Do not use price as your sole criteria.
Select parts from good supplier brands from a store with parts return policy and warranty. The competition is too fierce that you should accept poor service and quality. Network with other DIY enthusiasts or repair workshops and get their advice. Competition ensures that customers get the best value for money and excellent service, and competition is fierce.
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John Cunningham is an Automotive Technician and writer on Rustyautos.com. He’s been a mechanic for over twenty-five years and has worked for GM, Volvo, Volkswagen, Land Rover, and Jaguar dealerships.
John uses his know-how and experience to write fluff-free articles that help fellow gearheads with all aspects of vehicle ownership, including maintenance, repair, and troubleshooting.