NewYork, 23.04.2018

Light Truck tires outpace 4x4/SUV, Passenger Car segments in units, dollars, and price

GfK POS panel of independent US retailers provides unprecedented views of tire marketplace

The latest data from GfK’s nationwide point-of-sale (POS) panel shows that the Light Truck category is leading a sluggish tire retail market in the US.

Representing nearly 35,000 points of sale nationwide, the data reveal that, in an overall down market, Light Truck tires have performed better than other segments, including Passenger Car (PC) and 4x4/SUV tires. (See Table 1.)

To learn more about GfK’s tire panel data, click here.

Unit volume for Light Truck tires has fallen only 3.1% compared to a year ago, which is roughly half of the overall decline (-5.7%) in the tire retail market. In addition, the value for LT tires is almost at parity YOY (-1.1%), while the total market is off -4.5%.

Table 1. US independent tire channel statistics: 2016 vs. 2017


Tire category




Total US market




Passenger Car








Light Truck





Light Truck tires have achieved this success despite industry-leading price growth of 2%. At $196 per unit, LT tires are now the most expensive by far – almost 50% pricier than the overall average ($135 per unit), and about double the cost of PC tires ($109).

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The GfK panel data also show that, in terms of units, 20-inch rims have posted strong year-over-year growth (+9.9%), while smaller, more traditional sizes have mostly been declining. The largest unit losses came in 15-inch rims (-16.8%), followed by 16-inch (-11%) and 17-inch (-2.9%).

“The Light Truck segment has held its own in a challenging marketplace, recording relatively small losses despite very high costs,” said Neil Portnoy, Managing Director of GfK’s POS Tracking (Tires) team. “To some extent, retailers have been forced to pass on price increases dictated by rubber costs and other factors. At a time when consumers are increasingly price savvy and not always brand loyal, this poses a challenge. To maximize profit in this marketplace, retailers and manufacturers alike need the timely metrics that GfK’s tire panel is delivering.”

GfK has built the first POS (point-of-sale) tracking panel for the US tire retail marketplace, which represents 62% of all tire sales nationwide. The GfK data allows manufacturers and retailers to understand – for the first time – country-wide trends, competitor activities, sale prices, and brand market share, allowing them to make more informed business decisions.

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