CHICAGO, June 26, 2023 – Replacement tires with a rim diameter of under 18 inches account for the majority of retail sales in the U.S., but larger rim-diameter tires are delivering growth in the challenged market. Unit sales of replacement passenger-car and light-truck tires with rim diameters of 18 inches or larger grew 10% in February 2023, year over year, according to Circana, formerly IRI and The NPD Group.
“The dynamics of the auto market, the time cars spend on the road, and the ways in which drivers maintain them have shifted,” said Nathan Shipley, automotive industry analyst for Circana. “Larger rim diameters have become more popular in newer cars, and the higher income consumers who are more likely to buy newer cars are currently spending on car care and maintenance.”
Replacement Tire Retail Sales by Diameter
Passenger Car/Light Truck Unit Sales, 3-Year February Trend
The 17- to 17.5-inch diameter group remains the biggest sellers, with 30% of retail sales, but those sales have leveled off this year. Sales of replacement tires with 18- to 18.5-inch rims have grown consistently, year over year, and now account for 20% of all unit-sales volume.
The growth in larger rim sizes varies by region. Five of the top ten DMAs for 18-inch-and-larger diameter tire share are located in Texas. However, the Saint Louis DMA, which under-indexes for this rim diameter, is the fastest growing out of all tracked markets.
“While the retail replacement tire market appears challenged at the macro level, potential for growth exists,” Shipley said. “Digging deeper to understand demand related to particular products, the behavior of targeted consumer groups, and saturation levels at a regional level can reveal untapped opportunity.”