We wrote this article to shed light on some interesting auto detailing industry trends we’ve uncovered in our research. We hope this helps detailers and detailing business owners get a full picture of the industry from a bird’s-eye view. No matter if you’re new to the world of detailing or if you’ve been in the auto detailing industry for years, it’s important to keep your finger on the pulse of what’s happening. When you have a sense of where the industry is going and have awareness of the trends, you will be able to make better business decisions.
According to IBISWorld, the United States car wash and auto detailing industry:
- is served by 66,708 businesses
- produced $12 billion in revenue in 2019
- employed 224,874 people in 2019
- has had a 4% annual growth rate over the last 5 years
Consumer Trends in Detailing
Knowing more about consumers is important when considering auto detailing industry trends, because it can help you determine the demand for your services. If you know what your customers want and how their preferences change, you can adjust your offerings to better solve their pain points.
Consumer Trend #1: Cars are lasting longer and need more care.
The statistics show that Americans are keeping their cars longer and new car sales have been stagnant or declining over the past few years. According to a study by IHS Markit, the average car on the road in the U.S. comes in at a record-high 11.8 years old. To help put that into perspective, the average age of cars on the road 20 years ago was only 9.6 years. This means that cars today are being driven more than 20% longer.
It’s clear that consumers are prioritizing longevity for their vehicles over wanting new cars. Choosing to get regular reconditioning and detailing services may be a way that consumers decide to take good care of their cars. A car that’s well taken care of is more likely to last.
Consumer Trend #2: More people want professional car washes and details.
According to a study by the International Carwash Association, consumers increasingly prefer to get their cars washed professionally versus doing it at home. In fact, more than 2 billion cars are washed each year in North America. In the US, the percentage of drivers that report most frequently getting professional car washes increased from 47% in 1994 to 72% in 2014.
Consumer Trend #3: People will pay more for sustainable services.
Many recent consumer studies have shown that people are increasingly interested in buying from brands and companies whose mission and values align with their own. One value that intersects with the car wash and detailing business is water and sustainability. According to a survey conducted by CGS, 35% of consumers are willing to pay considerably more for eco-friendly services.
Business Trends in Detailing
Types of Businesses
Most car wash locations in the US are small to medium-sized independent companies. (ICA)
Number and Concentration of Businesses
The US state with the highest concentration of detailing businesses (compared to its population) is Delaware. The top 5 US cities with the highest concentration of detailing businesses are East Honolulu, Hawaii; Knik-Fairview, Alaska; Glendale, Arizona; Waipahu, Hawaii; and Silver Spring, Maryland.
South Dakota has the lowest concentration of detailing businesses in the US. The bottom 5 cities with the lowest concentration of detailing business are Roswell, New Mexico; Rock Springs, Wyoming; Grand Forks, North Dakota; Juneau, Alaska; and Tuscaloosa, Alabama.
For more information on the number of detailing businesses in the US, you can read our article: “A Glimpse at Car Detailing Businesses from around the country”.
Sales of chemicals into the car wash market reach almost $1B annually in North America. (ICA)
The automotive industry as a whole is going through digitalization and large increases in technology adoption. We see adoption from self-driving cars, to marketplace apps, to new business software. On-demand mobile detailing apps for consumers are on the rise, as are mobile business apps for business owners.
Pricing Trends in Detailing
Car detailing prices can range widely. According to data sourced from Yelp and research done by Mobile Tech RX, the average price of detailing services is $160.16 in the US. The average range from all 50 states is $114.59 on the low end to $213.67 on the high end.
The state with the highest average price for detailing is Oregon with an average price at $258. The top 5 cities with the highest average prices for detailing are Portland, Oregon; Wichita, Kansas; Charleston, South Carolina; Sacramento, California; and Austin, Texas.
The state with the lowest average price for detailing is Hawaii. The bottom 5 cities with the lowest average prices for detailing are Memphis, Tennessee; Miami, Florida; Indianapolis, IN; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; and Los Angeles, California.
For more information about auto detailing industry trends in terms of pricing around the country, read our article: “Detailing Prices from around the country”.
Salary Trends in Detailing
According to data sourced from Indeed and research done by Mobile Tech RX, we found that American car detailers make $27,735 per year on average.
Maryland had the highest average hourly wage for car detailers at $15.92 per hour. As a car detailer in Maryland, it’s possible to earn up to $95,275 per year.
Mississippi had the lowest average hourly wage for car detailers at $9.52 per hour. As a car detailer in Mississippi, it’s possible to earn up to $34,075 per year.
For more information about salary trends around the country, read our article: “Detailing Industry Salaries Around the Country”.