The slow economic recovery and the federal government's new Compliance, Safety, Accountability enforcement program will help drive demand for aftermarket pads and shoes for Class 4-8 trucks, according to a new study by Frost & Sullivan, while increasing demand for disk brakes could prove a challenge to independent service providers.

The study, Strategic Analysis of the North American Class 4-8 Commercial Vehicle Brake Pads and Shoes Aftermarket, analyzes key market drivers and restraints, revenue shares product type, and revenues through each distribution channel for the years 2012-2018.

Among the report's findings are that the CV brake pads and shoes aftermarket is expected to grow steadily through 2018. Pricing, which is expected to increase, will be driven by product differentiation and growth in the pneumatic disc brake market segment, the report says.

The study projects manufacturer-level unit shipment growth of approximately 3% annually over the 2013-2019 period, and total manufacturer-level revenue growth of approximately 4.5%.

"The biggest market driver is the continuation of a slow economic recovery that increases demand for commercial vehicle usage and results in more miles driven in them," explains Stephen Spivey, program leader for Frost & Sullivan's North America Automotive & Transportation research. "Increasing average miles driven means these vehicles will require more frequent brakes service in the future."

CSA regulations are also a key driver of new product development, Spivey says. "Market participants will deliver new products promoting differentiated features such as decreased stopping distance, extended pad life and reduced brake fade."

The main restraints to the market, he says, are rising fuel prices and the threat of a double-dip recession that will depress demand for commercial vehicle usage and result in fewer brake jobs for the aftermarket.

The study also finds that a growing migration to disc brakes in the heavier weight classes (Class 7-8) will make its way into the aftermarket, increasing demand for pneumatic disc pads. This trend will drive a higher share of these vehicles to the OES channel, Spivey predicts.

"There is growing concern that the independent aftermarket lacks skilled technicians to work on newer vehicles, which could emerge as a threat to distributors and service providers," Spivey says.

"Concerns over service training and quality in the independent aftermarket will support growth for OES in the newer vehicles, but this will be offset by their loss of brakes work on older ones."