The specialty-equipment industry took a hit in 2008 as consumers scaled back their purchases—new vehicle sales dropped 35% during the third quarter alone, for example—but depending on the type of consumers analyzed, spending varied significantly. “Mainstream” consumers, those less likely to view automotive customization as a hobby or lifestyle, were often targeted by specialty-equipment companies as they began marketing to the general vehicle-buying public. As consumers, in general, cut back on new-vehicle purchases and subsequent personalization of newly acquired vehicles, much of the specialty-equipment industry suffered.
In 2007, retail sales of specialty automotive products reached $38.11 billion. That's an increase of 3.8 percent from 2006, and up 79.8 percent since 1998 when retail sales hit $21.20 billion. That equates to an average annual growth of nearly 8 percent year-over-year for the past 10 years. For the consumers who purchase the specialty automotive equipment industry's products, the real distinction is that performance parts and accessories make their vehicle more enjoyable. As a result, industry sales have grown at rates that are two and three times what might be expected.
In April, the SEMA PADI decreased, going from 30 in March to 26 this month. This month, 7% of adult American drivers indicated that they had plans to purchase specialty-equipment products sometime within the next 3 months. About 4% of consumers said that they were likely to purchase wheels, tires and suspension components, while 3% said they were likely to purchase racing and performance products and 4% said they were likely to purchase specialty accessories and appearance products.
Vehicle customization has been growing rapidly in China, industry insiders estimate the Chinese specialty-equipment market is at approximately $12.5-$15 Billion USD. With 1.3 Billion in its population, vehicle sales reaching 93% of the U.S. passenger vehicle sales, according to data provided by JD Power & CAAM in January of 2009. SEMA has developed a new list of trade leads available to SEMA members online at www.sema.org/international. The Chinese government has begun to legalize specialty products for use in China. This is an initial list of approved products.
In March, the SEMA PADI decreased from 43 in February to 30 this month. This month, 8% of adult American drivers indicated that they had plans to purchase specialty-equipment products sometime within the next 3 months. About six percent (6%) of consumers said that they were likely to purchase wheels, tires and suspension components, while 5% said they were likely to purchase racing and performance products and 3% said they were likely to purchase accessory and appearance products.
Off‐roaders, toy haulers and skills tradespersons alike have gravitated toward full‐size pickup trucks for years. And owners of full‐size pickups are still spending money on performance parts and accessories for their trucks: owners of the Ford F‐Series, Chevrolet Silverado and Dodge Ram each spent, on average, in excess of $2,300 over the last year, according to the latest SEMA Automotive Lifestyles survey results.
Chevrolet’s Corvette has been a perennial favorite among gearheads for over half a century. From classic models to modern editions, enthusiasts continue to search for the latest high‐performance and restyling products for this iconic sports car.
The overall Swiss market demand for automotive parts, aftermarket products, accessories as well as specialty equipment was valued in 2006 at USD 949 million and is forecast to grow 3-4% over the next two years. In the past few years, U.S. exporters have garnered a small market share, registering USD 45 million in 2006 or 4.8%. Germany, which traditionally has had a strong stronghold in the market, captured the lion’s share with a total exceeding 47% of the market, followed by France with 14% and Japan with 12%.
Australia, a country of 20 million people, is world famous for a citizenry whose love of cars and vehicle customization is on a par with that of the United States, and perhaps more so in some sectors. With more than 14 million vehicles and a population a mere one-tenth the size of the U.S., Australia has one of the highest ownership of vehicles per capita in the world.
Results of the focus panel held in Atlanta at the NOPI Show.
Results of the focus panel held at SpoCom in 2008.
Results of the focus panel held in Englishtown at Old Bridge Township Raceway Park.
Results of the focus panel held at the PRI Show. Jobbers on a panel, as well as the audience, were asked questions regarding the economy and their businesses.
In Japan, there are “Safety Standards”to ensure the safety of vehicles and prevent environmental pollution. Vehicles that do not meet the “Safety Standards”set out under the Road Vehicles Act cannot be driven on public roads.
Results of the focus panel held at PRI. Jobbers were asked about the health of their businesses in 2007 compared to 2006.
A quick survey was administered to SEMA members in July of 2004, and the respondents were asked a series of questions to determine the effects of business cycles on cash flow and other aspects of business. About 82% of the 98 companies surveyed stated that they do experience peaks sales throughout the year. Over half of the companies surveyed have at least two peaks throughout the year. While it is no surprise that 63.3% of total companies surveyed reported summer as their peak sales season, retailers actually rate summer and spring equally in terms of when peak sales occur. Roughly 60% of all the companies surveyed claimed that the difference between “peaks” and “valleys” range anywhere from 0 – 30%.
Retail sales for the Compact Performance niche reached new heights during 2007, peaking at $6.688 billion for the year. This accounted for a 12.21% increase over 2006: the 10th consecutive year since SEMA began documenting the segment separately. Product segment changes continue to support the notion that these enthusiasts are seeking better handling, higher performing vehicles and related modifications as the market matures.
The SEMA Youth Study concerns what a variety of data tells us about the Gen Y band and specialty equipment activity. Gen Y consumers born 1977-1995 represent a market influx of over 70 million consumers; Gen Y has a high minority population of 34% versus the 27% in the general population. Gen Y is an elusive consumer to market to; they communicate through and interact in many dimensions; but 93 percent utilize the Internet for vehicle searches when considering purchasing versus the 62 percent of general population; 1 in 3 Gen Y would consider purchasing a vehicle over the internet86 percent of men and 53 percent of Gen Y Lifestyles respondents have personalized or modified their vehicle, 11 percent of total Gen Y respondents which have spent over $10,000 to do so.