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.
The third quarter of 2008 took quite a beating—gas prices skyrocketed, vehicle sales dropped, consumer confidence tanked—but depending on what type of consumers being considered, things may not be as bad as one may think. Sure, consumers, in general, felt less optimistic during the summer months, but those that are considered “enthusiasts” may have helped keep the industry moving forward. Throughout the pages of this report, several sets of statistics from surveys and industry sources will help to provide an overall snapshot of Q3 2008.
Motorsports of all varieties and the products that support them are acknowledged as the unchallenged cornerstones of the specialty equipment market. Performance manufacturer sales reached $2.43 billion in 2007, up 44% in the last 5 years and up 72% from 1993. Manufacturer sales of performance parts for the light-truck market, for example, have grown a total of 33% since 2001, with a jump of 4.3% between 2006 and 2007. Across the United States, there are 1,010 oval tracks, 776 dirt tracks, 238 paved tracks, 292 dragstrips and 76 road courses. This means that on any given weekend, there are potentially more than 100 racing events taking place across the country.
High fuel prices cut into the budgets of most drivers. As gasoline surpassed $4/gallon, 28% of enthusiasts claimed they would spend less on modifications if prices increased another $.50/gallon. Alternative Fuel Vehicles (AFVs) are more common than people may recognize. Over 11 million AFVs have been produced. They have also held a steady role providing the muscle behind corporate and municipal fleets for the better part of two decades. Depending on application, some AFVs illustrate no discernable decrease in performance in comparison to their petroleum counterparts and in many ways offer benefits.