SEMA Market Research: A New Angle

SEMA News—June 2012

CHRIS KERSTING

SEMA Market Research: A New Angle

  Chris Kersting-SEMA President and CEO, Automotive Aftermarket Research, Automotive Accessories Research 
   
Last year about this time, we noted that SEMA was ramping up resources dedicated to providing members with best-in-class research. We beefed up personnel, we increased the budget, and we looked for ways to take full advantage of outside resources.

We made those moves because we felt that SEMA could—and should—become foremost among those who supply auto industry research.

Part of our process was to solicit feedback about prior studies, and take that into consideration to evolve our methodology and expand the scope of our research. We received some helpful input. For example, we often heard from members who wanted to know more about the non-enthusiast consumer, so that is an area where we have put some additional focus. The soon-to-be-released Consumer Segmentation Report will be a SEMA first in expanding the scope of SEMA research reports.

The study was conducted by interviewing some 3,000 consumers who have spent at least $100 on specialty products in the last year. These consumers—including some enthusiasts, but also general-market car owners—will be profiled according to their attitudes, media consumption and other revealing attributes.

The Consumer Segmentation Report represents a considerable effort, but a worthy one. Coupled with solid information from the annual SEMA Market Report, our members will have better data baselines to identify trends and plan how best to capture more sales among both enthusiasts and non-enthusiasts.

There are other changes we’ve made in the past year. Especially with regard to our Annual Market Report, we’ve gone back and looked at our industry reporting as it was in the past, to study what worked and what should be adjusted. In cases where the segment definitions are unclear or outdated, we made changes to the methodology. As in the past, the report provides the industry with an overview of the state of the specialty equipment market, and documents sales trends within specialty equipment segments and niches. But this year’s report also includes relevant information not previously included, like vehicle sales trends, consumer purchase patterns and data on where consumers are looking to find information about our industry’s products.

All of our reports are free to SEMA members, including our monthly financial benchmarking studies and SEMA Consumer Demand Index for Performance Products and Accessories. If your company is not taking advantage of these valuable reports, you may be losing ground to your competitors who do—or simply missing new sales you could otherwise capture.

SEMA’s market research products require a good deal of input from SEMA-member companies. I’d like to thank those member companies who have made it a priority to complete SEMA’s surveys and to otherwise participate in our information-gathering activities. I would also like to encourage those members who do not participate to do so in the future. Only by quality input can we improve the reports we then provide to our members.

Delivering world-class research to all our member companies is a tall order, especially considering all the different niches and specialized segments we serve. There is more to be done to achieve such stature, but we’ve made a good start.

—Chris Kersting, SEMA President and CEO