Forecasting the demand of specialty-equipment parts and accessories provides an invaluable tool for strategic market planners and helps answer one ongoing question: How will industry sales do in the coming months? To help answer this question, SEMA commissioned the market-research firm TechnoMetrica to survey consumers every month in order to gauge their specialty-equipment purchase intentions over the next three months. In July, TechnoMetrica's nationally representative sample of 1,004 consumers—which represents approximately 114 million U.S. households—showed a slight increase in the number of consumers planning on purchasing specialty equipment over the next three months.
In July 2007, 23% of adult American drivers (or approximately 24 million households) indicated that they had plans to purchase specialty equipment, a 1% increase from June. By product, wheels, tires and suspension components were the most popular aftermarket products consumers were likely to purchase (18% or 18 million households), followed by racing and performance products (10% or 10 million households) and specialty accessories/appearance products (8% or 8 million households).
It is interesting to note that as the age of drivers gets higher, the plans to purchase industry products goes down. Over half (55%) of the 18–24 group intends to modify their vehicle, while only 13% of drivers 65 and older plan to do so. The pattern holds true even as we look at the three major segments of products that make up the industry. As you look at the table below, notice that the percentage of consumers planning to make a purchase has risen in some cases (as indicated by the +/- in parenthesis).
The graph below shows three-month moving averages of the types of vehicles marked for accessorization. For example, the last data plot in the graph represents the average over the last three months whereas the first data plot represents the average over the first three months of 2007. Over the last three months, on average, midsize vehicles were the most common target vehicles for enhancement or modification (19%), followed by compact cars (18%), pickups (17%) and fullsize cars (12%). The fact that pickups come in a close third to midsize and compact cars shows that consumers are still passionate and anticipate customizing their vehicles regardless of fuel prices.
The graph below shows three-month moving averages of the preferred distribution channels for specialty-equipment purchases of those surveyed. Over the last three months, on average, car dealerships and chain auto-parts stores were the top choice for consumers to purchase specialty equipment among those planning to enhance their vehicles (30% and 20%, respectively), while independent parts stores held the third place position (15%).
Source: SEMA Research & Information Center