Market Snapshot


The surging do-it-yourself trend resulted in a 21% increase in the number of car-cleaning and care products at the 2007 SEMA Show.

Nearly two-thirds (62%) of U.S. consumers are washing their own car to save money—or having someone in their household do it—and 33% are doing the detailing themselves, according to a recent survey commissioned by 3M Car Care.

Research from SEMA coincides with 3M’s survey findings. There were 21% more new car-cleaning and care products at the 2007 SEMA Show than the year prior, showing that this do-it-yourself trend is growing in popularity. Other findings from 3M’s survey:

  • 57% of car owners are tackling other repair jobs that include repairing or replacing windshield wipers or headlights
  • 17% using fuel additives to improve fuel efficiency
  • 16% using at-home tune-up kits instead of paying for tune-ups
  • 11% making repairs to their car's exterior

Commodity price increases are causing lifestyles to change. The price of food was up 6% for the first quarter of 2008. In only three months, food has surpassed the average total increase per year for goods and services. This is causing Americans to feel the strain to perform basic maintenance on their own vehicles.

This “reconnect” that the average consumer is having with their vehicle could be an opportunity to advertise personalization. According to Southern California AAA, Southern Californians drive on average 300 million miles daily. This is a lot of time spent in the car, so it is no wonder why people have a drive to customize their vehicles according to their tastes. This is probably a reason why the market segment for custom accessories and appearance modifications is generally the largest compared with racing/performance or wheels/tires/suspension. SEMA research shows that the custom accessory and appearance market segment is worth $21.4 billion, according to 2006 figures. This accounted for 57.5% of the specialty-equipment retail sales in 2006.

More time spent working on a vehicle can lead to consumers and enthusiasts thinking about how they want their vehicle to feel. Modern amenities attract customers who want to be comfortable in their vehicles. For example, 192% more GPS and 180% more cell phone accessory products were introduced in the New Products Showcase during the 2007 SEMA Show than the year prior. This could indicate that mass consumers are accounting for more specialty-equipment purchases.

Check out the original SEMA research reports and information located at