Market Snapshot


In October, the SEMA Performance Parts and Accessories Demand Index (PADI) fell 12 points, or 26%, falling from 48 in September to 36 this month. This latest index value translates to around 10% of adult U.S. drivers (or approximately 10-plus million households) indicating that they have plans to purchase specialty-equipment products sometime within the next three months.

SEMA Performance Parts and Accessories Demand Index (PADI) - SEMA eNews, Vol. 11, No. 44 - Oct 30, 2008

By age, consumers in the 25–44 age range were the only group to hold steady as far as overall specialty-equipment purchase plans from September to October. However, looking closely at individual product segments, the 25–44 age group is slightly more likely to purchase compared to last month. 

SEMA Performance Parts and Accessories Demand Index (PADI) - SEMA eNews, Vol. 11, No. 44 - Oct 30, 2008

Overall, 6% of consumers said that they were likely to purchase wheels, tires and suspension products; 5% said they were likely to purchase racing and performance products; and 5% said that they were likely to purchase accessories and appearance products.

SEMA Performance Parts and Accessories Demand Index (PADI) - SEMA eNews, Vol. 11, No. 44 - Oct 30, 2008The specialty-equipment industry typically experiences seasonal fluctuations in sales, and the anticipated consumer demand illustrated by the July–September SEMA PADI increase demonstrates the seasonality of the industry. Last year, the PADI began to decline in September after the April–August growth period (illustrated in the chart above).

Although the drop in the SEMA PADI may reflect declining demand among consumers in general, automotive enthusiasts, on the other hand, may continue to fuel industry sales. According to the latest Automotive Lifestyles Survey of enthusiasts administered in August and September of this year, enthusiasts on average said that they spent around $2,800 on custom parts and accessories over the last year. The same group of consumers also said that they plan to spend $3,100 on average over the next year.

While the SEMA PADI is derived from a nationally representative sample of around 900 consumers each month (margin of error is +/- 3.3%), the Automotive Lifestyles Survey input is gathered from automotive magazine subscribers and automotive forum visitors. More than 3,000 responses were received. The SEMA PADI therefore tends to refer to general consumers, whereas the Automotive Lifestyle Survey refers to enthusiasts.

By product segment, polish/wax and window tinting were the top appearance and accessory product purchased by enthusiasts over the last year. Exhaust kits and performance air filter replacements were the top racing and performance products, and performance tires and custom wheels were the top wheel, tire and suspension products purchased (illustrated in the tables below).

Results from the latest SEMA PADI show that over the last three months, midsize cars (24%) were, on average, the most common target vehicles for enhancement or modification among consumers in general, followed by fullsize cars (18%), pickups (15%) and compact cars (14%).

Over the last three months, on average, car dealerships (26%) were the most popular purchase destinations among those planning to enhance their vehicles, followed by chain auto parts stores (15%), the Internet (15%) and independent parts stores (11%).

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