Market Snapshot


In general, consumers are feeling less optimistic about purchasing specialty equipment in the coming months, according the October SEMA PADI, but this does not apply to all age groups.

The SEMA Performance Parts and Accessories Demand Index (PADI) fell 12 points, or 26%, going from 48 in September to 36 in October. However, by age, 25–44-year-old consumers were the only group to actually hold steady as far as overall specialty-equipment purchase plans from September to October.

Analysis of J.D. Power and Associates' 2008 Initial Quality Study data reveals that 25–44-year-old consumers are also more likely to purchase import vehicles over domestic. The study also shows that import-vehicle buyers earn a higher median household income, possibly making them more likely to purchase specialty equipment over the next few months.

Consumers planning to purchase import vehicles are also feeling more confident about the economy in general, according to CNW’s report on confidence of import vs. domestic new vehicle intenders. While domestic-vehicle intenders are starting to feel less confident about their economic standing, according to CNW’s October survey, potential import-vehicle buyers are growing more confident, as shown by the chart below.

The 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.

This latest SEMA PADI 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.

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