Market Snapshot

Consumer Forecast: Spending in 2009

Enthusiast spending is forecast to shift in 2009, according to preliminary results from a recent SEMA survey.

To arm the industry with timely consumer data, SEMA is launching a series of enthusiast polls designed to illustrate the true pulse of the market. The initial study is a consumer forecast that engages those in the hobby about their vision for 2009. From spending habits to opinions for manufacturers, thousands of enthusiasts will be contacted to submit their impressions about the upcoming year.

One element of the study that is becoming clear is the attitude towards spending. While the survey continues to reach additional enthusiasts, these introductory findings reveal valuable information for members of the specialty-equipment industry to consider.

For example, survey takers have been asked about the amount of money they spent on automotive parts and accessories throughout 2008. They are then asked to estimate the amount they intend to spend in the coming 12 months. Some of the early results suggest that the conditions of the current economy are hitting demographic groups differently.

On average, the amount enthusiasts say they expected to spend in 2009 ($2,673/person) was lower than the previous year: respondents claimed to spend $3,224 in 2008. This difference equates to a drop of roughly 17%. When examining the data in a stratified series however, the outcome looks much different.

Those who spent the most on parts and accessories in 2008 are more likely to feel the cash and credit pinch, while the more conservative spenders are optimistic. This distinction is extremely important as the majority of consumers fall within the lower- to middle-spending groups, meaning that the health of the overall industry looks promising.

While demand for extensive and expensive projects might be less common this year, the budget-minded folks remain steadfast in their dedication. Moreover, the most numerous consumers estimate spending more in 2009 than they did in 2008.

Additional market research into this study will be available in the coming weeks. 

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