Market Snapshot

Despite Market Downturn, 37% of SEMA Members Report Sales Growth

It’s no secret that specialty-equipment sales declined in 2008 as a result of our economy taking a turn for the worse during the latter half of last year. Despite this market contraction, 37% of SEMA members recently surveyed noted that their company’s sales actually increased in 2008 over 2007.

By market segment, however, this percentage fluctuates quite significantly. Around 54% of companies who say most of their sales go toward the compact-performance niche reported increased sales in 2008, compared to only 23% for those that target the restyling market. When asked about how much sales grew, survey respondents indicated averages between 12%–28% growth over 2007, depending on market niche.

By market niche, SEMA members that target the compact-performance market indicated that 2008 sales were higher than 2007 more often than those that target other market niches.

This year also holds some promise for many surveyed. Around 23%–41% of those surveyed, depending on market niche, said that 2009 will be a better year than 2008. One reason for this growth is the need for continued vehicle personalization by consumers.

"Vehicle 'look' will be very hot. People will be keeping their vehicles longer and will want to put their stamp on whatever they drive, be it bolt-on body panels to stereos, people will want to make the vehicle somehow different from all the others," noted one survey respondent. "Cost of modifications will govern how consumers spend more now than ever," another wrote.

SEMA members can take advantage of the data in the table above in multiple ways, from benchmarking their company’s own sales activity to that of the industry as a whole, to looking at higher-performing niches as potential opportunities for business diversification.

More than 500 survey responses were collected when the survey was administered to SEMA members during the beginning of April. The highest percentage of respondents (37%) indicated that they were manufacturers. How does your business compare to the results presented above? E-mail your response to Ty Michael at — SEMA Research & Information Center