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The 2010 SEMA Show Opinion Leader Report is now available to download. It contains a detailed analysis of data collected at the recent SEMA Show from a special group of social media leaders with a passion for our industry.
Wheels and tires. Despite being a high-ticket item, enthusiasts attending the 2010 SEMA Show were almost unanimous—in fact, 88% chose to make a purchase in this category for their vehicle. As participants in the Opinion Leader program, these enthusiasts gave detailed explanations of what they purchase, where they shop and what they consider before opening their wallets for new accessories.

Rounding out the top five categories of accessories purchased were air and fuel systems (air intakes, fuel intake filters), car care products, exhaust systems and suspensions and chassis accessories. In many instances, the enthusiasts were quite candid about what they look for in accessories and why. One motorsports enthusiast explained his process as follows.

I tend to go by word of mouth. If a company is ‘making waves’ with a part, that’s the one I tend to look at first. Name brands kind of get stuck in a mindset and do things the same way they’ve been done for 20 years. New companies come along and they come at it a completely different way, and it ends up working better. So whoever is ‘making waves,’ that’s the first place I go.

The Opinion Leader Program participants were granted one-day access to the recent Show where they completed a detailed survey, as well as shared their impressions from the Show using various social media sites and their car clubs' affiliations. For SEMA members, this feedback represents a tremendous opportunity because these same enthusiasts use social media to share their passion and purchase decisions with other potential customers. More than 65% of enthusiasts selected Facebook as a frequent site to use. Similarly, 19% of respondents use Twitter to communicate in their social networks. For one classic car enthusiast, the Internet is a must-have tool to make purchase decisions.

Once I figure out what I need, I’ll look through the magazines and go online. I talk to people I know that may either have the part or may have experience with the part, and go to online forums and talk to people. I also do a fair amount of personal contact around the region and then around the country.

Fifty-six Opinion Leaders participated in one of six focus groups: Truck/SUV; Street Performance and Sport Compacts; Street Rod and Hot Rod, Classic Car and Restoration; Motorsports; and Powersports. In total, more than 400 consumer Opinion Leaders were allowed to attend the 2010 SEMA Show on Friday, November 5.

Opinion Leaders were encouraged to look through the New Products Showcase, as well as the other Show sections, and post Twitter and Facebook messages about the interesting things they saw while at the Show. They were encouraged to take those observations back to their friends, car clubs and message-board groups to expand the word-of-mouth exposure for SEMA Show exhibitors.

Opinion Leader applications provided information, such as vehicles owned and accessorized; frequently visited websites; and demographics for auto enthusiasts across the country.

An analysis of the focus groups along with data collected from the applications can be found in the 2010 SEMA Show Opinion Leader Report. This report is now available for download here. It is free of charge for all SEMA members. For questions regarding the report or the Opinion Leader Program, contact Megan McKernan at meganm@sema.org.