Market Snapshot

Market Report—Increased Gas Prices Fuel Compact-Performance Comeback

By SEMA Editors

 2014 SEMA Annual Market Report
The 2014 SEMA Annual Market Report provides insight on the compact performance, street performance, light-truck, off-road, restyling, restoration, street rod and custom and racing niches.

While the current sales are far from the boom of the late ’90s and early 2000s, the compact-performance segment continues to show a slow climb of consistent growth over the past few years. The main factors supporting the growth are an increase in small-car sales and sustained high gas prices. According to the 2014 SEMA Annual Market Report, the compact-performance niche, which is currently valued at more than $5 billion, continues to offer an expanding opportunity for specialty-equipment companies.

In the compact-performance segment, accessory and appearance sales are a main driver for the market, comprising 46.5% of the total share. Performance products come in second with 32.6% in sales, followed by wheels, tires and suspension accessories, making up 20.9% of the total market.

This information and more is available through the recently released 2014 SEMA Annual Market Report. Members: Download a free copy of the 2014 SEMA Annual Market Report, which provides detailed insight on the compact-performance, street-performance, light-truck, off-road, restyling, restoration, street rod and custom, and racing niches.

Taking a closer look at the behavior of consumers interested in compact-performance helps determine where and how they learn about specialty-equipment products and gather product and styling ideas for their vehicles. The two main sources where compact-performance enthusiasts gather product information and styling concepts are the Internet, capturing 71.4% of the enthusiasts, and car and truck shows, which is 66.1% of enthusiasts. This combination reveals a lifestyle trend that has been constant in the market—the consumers use technology, such as the Internet and social media, together with interaction at public events to formulate the ideas on how to customize their vehicles.

“The trend of using the Internet’s search functions, forums and social media outlets, along with the peer-to-peer interaction of public car shows, is something that has remained consistent in compact-performance since its inception,” stated Gavin Knapp, SEMA senior market research manager. “It’s an intriguing consistency, especially when compared to other niches, such as light-truck, midsize and fullsize vehicles, where consumers are less likely to make their vehicle a focal point of their social scene.”

The SEMA Annual Market Report is conducted yearly to help SEMA-member companies understand the industry and make informed business decisions. SEMA research reports are available to SEMA members at no cost, and to nonmembers at a nominal fee. SEMA research reports are listed and can be accessed at