Business Tools

SEMA Industry Perspectives: Independent Retailers Are Most Common Sales Channel for Specialty Automotive Parts

By Ashley Reyes

Industry Perspectives
The new “SEMA Industry Perspectives” report is the latest resource for SEMA members to gain insight into the industry’s health on a wide range of business metrics.

Independent retailers in the automotive aftermarket remain the most-used sales channel for getting parts to consumers, according to the new “SEMA Industry Perspectives” report—the latest resource for SEMA members to gain insight into the industry’s health on a wide range of business metrics.

While manufacturers and distributors sell into a variety of channels, including direct-to-consumer, more than 80% of manufacturers report that their products sell through independent specialty retailers. While many retailers and installers report selling some of their inventory through online auction sites and marketplaces, these only account for 7% of sales.

More than 70% of smaller manufacturers, with less than $1 million in annual sales, sell directly to consumers, while less than 30% have their parts stocked by dealerships or chain stores.

“The new report is based directly on industry feedback and will help companies understand the state of the specialty-equipment industry and the outlook of other businesses in the industry,” said Gavin Knapp, SEMA director of Market Research. “In addition to providing metrics on the health of the market, this wave of the report also looks at sales trends among key business types and effects of the current regulatory climate.”

Other findings in the report include:

  • More than 70% of businesses (76% of manufacturers, 69% of distributors, and 72% of retailers and installers) expect their sales to grow over the next year.
  • Nearly 50% of manufacturers and distributors expect the industry as a whole to grow in 2020.
  • Only 15% of businesses reported a decline in sales over the past year while roughly 60% reported growth.

Uncertainty about trade policies and regulatory changes is also creating ambiguity heading into 2020.

Manufacturers, retailers and installers estimate the potentially unfavorable changes in America’s legal and regulatory environment, which may represent a key issue for the industry over the next five years.

Manufacturers and distributors are also voicing a concern about the potential for ongoing tariff and trade policy disputes to harm the industry in the near term.

To learn more about current industry perspectives on key issues and trends facing the $44.6 billion aftermarket industry, download the report for free today from SEMA Market Research.