By Ashley Reyes
The year 2020 was a roller coaster, with COVID-19 and the response to it creating an unprecedented and unpredictable disruption throughout the U.S. economy. Still, the specialty-equipment industry showed resilience with industry retail sales climbing from $46.2 billion to new high of $47.89 billion in the United States, according to the new ”2021 SEMA Market Report.”
The report provides an overview on the state of the U.S. specialty-equipment market and examines how consumers and businesses adapted to the pandemic, along with how much was spent, and where, on specialty-automotive parts and accessories in 2020.
While the industry was certainly affected by the pandemic, some businesses were spared from full lockdowns as auto parts were considered an essential business in some areas. Even amid the disruption of the pandemic, many of the industry’s companies reported record sales in 2020 as enthusiasts spent money on their cars instead of other pursuits that were unavailable during the lockdown. Forty-eight percent of enthusiasts did more online shopping for parts in 2020 than in 2019, and 40% of enthusiasts spent more time working on their vehicle.
Filled with data on market sizing by parts category and vehicle segment, purchasing channels, and types of consumer, the new report contains key findings such as:
- Forty percent of enthusiast consumers modify their vehicle to stand out vs. 28% of non-enthusiasts.
- Sixty percent of specialty-equipment consumers are under the age of 40. Young drivers continue to be an important and engaged part of the industry and often buy more involved performance parts or accessories and make heavier modifications to their vehicles.
- Forty-three percent of accessorizors turn to search engines and review websites when looking for parts information, while 41% look to manufacturer’s websites and 36% to retail websites.
- Just over 50% of dollars spent in 2020 went through online channels. However, even with social-distancing measures in place, many consumers still preferred brick-and-mortar retailers for their aftermarket parts purchases.
- Pickups remained the biggest vehicle segment for the specialty-equipment market, accounting for 28% of all dollars spent, followed by CUVs at 16%.
For more data on the size and scope of opportunity available in the automotive specialty-equipment market, download the “2021 SEMA Market Report” for free today at www.sema.org/research.
Annual Retail Sales of Automotive Specialty-Equipment Products (in billions)