By Matt Kennedy
It’s no secret that supply-chain disruptions are affecting the automotive sector; new-vehicle production is expected to be 7.7 million units lower in 2021 than 2020, which it tempering the specialty-equipment industry’s optimism regarding its short-term prospects. But on the whole, businesses are maintaining a positive outlook, with more than 80% expecting their sales to be stable or growing over the coming year.
The latest edition of SEMA’s ongoing “State of the Industry” report series offers 70 pages of data on the specialty-equipment industry to help companies understand how the market is performing and evolving. Key findings from the report include:
- Delays in shipping and the ongoing microchip shortage have left automakers unable to keep up with consumer demand for new vehicles, pushing dealer inventories to all-time lows and the average price of a new vehicle to an unprecedented $45,000 in September 2021.
- While some businesses struggled during the beginning of the pandemic last year, especially retailers, most were able to adjust. Manufacturers in particular have done well, reporting an average of 19% sales growth over the past 12 months.
- Sales into the pickup, sports car, SUV and classic vehicle segments continue to be strong, with many businesses once again seeing double-digit sales growth this year.
- Supply-chain disruptions are starting to create some uncertainty. In the spring of 2021, 70% of specialty-equipment manufacturers and 75% of distributors expected their sales to grow over the coming year. However, those percentages have fallen to 58% and 52% respectively.
- The temporary shifts toward online sales that were made necessary by the pandemic are continuing to reverse, with the majority of specialty-equipment parts sales once again flowing through in-person retail channels.
- In the longer term, changes in the new vehicle mix—more CUVs, more electrics, etc.—will require the specialty-equipment industry to plan for and adapt to the evolving vehicle population.
For more info on the state of the U.S. specialty-equipment market, download the SEMA State of the Industry Report—Fall 2021 for free today at www.sema.org/research.