The 2011 SEMA Pickup Truck Report provides a comprehensive look at the market. It includes sales data and consumer purchase trends on 15 model pickups covering 2001–2011 model years and more than three dozen specialty- equipment accessories. The report also compares the midsize truck market to the fullsize truck market.
The report included data collected from a survey of pickup-truck owners, as well as vehicles sales data and specialty-equipment market numbers.
The light truck market as a whole includes pickup trucks, sport utility vehicles (SUVs), crossover utility vehicles (CUVs) vans and even commercial chassis. When referring to this market SEMA has traditionally limited the scope to pickup trucks, both midsize and fullsize. However, SUVs have been a popular choice for accessorization. Oftentimes these vehicles, such as Chevrolet Tahoes, Cadillac Escalades and Hummer H2s are classified in the urban market as a result of the particular styling choice of the vehicle. These vehicles can also fall into the restyling or off-road categories as well. Prior to recent months, during which all vehicle segments have experienced a decline, CUVs had been experiencing increased sales compared to the declining sales of pickup trucks and SUVs, due in large part to gas prices.
The light-truck niche continues to represent the largest portion of the specialty equipment market for both manufacturer and retail sales. In particular, pickup trucks have been the backbone of the light truck market for aftermarket parts. Pickups are often lifted or lowered. They are accessorized with big wheels and tonneau covers. And they are used to tow boats, race cars and toy haulers. There are two types of pickup-truck buyers: the mainstream consumers and the enthusiasts. Consumers typically purchase pickups for work or utility purposes. The enthusiasts, however, tend to buy pickups simply because they love trucks. Enthusiasts are more likely to own toys that need to be towed to the deserts, lakes and race tracks, and are most interested in accessorizing their vehicles.
Pickup-truck owners are increasingly aware of performance parts and accessories available for their trucks. In fact, in some cases the truck they select and where they purchase it are determined by the availability of performance parts and accessories. We have seen shifts in the popularity of various products used to modify pickup trucks. Some of these shifts are caused by options built into the truck at the factory; some are caused by changes in consumer lifestyle preferences; some are brought about by new technology; and others are the result of fashion shifts within our culture. The data presented in this report cover more than 10 years and come from a number of sources. The 2006 consumer data represent the responses of 6,314 owners or lessees, and principal drivers of 2005 or 2006 model year pickup trucks. The 2004 data are from 1,714, 2003 or 2004 model year pickup-truck owners.
The performance parts and accessories industry has become increasingly interested in the perceptions and attitudes of pickup truck owners. Foresight Research conducted a study of this group in May and June of 2004. The most recent study prior to this had been conducted in 1999. Some of the information in this report was taken from the 2004 Full Size Pickup Truck Accessory Market & Option Packaging Study. The study included the current owners or lessees and principal drivers of 2003 and 2004 model year, full-size pickup trucks purchased between January 2003 and April 2004. A total of 38,245 households were contacted via telephone, and 1,714 qualified surveys were conducted.
The light truck aftermarket niche is the largest of seven generally acknowledged specialty equipment industry niches. The following table lays out the contribution of each in 2002. The driving force behind light vehicle sales in the U.S. is clearly the light truck segment; in fact, the light trucks have eclipsed the passenger car vehicle market in sales through the twelve months ending in July 2003. The market has been driven by a number of factors. Pickup trucks have been typically associated with rural lifestyles and construction/utility needs. Extra and king cabs, along with improved ride and comforts have provided for a much more suburban vehicle, combined with utility, the pickup truck segment has been appealing. The rise of two new classes of vehicles, the SUV and now the crossover utility vehicle (CUV) are dramatically adding sales to a category that is broadening in appeal.