Forecasting the demand of specialty-equipment parts and accessories provides an invaluable tool for strategic market planners and helps answer one ongoing question: How will industry sales do in the coming months? To help answer this question, SEMA commissioned the market-research firm TechnoMetrica to survey consumers in order to gauge their specialty-equipment purchase intentions over the next three months. Their nationally representative sample of 1,000 consumers-which represents approximately 114 million U.S. households-showed a drop in the number of consumers planning on purchasing specialty equipment over the next three months.
In May 2007, 21% of adult American drivers (or approximately 21 million households) indicated that they had plans to purchase specialty-equipment, a 4% increase from April. By product, wheels, tires and suspension components were the most popular specialty-equipment products consumers were likely to purchase (16% or 16 million households), followed by specialty accessories and appearance products (9% or 9 million households) and racing and performance products (8% or 8 million households).
It is interesting to note that as the age of drivers gets higher, the plans to purchase industry products goes down. Over a third of the 18–24 group intends to modify their vehicle, while only 13% of drivers 65 and older plan to do so. The pattern holds true even as we look at the three major segments of products that make up the industry. As you look at the table above, notice that the percentage of consumers planning to make a purchase has risen in some cases (as indicated by the +/- in parenthesis).
The graphs above and below show three-month moving averages of the types of vehicles marked for accessorization and the preferred distribution channels for purchase of those surveyed. For example, the top bar in each bar cluster represents the average over the last three months whereas the bottom bar represents the average over the first three months of 2007.
Mid-sized vehicles were the most common target vehicles for enhancement or modification (19%), followed by compact cars (18%) and trucks (16%). However, the current three-month moving average of each of these is 22%, 14% and 17%, respectively. We see differences in this month's percentages compared to the current three-month moving average for preferred distribution channels as well. This month, car dealerships were the most popular purchase destination among those planning to enhance their vehicles (31%), while chain auto-parts stores captured second place (25%) and independent parts stores held third (13%), but the current three-month moving averages are 25%, 27% and 16%, respectively.
Source: SEMA Research & Information Center