The following is a short excerpt from the "2007 Trends and Forecasts Quarterly Update-Q1."
Did your sales grow last year, and was this growth on par with the rest of the specialty-equipment industry? What products are hot sellers, and what are the major obstacles specialty-equipment companies face running their businesses? Although you probably know the answers to these questions as they pertain to your own company, benchmarking how your business performs compared to others in the specialty-equipment industry is another valuable tool to gauge your company's performance. SEMA recently asked its members these questions as part of its annual SEMA-member survey, which tracks industry trends from the perspectives of those entrenched in the specialty-equipment industry.
According to the latest data, 36% of SEMA members indicated that their company's sales grew "moderately more," while 17% said that sales improved "greatly more" in 2006 compared to 2005. And while two out of three SEMA members surveyed indicated that they experienced growth in new customers last year, approximately three-quarters of the respondents said that growth in supplier costs was part of doing business in 2006.
Responses from the SEMA-member survey suggest that operating costs and cash flow seem to hinder businesses the most, followed by the current state of the economy and counterfeit/knock-off products. While each of these obstacles represent several business issues, it's important for business owners and managers to look at these numbers in comparison to their own businesses. This will provide some insight into areas most in need of attention and/or improvement, thus helping overall business growth.
Appearance and vehicle-body accessories top the list of products sold by SEMA members. The accessories and appearance market segment of specialty equipment has grown substantially over the years to reach $6.94 billion at the manufacturer level in 2005. Part of the reason for this growth comes from the fact that automotive customization has grown in popularity among mainstream automobile buyers. Recent SEMA research showed that over the first three months of this year, nearly one out every 10 (9%) consumers surveyed planned to purchase accessory and appearance products. This translates to slightly more than 10 million U.S. households planning to purchase some type of appearance accessory for their cars or trucks.
The light-truck market is the largest market segment of specialty-equipment parts and accessories sold in the United States. In 2005, sales at the retail level reached $11.72. The rise in popularity of pickups, SUVs and CUVs has created growing demand for products to customize these vehicles. Results of the SEMA-member survey showed that nearly one out of four (24%) receive the greatest amount of sales revenue by selling products for this market. These companies, as well as most of the SEMA members surveyed, agreed that 2007 will be a year of growth. Roughly 70% of those surveyed said that they expect at least some positive growth this year.
The "2007 SEMA Trends and Forecasts Quarterly Update-Q1" is filled with valuable statistics showing SEMA-member benchmark data, sales trends for various vehicle segments and more. SEMA members can receive a complimentary copy of this update by downloading it from www.sema.org/research or by contacting Shirley Presecan at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Source: SEMA Research & Information Center