SEMA eNews Vol. 12, No. 10, March 12, 2009

Enthusiast Update—Where Top Accessory Purchases Are Made

Automotive enthusiasts are most likely to purchase specialty equipment on an Internet retail store website, according to recent enthusiast survey results, but that is not to say that all accessories are purchased online. Alarm systems and window tinting were most often purchased at a custom shop, while the Internet and custom shops nearly tied with respect to stereo equipment (i.e., head units, amps or speakers) purchases.

In February of this year, automotive enthusiasts were surveyed and asked if and where they have purchased automotive accessories. More than 1,200 responses were gathered from a survey targeted at automotive magazine subscribers and automotive website/forum visitors. Late last year, this population of enthusiasts was polled via SEMA’s annual Automotive Lifestyles Survey, where the top 11 accessory purchases and top retail channels for purchase were accessed.

During the more recent survey given last month, enthusiasts were given a choice among the top retail channels and asked where they purchased, if any, the accessories listed in the table below.


Of the retail channel categories listed above, Internet retail websites were most popular
among enthusiasts that purchased specialty equipment over the last year.

In most cases, Internet retail websites were the top choice for these enthusiasts to purchase select accessories. Some items, such as window tinting and alarm systems, usually require an expert installer, so custom shops were preferred. Highlighted figures in gray and orange above show the number-one product, from the top 11 list above, purchased in each retail channel category.

Custom gauges were the top accessory purchased via catalog mail order as well as Internet retail websites, but more enthusiasts chose the Internet.

One thing to note too: Several other retail channels are preferred by enthusiasts, such as brick-and-mortar retail outlets, car shows and magazine mail order. The data above only gives a snapshot of the top retail channels and top accessory purchases—often of interest to SEMA members looking to target as many enthusiasts for the marketing dollar. — SEMA Research & Information Center

For more original SEMA market research, visit www.sema.org/research.

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