After two months of growth, the SEMA Performance Parts and Accessories Demand Index (PADI) dropped 13 points in March, decreasing from 43 in February to 30 this month. For now, 8% of adult American drivers indicated that they had plans to purchase specialty-equipment products sometime within the next three months.
However, a dramatic jump in wheel, tire and/or suspension purchase plans by 18–24-year-old consumers helped to keep the SEMA PADI from a further decline.
In February, 8% (index = 30) of U.S. drivers said they plan to purchase specialty equipment in the next three months. However, 22% of 18–24-year-old consumers plan on buying wheels, tires, and/or suspension components, a jump from last month.
Overall, about 6% of consumers said that they were likely to purchase wheels, tires and suspension components, about the same level as last month, but a drop from the 8% who made similar plans this time last year. About 5% said that they were likely to purchase racing and performance products this month, a 2% drop from February.
The biggest drop came from those planning accessory and appearance upgrades: 3% this month compared to 5% in February, and 6% this time last year.
Over the last three months, on average, midsize cars (22%) were the most common target vehicles for enhancement or modification, followed by fullsize cars (17%), pickups (16%) and compact cars (12%). A list of the top-20 midsize cars is listed below. This time last year, pickups (22%), midsize cars (19%), large SUVs (14%) and fullsize cars (13%) were the most common targets for modification.
Over the last three months, on average, car dealerships (24%, 21% in 2008) were the most popular purchase destinations among those planning to enhance their vehicles, followed by the Internet (17%, 9% in 2008), chain auto parts stores (17%, 15% in 2008) and performance, speed or specialty installation shops (13%, 12% in 2008).
When aftermarket buyers were asked what form their vehicle would take after customization, this month the most common answer was “general personalization” (38%), followed by “street performance” (24%) and “off-road” (12%). — SEMA Research & Information Center