By Kyle Cheng
From May 20–29, SEMA conducted a survey of more than 1,800 professionals within the specialty-equipment industry. Despite the disruptions over the past few months, manufacturers, distributors and retailers continue to maintain a positive outlook on the situation, and expect business to pick up now that restrictions are easing.
While the beginning of April saw 17% of manufacturers, distributors and retailers reporting “mostly business as usual,” that jumped to more than 30% by the end of May. Nearly 90% currently say they are “mostly business as usual” or “impacted short-term, but will get through it.”
Our industry utilizes a number of different channels to sell products. Retailers predominantly sell in-store, while manufacturers and distributors sell mostly through wholesale. Many manufacturers also use their company website for direct sales.
Over the last few months, sales across the industry have been impacted. Because of stay-in-place restrictions, in-person transactions were limited. Consequently, our industry has seen some uptick in online sales. As restrictions ease, however, customers are likely return to shopping in-store and in-person.
Overall, the industry is fairly optimistic about sales for the rest of the year. More than half of all manufacturers, distributors and retailers think their Q4 sales will be better or at least the same as last year.
Many companies expect to recover quickly and finish the year strong. By the end of 2020, 45% of manufacturers, 39% of distributors and 42% of retailers expect their sales to end up being better than or similar to their 2019 sales.