A World of Opportunities for Now and the Future

SEMA News—November 2019

A World of Opportunities for Now and the Future

Chris Kersting

Chris Kersting

Here we are on the threshold of another outstanding SEMA Show—this year’s mind-blowing collection of innovative parts and accessories displayed on the most unique assemblage of one-off cars and trucks anywhere in the world. It’s a setting where the past inspires, the present fascinates and future trends materialize on the horizon. The industry is here for all opportunities, both current and future, and the SEMA Show is set to deliver.

The Show’s vehicle registration data provides a distinct view of the current industry mainstream, plus a glimpse at emerging trends. The truck and off-road side of the industry continues to lead, but there are changes. Mall crawlers are receding, while there is marked growth in the off-road side of the market. As expected, new Jeep models are continuing to drive investment in real off-roaders, but you’ll find the UTV phenomenon is a growing factor in bringing new products to the Show, and lifted trucks are especially visible when we look at the feature vehicle registration data. You’ll also find more of the expedition-type 4x4s that reflect the overlanding trend, and not just in our new Overland Experience in the Performance Pavilion. You’ll see many more around the Show if our feature vehicle data is any indication.

Also notably spiking upward this year are vehicles in the sport-compact category. Coupled with data from the SEMA-commissioned “Young Accessorizers” market study, astute observers will notice that there’s an important youth market developing right under the industry’s nose. And it’s a market with a built-in future. The study found that while only 27% of young accessorizers get their licenses when they are 16, they become likely to get a license, modify their vehicles, and spend more money on parts as they age into their 20s. By age 24, nearly 83% have licenses and make large contributions toward the $7.3 billion that these youthful enthusiasts spend on their cars each year. A full 51% of the men responding envision themselves customizing in the future, and 44% of the women as well.

As in the past, sport compacts are the vehicles of choice for this demographic, but “accessorizing” to this group can also mean making their vehicles better-connected, more efficient and safer. Learn more about the customizing preferences of this younger generation by downloading the “SEMA Young Accessorizers Report”—available now at www.sema.org/
market-research.

The SEMA Show this year also features glimpses of other future opportunities for those who know where to look. The electric-vehicle market is turning a corner, moving away from the underpowered, odd bodies of the past to new offerings of stunningly capable cars from makers in Europe, Asia and America. We see electric-vehicle motorsports afoot, along with growth in businesses retrofitting cool older cars with electric propulsion systems. The new SEMA Electrified exhibit, located at the entrance of Upper South Hall, highlights our industry’s uptake of this developing performance niche, featuring a land-speed car, electrified customs and a new crate motor concept that could be a game changer as time goes on.

The incredible evolving SEMA Show demonstrates one thing for certain: No matter the era, our enthusiast-based industry is always arriving with something new. The data trail generated by the SEMA Show provides clues as to our automotive future, and there are also the many opportunities of the present. With that in mind, I hope you’ll use the Show to see all opportunities—those available now and in the future—and maximize your success in the years ahead.

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