Auto Service World
News   February 5, 2020   by Allan Janssen

Accessorizing sales

Retailers report stable or growing sales of accessories, dispelling reports of a “retailpocalypse.”


By Allan Janssen

Crossover utility vehicles – the fastest-selling vehicle segment in North America – may represent a vast untapped market for accessorization, according to a pair of reports from the Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA).

The reports paint a rosy picture of the $44.6 billion accessories market, suggesting that as the vehicle landscape changes, the market for parts to modify those vehicles is growing rapidly.

The association’s “Accessory Opportunity Report” reveals the top cars and trucks that consumers are choosing to accessorize, and outlines emerging segments within the industry.

“The new SEMA report represents the first time we’ve been able to quantify the best opportunities for vehicle customization,” said Gavin Knapp, SEMA’s director of market research. He said that while full-size pickups, Jeeps, and muscle cars which have traditionally been popular in the accessories market, CUVs represent a particularly lucrative growth opportunity for the industry.

Drivers of CUVs are also looking for a wide range of appearance, performance, comfort, convenience, and technology products to enhance their rides.

Another SEMA study – the “Retail Landscape” report – found that 83 percent of automotive specialty-equipment retailers are reporting stable or growing sales in recent years, dispelling reports of a “retailpocalypse.”

Knapp said more than 3,000 SEMA member retailers are primed for continued growth. While most sales are still made within brick-and-mortar stores, a growing percentage are being made through the Internet and e-commerce.

The digital arena is becoming a major ally to accessories retailers.

“The SEMA Retail Landscape Report shows that the heavily publicized death of traditional retail is greatly exaggerated,” said Knapp. “The positive news is that most retailers in our industry are doing well. While the Internet and ecommerce has impacted their businesses, savvy retailers are learning how to incorporate online sales into the mix and finding great success.”

For specialty-automotive retailers who find opportunity online, 54% sell products through their company’s website and 39% sell their products through an online marketplace such as Amazon, eBay, and Walmart.

The web and social media are vital for marketing with 81% of retailers using social media to market their business. Facebook and Instagram are the main, but by no means the only, platforms used while 71% of specialty auto retailers use their company’s website to advertise the business.

Fears that the youngest generation of drivers have not developed a strong interest in vehicles

Last year’s “Young Accessorizers” report showed that 16- to 24-year-old drivers are racking up an impressive number of miles driven in North America, an about a quarter of them are spending money on accessories.

According to the research, about 58% of young accessorizers would rather give up their phone for a week than their car for a week.

And vehicles also play into their busy social lives as four out of five say their car helps bring them closer to their friends.

The 2018 SEMA Young Accessorizers Report is filled with additional details about how 16-24-year-olds drive, accessorize their vehicles, shop for accessories, where they buy and how they modify their cars. The 75-page report also includes information on how to reach young accessorizers, parts they purchase and how their car fits into their social life.

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