Sales of automotive specialty-equipment products continue to climb, reaching $33 billion in 2013. The number represents a 6.7% increase over the previous year and marks the fourth consecutive year of growth, according to the Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) Annual Market Study, available at www.sema.org/2014samr.
“The specialty equipment market produced the highest growth since the recent recession,” said Chris Kersting, SEMA president and CEO, in a press release. “There are a number of factors that figure into this upward trend.”
The special-equipment market includes products that enhance a vehicle’s performance, styling, comfort, convenience and safety. Among the factors driving the industry’s growth are:
• Street performance products accounted for 26% of sales. The renewed focus on performance models by the OEMs has helped drive interest in this segment. New models such as the Scion FR-S, redesigns like the 2015 Mustang, and high-performance packages such as the Hellcat Challenger have inspired the industry and consumer alike to aim for increased performance.
• There was a healthy upward tick for the truck market. Sales of specialty equipment for light trucks grew 8% in 2013 to post the market’s best sales year since 2007. New truck sales continue to climb amid anticipation for major redesigns to several flagship pickups. As the SUV/CUV sector continues to grow (nine of the top 30 sellers in the U.S.), crossover products present an opportunity to diversify and expand light-truck product offerings.
• The 2014 SEMA Show is shaping up to be the biggest yet as industry optimism continues to build. Attendance is trending upward, and buyers will see more exhibitors and products than ever on the Show floor. New this year is SEMA Ignited, a special consumer and media attraction on Friday night after the show. SEMA Ignited meshes with other consumer-facing association projects, all part of a long-term plan to enhance awareness of specialty products.
– The U.S. economy continues to show positive signs for industry growth, with gross domestic product rising and unemployment rates dropping. Forecasters are generally predicting sustained moderate growth for the U.S. economy over the next few years. Meanwhile, car buyers have shown renewed enthusiasm, pushing new-vehicle sales upward toward pre-recession levels.
The SEMA Annual Market Report is conducted yearly to help SEMA member companies understand the industry and make informed business decisions.