DIAMOND BAR, Calif. (Feb. 25, 2005) — Choosing the right distribution channel can spell success or failure for products such as automotive accessories, and chain auto parts stores are still the top consumer destination to purchase them, according to a study by the Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA).
SEMA's Automotive Lifestyle Study revealed that of the top 10 distribution channels where consumers are likely to purchase automotive specialty equipment, independent parts stores rank second—with 50 percent of consumers patronizing that venue. But 59.4 percent of consumers are still likely to purchase from a chain parts store, such as AutoZone.
“A great product can have a mediocre reception by consumers if not properly marketed, and getting the latest widget in the hands of the right consumer can prove difficult at times,” Diamond Bar-based SEMA said. The trade group noted that choosing the right distribution channel “is crucial to success, and although there are many methods to distribute one´s product or service, some will lead to more sales than others.”
The study also revealed that about one-third of consumers are likely to purchase accessories from an Internet site, indicating that online buying is taking over some of the more traditional mediums such as magazines and catalogs.
A closer look at the data revealed other interesting findings, according to SEMA, including:
* Women are more likely than men to purchase specialty equipment from the dealer—41.6 percent vs. 23.8 percent.
* 37.6 percent of men vs. 25.5 percent of women are likely to purchase automotive specialty equipment from the Internet—a 12.1-percent difference.
* While 51. 7 percent of consumers 16 to 27 years old are likely to purchase accessories from a chain auto pars store, that number jumps to 65.6 percent for consumers 28 to 39 years old.
* On average, 54.2 percent of consumer 16 to 51 years old are likely to purchase accessories from an independent parts store, but that number drops to 32.5 percent for those consumers 52 years of age and older.
* Surprisingly, 36. 7 percent of consumers 16 to 27 years old are more likely to purchase accessories from a car dealer than consumers 28 to 51 years old—26.9 percent.
The retail channels in SEMA's top 10—in which tire dealerships did not make the cut—were car dealerships; car shows; chain auto parts stores; Ebay; independent parts stores; Internet sites; newspaper classifieds; magazine/catalog mail order; performance/speed shops; and retail department stores.
SEMA's Research and Information Center said it collected 1,180 responses via a survey administered last October to a nationally representative Internet survey panel. Assuming a 95 percent confidence level, the results above are accurate to plus or minus 2.85 percent of the reported values.
The trade association called its Automotive Lifestyles Study “an exhaustive survey covering a variety of subjects.” Information regarding variables such as exterior, interior, engine, wheel and suspension accessorizing trends; distribution and information channels; off-road trends; types of vehicles owned; demographic and lifestyle data; etc. is available from the Research and Information Center. Contact Ty Michael at [email protected] for more details.