DIAMOND BAR, Calif. — Despite the near coast-to-coast lockdown through much of 2020 due to COVID-19 pandemic, the value of the specialty-equipment industry increased last year roughly 3.6% to nearly $48 billion, according to new data from the Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA).
The data, contained in the 2021 SEMA Market Report, provides an overview on the state of the U.S. specialty-equipment market and examines how consumers and businesses adapted to the pandemic, along with how much was spent, and where, on specialty-automotive parts and accessories in 2020.
While the industry overall was impacted by the pandemic, some businesses were spared from full lockdowns as auto parts were considered an essential business in some areas, SEMA said. Even amid the disruption of the pandemic, many of the industry's companies reported record sales in 2020 as enthusiasts spent money on their cars instead of other pursuits that were unavailable during the lockdown.
Nearly half (48%) of enthusiasts surveyed said they did more online shopping for parts in 2020 than in 2019, and 40% of enthusiasts spent more time working on their vehicle, SEMA said.
Among the report's key findings:
- 40% of enthusiast consumers modify their vehicle to stand out vs. 28% of non-enthusiasts.
- 60% of specialty-equipment consumers are under the age of 40. Young drivers continue to be an important and engaged part of the industry and often buy more involved performance parts or accessories and make heavier modifications to their vehicles.
- 43% of accessorizors turn to search engines and review websites when looking for parts information, while 41% look to manufacturer's websites and 36% to retail websites.
- Just over half of dollars spent in 2020 went through online channels. However, even with social-distancing measures in place, many consumers still preferred brick-and-mortar retailers for their aftermarket parts purchases.
- Pickup trucks remained the biggest vehicle segment for the specialty-equipment market, accounting for 28% of all dollars spent, followed by CUVs at 16%.
SEMA also forecasts that the value of the automotive aftermarket will continue to grow, hitting $55 billion by 2024.
For more data on the size and scope of opportunity available in the automotive specialty-equipment market, download the 2021 SEMA Market Report for free today at sema.org/research.