According to the new 2020 SEMA Market Report, which provides a comprehensive review of the automotive specialty equipment market, industry retail sales will likely be down 12 percent this year compared with 2019. However, the report also found that most companies within the industry expect sales to improve as the year goes along, with nearly 50 percent of the companies surveyed saying they expect their sales by year’s end to be close to the same or even better than 2019.
Industry-wide, sales were $46.2 billion in 2019, which was an all-time high.
“While this year has presented its challenges, the 2020 SEMA Market Report can help our member companies identify the key areas of interest for consumers and prepare for the growth that we expect in 2021,” said SEMA director of market research, Gavin Knapp. “It’s still early to predict exactly how things will play out over the next couple years, but the positive news is that as the country re-emerges from the shutdown, we can expect that sales should rise back towards previous levels.”
In-store purchases accounted for the largest share of 2019 retail sales, representing almost 60 percent of the total. It is highly likely that online purchases will spike in 2020 due to COVID-19, but SEMA expects that many consumers will return to in-store shopping once restrictions are further loosened. Word-of-mouth and the web were important sources of ideas and information for consumers researching potential upgrades. Forty-four percent of consumers used search engines or review websites, 40 percent went directly to manufacturer websites, and 37 percent sought advice or recommendations from friends or relatives.