Segments Of US Specialty-Equipment Industry Grow During Pandemic

Segments Of US Specialty-Equipment Industry Grow During Pandemic

New SEMA Market Research shows the US automotive specialty-equipment industry has largely weathered the COVID-19 pandemic, with many companies reporting sales growth over the past year and anticipating continued growth in the coming months.

Findings from the SEMA State of the Industry Spring 2021 report indicate that 66 per cent of manufacturers, 60 per cent of distributors and 40 per cent of retailers/installers reported increased sales compared to 12 months ago. Nearly three-quarters of all manufacturers and distributors expect sales to increase over the coming year.

According to SEMA, the specialty-equipment industry had minimal staffing disruption because of the pandemic, with most maintaining or growing staffing levels. Additionally, 83 per cent of manufacturers, 77 per cent of distributors, and 63 per cent of retailers/installers plan on hiring more staff over the coming year.

Sales increased across many channels, especially direct-to-consumer through their company website and independent specialty retailers. Parts manufacturers and retailers had significant sales growth in performance categories, including intake and suspension products. According to the US Census Bureau, retail sales at motor vehicle and parts dealers hit $139.5 billion – its highest level in US history, indicating that despite the pandemic, consumers continue to work on their cars.

According to a survey by Hertz, more than 80 per cent of Americans plan on taking a road trip this northern summer, potentially leading to significantly more engagement with the specialty-equipment industry.

Additionally, many companies selling in the pickup, sports car and classic segments reported double-digit growth in the past 12 months.

SEMA said that at a time when most countries are experiencing economic contractions, the US is showing strong growth after the disruption from the pandemic. This growth is expected to continue through 2021 as the services sector of the economy fully re-opens.