SEMA eNews Vol. 12, No. 9, March 5, 2009

Where Enthusiasts Buy Suspension Products


Sway-A-Way’s SEMA Show display

Slightly more than 300 enthusiasts (25%) surveyed last month said that they purchased shocks over the last year, compared to 11% for lowering kits, 18% for coil springs, 9% for leaf springs and 7% for lift kits. In the survey, SEMA also asked where enthusiasts purchased particular products. For example, 32% of enthusiasts that purchased shocks last year did so via an Internet retail store website, whereas 19% turned to custom shop installers.

In late February, SEMA interviewed enthusiasts about products they purchased during the past year and their spending for the month of January. The focus was not simply on the products they purchased, but also on the venue where they made the transaction. Their responses could help shape the way items are viewed for the individual retailer and how to more effectively stock related products.

For January, enthusiasts offered a somber yet hopeful look at the market. Many (roughly 40%) did not make a purchase during the first month of the year. Historically, January has been a slow month for upgrades. Purchases begin to pick up as spring and summer approach.

However, of those enthusiasts who did make purchases, the average amounts are high from a monthly perspective. For example, if this level of spending remains consistent throughout the year, $300 per month equates to $3,600 a year. This falls almost $1,000 higher than the traditional amount enthusiasts have reported in the past.

Spending is typically slow in colder months but kicks up as the spring and summer approach.


Many enthusiasts withheld spending in January, but those that did spent sizable amounts for a single month.

As to where the purchases were made, the most common venues were Internet retailers. The table below illustrates where consumers claimed to purchase products during January. Of the total group surveyed—roughly 1,000—the column on the right lists the number of respondents that claimed to purchase the item.

For example, 429 enthusiasts out of 1,041 purchased brake calipers or rotors. The most common locations for this particular product were Internet retailers (22%) and vehicle dealerships (7%). Of those who made a purchase, the distribution of the venues is listed below with the leading venue highlighted; top venue for the product (blue), top product for the venue (gray) or where there is overlap (orange). — SEMA Research & Information Center

Internet retail sites and custom shop installers were the two most common responses enthusiasts gave when asked where they purchased their shocks.

For more original market research, visit www.sema.org/research.

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