SEMA research reports are available to SEMA members at no cost.
By Carr Winn and Cathy Tran
In the early '60s, the must-have mobile-electronics accessory was actually a record player. Letting the consumer choose the music that came out of the speakers was considered ground-breaking, and has since become a mandatory feature of almost all vehicles. More than 60 years later, the concept of in-car entertainment has grown into a multi-billion dollar segment of the specialty-equipment market.
The "2015 SEMA Market Report" examines the products, sales channels and installation trends for the mobile-electronics segment valued at $2.7 billion in manufacturer revenue. As SEMA Director, Market Research Gavin Knapp explains, this year the "SEMA Market Report" drills each market section down to the product level.
“SEMA Market Research has undertaken a project to better understand the what, where and why of consumer purchases of specialty-equipment products,” said Knapp. In fact, the new report analyzes an annual survey of 20,000 U.S. consumers, providing insight into product demand, retail trends and consumer profiles that, according to Knapp, had previously been missing for the industry.
Knapp added, “In year one, we are reporting the retail channels where consumers purchased specialty-equipment products during 2014.” This is actually a powerful metric because in subsequent years, he explained, SEMA will be able to develop trends and projections for product purchases, retail sites and vehicle applications.
Audio products are the most popular category of mobile-electronics accessories, representing $1.3 billion in manufacturer revenue. This includes amps, speakers, receivers, tuners and other related products.
Sales of cellular and Bluetooth accessories grew 4%, reaching nearly $600 million in manufacturer revenue. Now more than ever, consumers expect their cell phones to work seamlessly with their vehicle’s stereo system to allow for hands-free calling while driving.
In terms of sales channels, across most mobile electronics categories—alarms and security products, sound systems and audio accessories, wireless and smartphone integration products, and mobile TV and video products—traditional auto parts chains with a physical location dominate the retail landscape. Because of the technical nature of many mobile electronics installations, it makes sense that 61% of customers prefer to have someone else install their purchases.
SEMA research reports are available to SEMA members at no cost, and to nonmembers at a nominal fee. SEMA research reports can be accessed at www.SEMA.org/research.