SEMA Market Research: What’s in It for you?

SEMA News—August 2016


SEMA Market Research: What’s in It for you?

Chris KerstingAn important element of SEMA’s mission is to undertake challenging projects that many individual member companies could not afford on their own. Establishing a data co-op, building an emissions-compliance center and maintaining a comprehensive legislative/regulatory team in Washington, D.C., are all examples of significant programs SEMA delivers for its members. Another valuable member benefit—market research—is intended to help member companies better understand their marketplace, plan for the future, and take advantage of emerging trends.

Building quality research data for the automotive specialty-equipment aftermarket takes time and diligence, but a number of initiatives have recently matured and are now available for members. One important new offering is vehicles-in-operation (VIO) data, made available through a partnership with Experian Automotive. This arrangement gives SEMA market research access to comprehensive counts of vehicles on the road in the United States—and SEMA makes this information available to our members at no cost.

The VIO database of nearly 250 million vehicles can be very useful if, for example, you are a manufacturer considering a new line of parts for a certain make and model, or if you are a retailer thinking about growing sales and would like to know how many units of a specific model are on the road in your service area. The program is now available on a trial basis for SEMA members in manufacturing, distribution and retail/installation. To find out more, visit for terms and conditions.

Another newly available study is the “Pickup Truck Report.” We all know that pickup trucks are among the top-selling vehicle models in the world, sold in hundreds of configurations and millions of units annually, so this study is likely to pertain to a wide variety of member businesses. The research focuses on how pickup owners upgrade and accessorize their trucks, what their buying intentions are, and how they decide which parts to buy. We also are able to take a look at how they use their trucks and profile these owners in a little more detail than we’ve done in the past to get an idea of what kind of consumers they are overall.

On another front, as SEMA has learned from bringing the Performance Racing Industry (PRI) magazine and show into the SEMA family, racing industry market data is fairly scarce. SEMA began to take a comprehensive look at the U.S. racing landscape to get an idea of how many cars are racing, the various types of racing going on and in what locations, and what organizations exist that interact with drivers. This information should be very useful to businesses involved in the racing marketplace as they make strategic decisions.

SEMA’s well-targeted research studies, including the “2016 SEMA Market Report,” are now available—or in some cases soon will be—for members to download. When you visit, you’ll find these studies and others, including a database of past studies.

We should mention that this work could not be accomplished without all the member companies who provided input and answered our occasional surveys. On behalf of the industry, our thanks go to all those who participated. As always, we’re eager to hear your ideas on how we might deploy our research capabilities in the future.

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