SEMA Market Reports Show That Industry Needs Better Content

If you’re in the business of selling parts and accessories, a SEMA membership is probably a worthwhile investment. Not only does membership entitle you to attend the world’s greatest car show, but it also gets you some awesome market research info like the SEMA annual report.

Free for SEMA members, you can download the report yourself here.

Without disclosing anything proprietary (or at least without intending to disclose proprietary info), SEMA’s annual market reports have highlighted the same trends now for a few years.

There’s still a lot of room for parts and accessories sales growth. SEMA’s annual market report leads with an estimate of the total revenue of the aftermarket parts and accessories industry. While the numbers keep getting bigger, there are two trends that seem to indicate the party isn’t going to stop:

  1. Truck and SUV sales are growing annually
  2. Truck and SUV buyers spend more on parts and accessories than just about any other type of car buyer

As long as the auto industry keeps pumping out trucks and SUVs, the good times will keep on rolling. Just make sure your company is catering to these vehicle buyers.

Online parts sales (as a percentage of total sales) are still a small slice of the pie. If you look at how consumers buy auto parts and accessories, online sales are still far less than half of all parts and accessories sales. While there are some exceptions to this statement, the general rule is that consumers are researching online and buying offline.

This behavior of looking things up on the internet and then driving to the parts store is NOT going to last. If we look outside of auto parts and accessories ecommerce, the explosion of Amazon.com, Jet, Walmart.com, eBay, and so on shows that consumers are happy to buy online and skip the trip to the store. The fact that so many consumers are still buying auto parts and accessories offline suggests our industry is still very much ripe for retail disruption.

What Does This Mean For Etailers And Manufacturers?

The discrepancy between:

  1. Consumers looking for part and accessory info online, and
  2. Consumers buying parts and accessories online

Is indicative of a lack of quality website content.

If, for example, every part or accessory offered for sale online had clear DIY install instructions (video or otherwise), full product specs, detailed product descriptions, multiple product photos, and well-defined policies and procedures for things like shipping and returns, consumers would buy more products online.

Therefore, if you’re in the auto parts and accessories industry, and you want to sell products online, you need to invest in content. That isn’t a revolutionary statement from our perspective, but it’s something a lot of companies haven’t recognized. That means there is an opportunity for companies that are willing to invest in that area.

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