Thursday, 16 September 2021 19:35

2021 SEMA Market Report: Despite Pandemic, Automotive Specialty-Equipment Sales Grew to $47.9B


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Even in the face of a pandemic that ravaged livelihoods and economies globally, the automotive specialty-equipment market somehow managed to continue its steady growth trend, up to $47.89 billion in 2020---a 4% increase over 2019, according to the recently released 2021 SEMA Market Report.

Slower growth is expected to continue into 2022 as more businesses reopen and compete for consumer dollars before taking off again in late 2022 or early 2023.


The COVID Effect


While some businesses felt pain, the COVID-19 pandemic didn’t hurt the automotive specialty-equipment industry as much as one would have thought. The market was expected to contract to some degree with the economic disruption that took place in 2020, according to Gavin Knapp, SEMA director of market research, but many businesses reported record sales in 2020.


“March and April were a big shock to the entire economy, but a lot of businesses were able to adapt and find ways to keep selling products,” said Matt Kennedy, SEMA market research manager. “At the end of the year, we finished with strong growth that rebounded quickly and continued forward from that initial shutdown period.”


Despite layoffs and high unemployment, consumers still spent money on the items available to them because certain things were considered out of bounds, according to Knapp. They couldn’t spend money on entertainment, travel, food and hospitality, but they could spend it on their cars, so a lot of people started engaging in their hobby.


One such instance was performance-related products, which did well last year at $11.47 billion.


“We began to see people be of the mindset that, ‘I don’t have to drive my car every day if it’s a daily driver,’ or ‘I’ve got this project, and now I have the time to work on it, so I can do more intricate, even more expensive upgrades,’” Knapp said.


Industry-wide, sales were up around 4% last year. In 2019, the industry reached $46.2 billion in retail sales. In 2020, that number increased to...

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