March '19

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26 THE SHOP MARCH 2019 EDITOR'S NOTE: The following is a synopsis of three educational seminars given at the 2018 SEMA Show, featuring information from Gavin Knapp, SEMA director of market research, and John Waraniak, SEMA VP of vehicle tech- nology. The article originally appeared on, which is the place to sign up for THE SHOP's daily enewsletter. W hile car alarm bells ring—pronouncing doom and forecasting the imminent demise of the automobile aftermarket supposedly because enthusiastic aficionado car guys are getting too old to drive and kids these days don't care about driving at all—market research seems to be indicating otherwise. The industry is really doing OK with changes. Overall, the economy is strong. And while it's true that the population in the U.S. is aging (27 percent of the SEMA market is over 60 years old), consumers are optimistic, and spending is up. Most accessory categories have been growing except electronics, which might be due to the fact that OEMs have been including more electronics as standard equipment. Statistics show that of the 274 million vehicles that are on the road today, 17.2 million are new. The most common vehi- cles are mid-range cars and pickups. The light truck category, comprised of pickups, SUVs and CUVs, is now the biggest-selling segment and where the most growth is taking place. The question remains whether CUVs will be more like trucks or more like sedans, but whichever trend prevails, an opportunity is emerging to provide this class of vehicles with aftermarket accessories. KIDS THESE DAYS Some data to mull over: millennials drive 73 percent more than their parents did. Studies show that 27 percent of 16-year- olds drive; that grows to 83 percent of 24-year-olds. They spend more than $7 billion on their cars, but often feel left out. Youth represents 12 percent of drivers. As they get older, they buy their own cars and they make decisions about car acces- sories—33 percent of younger drivers accessorize, mostly to personalize their cars. Some of them are enthusiasts. Some just get the accessories they think they need for their cars. Money is a young person's biggest Cars, trucks and the elusive crystal ball. By Eddie Wieber Future Trends 26 THE SHOP MARCH 2019 Expert panels at the 2018 SEMA Show reveal that, overall, the industry is doing very well—interest from younger drivers is up, and technological advancements are keeping things interesting. (Photos courtesy SEMA)

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