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New Study Shows Auto Accessories Influence More Than 1 Million New Vehicle Sales Every Year

Findings underscore the impact accessories have on consumer purchase decisions, according to SEMA. The association says dealers have opportunities to significantly increase sales through accessory programs.


DIAMOND BAR, Calif. – The Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) has released the results of a new study titled “Influence of Accessories on New Vehicle Sales.” Key findings from the study show that accessories influence more than 1 million new vehicle sales each year, help reinforce customer satisfaction and can substantially increase sales at the dealership level. 


In addition, SEMA notes that study shows accessorization can influence new car shoppers to choose vehicle platforms that are accessory-friendly, even influencing those who do not actually accessorize their vehicles.
“This is the most extensive research our industry has conducted on the relationship between the availability of accessories and new vehicle sales,” said Chris Kersting, SEMA president and CEO. “Automotive dealers and the specialty parts industry will be eager to see that accessories influence vehicle choice and represent a ripe market for a substantial portion of new car and truck buyers.”
Key highlights from this study:
• Accessories influence more than 1 million new vehicle purchases each year
• Customized vehicles in a dealership showroom have the largest influence on new car purchase decisions – 65 percent of people said they were influenced by a customized vehicle they saw displayed in a dealer showroom
• One-third of “non-modifiers” said the key to buying accessories is to have them offered at the time of purchase – this reflects the importance of offering accessories in the sales process
• Nearly one in 10 “non-modifiers” are influenced to buy a model by seeing an accessorized version
• One-third of modifiers are influenced to buy their vehicle due to availability of specialty parts
• Those who are influenced by customization (modifiers) tend to advise others about new cars – modifiers bring attention to specific brands
• People who make modifications have high satisfaction with their vehicles
• 23 percent of modifiers are purchasing accessories through dealerships
• Tires, wheels, audio, navigation and sunroofs are the most sought-after modifications


The study, conducted by AutoPacific, looked at the persuasive effects created by accessory products, including those most likely to create the greatest influence. The study explores which vehicle types are more likely to be purchased based on accessory options and availability; consumers’ perceptions of specialty equipment products vs. OEM aftermarket products; and purchasing/modifying accessories through aftermarket retailers vs. dealerships.
The SEMA/Auto Pacific study was conducted using input from three distinct groups:
• Consumers that have modified or plan to modify their vehicle
• Non-modifiers that have not modified a vehicle previously
• OEMs (interviews related to accessory operations & strategies)

“The idea behind personalized display vehicles is that people see things they haven’t seen anywhere else when they walk into a showroom,” said Beau Boeckmann, vice president of the Galpin Ford dealership in North Hills, Calif. “A customer doesn’t have to design their own vehicle – the possibilities are already on display in the showroom – once they see and fall in love with it, they buy it. It’s a one-stop shopping experience that gives customers the ability to have everything they want installed at the dealership, with the assurance of a factory warranty and the cost of modifications being financed into the monthly payment.”
The SEMA/Auto Pacific study is now available and can be accessed at www.sema.org. The report can be downloaded at no cost for SEMA members and $199 for non-members.