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Specialty equipment industry remains strong amid supply chain disruptions

Despite ongoing disruptions in the economy, 70 percent of specialty equipment manufacturers report sales growth over the past year

Diamond Bar, Calif.—Despite ongoing economic disruptions, 70 percent of specialty-equipment manufacturers report sales growth over the past year, according to the new State of the Industry—Fall 2021 report from SEMA.

The report highlights specialty equipment market trends, including sales performance and expectations, broader economic factors affecting the industry, and a future outlook on emerging vehicle technologies’ role.

Supply chain disruptions are affecting the automotive sector, and new vehicle production is expected to be 7.7 million units lower in 2021 than 2020 — tempering the specialty equipment industry’s optimism regarding its short-term prospects. However, most businesses maintain a positive outlook, with more than 80 percent expecting their sales to be stable or growing over the coming year.

The latest edition of SEMA’s ongoing State of the Industry report series offers 70 pages of data on the specialty equipment industry to help companies understand how the market is performing and evolving. Key findings from the report include:

  • Delays in shipping and the ongoing microchip shortage have left automakers unable to keep up with consumer demand for new vehicles, pushing dealer inventories to all-time lows and the average price of a new vehicle to an unprecedented $45,000 in September 2021.
  • While some businesses struggled during the beginning of the pandemic last year, especially retailers, most were able to adjust. Manufacturers, in particular, have done well, reporting an average of 19 percent sales growth over the past 12 months.
  • Sales in the pickup, sports car, SUV, and classic vehicle segments continue to be strong, with many businesses once again seeing double-digit sales growth this year.
  • Supply chain disruptions are starting to create some uncertainty. In the spring of 2021, 70 percent of specialty equipment manufacturers and 75 percent of distributors expected their sales to grow over the coming year. However, those percentages have fallen to 58 percent and 52 percent, respectively.
  • The temporary shifts toward online sales that were made necessary by the pandemic are continuing to reverse, with the majority of specialty equipment parts sales once again flowing through in-person retail channels.
  • In the longer term, vehicle manufacturers’ plans to develop and sell more electric vehicles will require the specialty equipment industry to plan for and adapt to these changes in the vehicle population.

For more data on the state of the U.S. specialty equipment market, download the SEMA State of the Industry—Fall 2021 report for free at www.sema.org/research.

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