New Vehicle Accessory Spending Dips

Younger Buyers, Pickup Sales Return to Bounce Back Accessories Market

ROCHESTER – Foresight Research has released the results of its syndicated 2012 Automotive Accessory Market Report. It compares vehicle brands, segments, geography and accessory type, and the information sources used to shop and buy accessories.

Based on a study of 7,851 recent US new car and truck buyers, the report found that despite a 2-percent drop from last year a whopping 42-percent of all buyers install accessories within the first two years of ownership. The highest accessory installers (pickup truckers) declined 2-percent. The average accessory buyer now spends $1,662, an 8-percent decline from a year ago. Declines in installation rates and spending were most prevalent among younger and middle class buyers, those hardest-hit by the recent recession.

Availability of accessories was influential to selecting a dealer by 29-percent of accessory buyers. Half of all accessory sales occur at or immediately after vehicle delivery, yet dealers cut back on accessory sales effort: 35-percent of salespeople attempted to sell accessories, and only 41-percent of dealers had accessorized vehicles on display.

Sales efforts do pay off: when accessory sales efforts did take place, the total average accessory spending increased by $531 per unit. Electronics, comfort and convenience accessories top the installation rate charts.

“Despite a recovering auto industry, accessory sales to new vehicle buyers declined this past year,” said Steve Bruyn, CEO of Foresight Research. “Contributing factors include the economy’s impact on shifting demographics, consumer restraint on spending, and dealers dialing back accessory sales efforts.”

These trends should reverse themselves as the industry continues to improve, younger accessory-conscious buyers come back into the market, the mix of pickup trucks improves, and dealers refocus on substantial accessory opportunities.