A large portion of the automotive aftermarket offers products that improve “performance,” but what exactly is performance? In 2009, Hedges & Company originated market research on how automotive enthusiasts define “performance” as part of the original Opinion Leaders Program for the 2009 SEMA Show. We released a report on our findings and completed another Opinion Leaders Program study again in 2010. Here is what we found:
Almost universally, enthusiasts associate “performance” with “an improvement in function” and not necessarily with “speed.” This is worth noting because the aftermarket industry often associates the word “performance” with horsepower. In fact, many in the industry often refer to “street performance” as a market segment distinct from other segments such as “restoration” or “off-road.” A restoration enthusiast is likely to refer to a replacement radio with period-authentic styling and modern electronics as “improved performance.” Likewise, an off-road enthusiast is also likely to refer to a new suspension part as “improved performance” even though he may be rock-crawling at 5 mph.
Another of our studies found that enthusiasts purchase parts for vehicles from an average of 3.2 market segments. Only 15% purchase for only one type of vehicle. Keep this in mind when targeting certain vehicle owners, as the definition of “improved performance” may change with their vehicles. What may be considered as an improvement in performance in one vehicle may be thought of differently in the next. For more information, these Opinion Leader reports are available at SEMA.org/research.
What types of parts/accessories do your customers ask for when looking to “improve performance?”
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