Accessories trend: Electronics is the profit-leader; PPF, side molding, step bars gain momentum

Sep 16, 2011

Izmocars, a provider of automotive business solutions, presented its Midyear 2011 AOA [Add on Auto] Accessories Trend Report1 on Sept. 15, that highlights aftermarket accessories that were most popular with consumers in the second quarter of 2011 versus the first quarter. As well, the report features accessories categories that gained and/or held the most traction across different U.S. regions, and the vehicle models that are attracting the highest volume of accessories sales in dealerships.

Key trends illuminated in the report include some old familiars, with the ‘Electronics’ category ranking as the No. 1 accessories profit-driver for dealerships studied for the first six months of the year, driven by remote starter sales. And, in terms of pure retail dollars, the ‘Upholstery’ category continued its rank at the top, perhaps a result of record cold temperatures last winter, as the category was dominated by sales of leather and heated seats.

Consumers’ adoption of in-vehicle technology “… which, given the high profits generated by electronics sales, is a good thing for auto dealers,” said izmocars’ vice president, Sidney Haider. “Car owners are not only paying more attention to practical protection-based products, they are also purchasing aftermarket products that help ‘fuel’ efficiency. Meanwhile, accessories sales continue to prove themselves as high-margin, net-profit winners for dealerships.”

Protection products showed up as an emerging trend in accessories sales for second quarter of this year, in terms of dealer profits, ‘volume of parts sold’ and in the ‘Aftermarket Exterior’ category, reflecting extended car ownership cycles and economic challenges that are driving consumers to focus on practical, protection-based products that prolong vehicle life. Protection products took a big leap in terms of dealer profits, with body side moldings and paint protection products moving up into the top four, while step bars held onto their second place position.

Another emerging trend, possibly driven by economic realities and high gas prices, was in the ‘Factory Performance’ category where sales of products that increased efficiencies – such as exhaust tips, full exhaust systems, air intakes and air filters, suspension products, superchargers and brake products – dominated.

The AOA report is based on sales data from a diverse sampling of 180 dealerships, representing 13 brands and five regions across 30 states. The dealerships studied in this report, in aggregate, sold $10.6 million in accessories in second quarter 2011, for a total of more than $20 million for the first half of the year. The average dealership analyzed increased accessories sales by $475 per-vehicle-sold, with average gross margins of 47% and average net profit margins of 32.8%, compared to 45% and 28% respectively for all of 2010.