A look at light-truck accessories

DROP-IN BEDLINERS seem to have lost popularity among light-truck owners, with just 2% of owners planning to install them in 2004. Meanwhile, spray-in bedliners have become more popular, with planned installations increasing from 9% in 1999 to 18% in 2004.

That's one of the many revelations contained in the latest report issued by the Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA), which has been studying and reporting on the light-truck specialty-equipment market for nearly 10 years. Some of the data is from a study done by Foresight Research.

The truck owners who participated in the survey were asked to estimate how much money they already have spent on truck accessories, and how much they intended to spend in the next 12 months.

About 50% of those surveyed have spent, or plan to spend, $500 or more on accessories for their full-size pickup trucks. The results indicate that Dodge Ram owners have spent, or intend to spend, $500 or more on truck accessories at a greater rate than the owners of the other brands included in the survey. According to the report, 63% of Ram owners have spent or intend to spend at least $500, compared to Silverado (57%), Sierra (54%), F-Series (51%), Tundra (51%), Avalanche (31%), and Escalade EXT (27%).

Furthermore, owners of Sport Utility Trucks are least likely to spend a minimum of $500 on accessories.

Large shifts

Although many of the percentages of installed accessories experienced fluctuations from 1988 to 2004, several products experienced rather large shifts. The heavy-duty trailer hitch saw a 16% increase from 1988 to 2004. It was by far the most popular accessory, with 56% of pickups containing them, compared to bug deflectors (35%), custom floor mats (34%), tailgate protector (33%), running boards (32%), fog lamps/lights (31%), side window drip guard (28%), drop-in bedliner (28%), and spray-in bedliner (27%).

Running boards increased by 12%, while side-window drip guards increased by 23%. Custom/chrome bumpers had dramatically decreased between 1988 and 1999, from 67% to just 6%. However, the percentage jumped to 16% for 2004, indicating that custom/chrome bumpers might be regaining some popularity. The cap/camper shell has progressively decreased in popularity from 1988 to 2004, with an overall reduction of 19%.

The percentages for No Installation Plans were more than 50%, except in the case of the heavy-duty trailer hitch, where 56% of respondents already have one installed. SEMA believes this could be due to the fact that consumers purchase their trucks with heavy-duty trailer hitches installed at the factory, or chose to purchase the hitches soon after the arrival of their trucks. SEMA believes a majority of respondents plan to tow with their trucks.

The data-packed, 42-page report is available exclusively to SEMA members on SEMA's website. For the full report, visit www.sema.org/research or contact Shirley Presecan at [email protected].

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