Light-truck aftermarket sales will boom

As competition intensifies in the light-truck accessories aftermarket, manufacturers need to expand their customer base in order to boost revenues, according to marketing consulting firm Frost & Sullivan. To attract new consumers, the firm says aftermarket participants should emphasize the functionality of accessories as well as their aesthetic contribution to a vehicle's unique style and appearance.

As competition intensifies in the light-truck accessories aftermarket, manufacturers need to expand their customer base in order to boost revenues, according to marketing consulting firm Frost & Sullivan. To attract new consumers, the firm says aftermarket participants should emphasize the functionality of accessories as well as their aesthetic contribution to a vehicle's unique style and appearance.

According to Frost & Sullivan’s analysis, the light-truck accessory aftermarket amounted to $1.59 billion in 2000. Steady growth will continue through 2007, with forecasted revenues of $1.89 billion.

Light-trucks had previously been classified as a type of commercial transportation vehicle, but it has been expanded to include sports wagons and SUVs. The target demographic has been extended to include more male and female drivers from urban and suburban regions, and diverse economic backgrounds.

"The changing demographic profile has helped increase the demand for accessories that combine function with style," says Frost & Sullivan analyst Jasmine Sachdeva. "This new group of owners have the extra income to purchase accessories to add style to their vehicles."

Since light trucks are no longer used exclusively for commercial work, drivers are investing more in both their automobiles' performance and aesthetics. Automotive accessories serve a functional purpose by supplying a specific measurable job for the vehicle owner.

Just as importantly, Sachdeva said, these accessories also provide the vehicle with an instant "face-lift." The ability to combine these two elements increases the appeal of aftermarket accessories for end-users.

"Most owners of light trucks often purchase accessories as a means of improving the aesthetic appeal of their vehicles," said Sachdeva. "Aesthetics is the primary motivator to purchase, with functionality being a secondary force. This vanity is a unit shipment driver for the aftermarket."

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