AKRON—For the past decade or so, crossover vehicles have become the most popular type of personal transportation, both in terms of new vehicles sold and vehicles registered or in operation, but pickup trucks are still king in terms of aftermarket customization potential.
That's the assessment of the Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA), which tracks aftermarket modification trends regularly.
In a Pickup Accessorization Report compiled in late 2022, SEMA reported that 42 percent of pickup owners surveyed by the trade group were planning to make modifications to their vehicles in the coming year, with changes to improve appearance (12 percent) and accessibility/comfort (9 percent) topping the list of reasons.
SEMA also noted that tire and/or wheel upgrades were among the most common types of modifications pickup truck owners had made in recent years, registering 26 percent of all upgrades. No. 1 on the list was improvements to the truck bed/utility capacity.
Also high on the list were changes to the pickup's exterior (24 percent) and lighting and engine (14 percent each).
The pickup category also dominates in terms of aftermarket sales potential, SEMA said, accounting for over 31 percent of estimated aftermarket parts/components sales in 2021. That translates to a value of $16 billion.
In assessing the market, SEMA researchers noted that pickups "at their core … are utility vehicles, and most pickup accessorizers make changes that enhance functionality or appearance of the vehicle."