Accessory buyers do their homework before buying – much of it outside the dealer showroom – and branding matters

Rochester, MI   February 22, 2017 – Half of all new cars and trucks will be accessorized in the first two years of ownership, representing over 7 million new vehicles being accessorized each year.  And when making decisions about the accessories they buy, consumers rank accessory brand names high on their list of important criteria, according to a recent study by metro-Detroit based automotive research firm Foresight Research.


According to the recently released study, “Inside the Accessory Buyer’s Mind”, most recent new car and truck buyers who install accessories within their first two years of ownership say that accessory brand names are important; Moreover, more than half say it is important that accessories are made by their own new vehicle brand.


The study found that spur-of-the-moment accessory sales happen infrequently – the majority of new vehicle buyers are doing careful research before making the purchase.  With most of this research being done on the web and through brochures, Chris Stommel, President of Foresight Research says that accessories carrying a reputable brand name – such as a vehicle manufacturer’s own brand – along with a communications marketing strategy that includes digital and brochures, will go a long way toward a successful marketing strategy.


“The showroom remains a critical point-of-purchase; the study confirms that when personnel do hold an accessory conversation during the dealership visit, both installation rates and total spending rise,” Stommel says.  “But as today’s consumers are well-prepared before that even occurs, accessory marketers need a clear understanding of their customers, where they are gathering their information – and what messages will ring the bell.  This is particularly important when trying to capture the big spenders – those representing just 29% of all accessory buyers yet 76% of all dollars spent.”


The study also finds that across the industry, accessory dollars per new vehicle retailed averages $247 in the first 120 days and $974 within the first two years.  Of all 23 brands studied, the leaders in installation and spending are luxury brands (Acura, BMW, Audi and Cadillac), while Ram and Ford lead in the all-important pickup truck segment.


Stommel adds that with 1-in-5 accessory buyers reporting that accessories played a major role in their vehicle purchase decision, a successful accessory marketing strategy can pay off not only in accessory revenue but also in influencing the vehicle purchase.


The “Inside the Accessory Buyers Mind” report outlines the accessory market size and structure, buyer attitudes and behaviors, effective marketing strategies and the roles of accessory branding and budget.