In 2008, the restoration market held its ground and fended off economic
troubles. With the overall market shuddering in the wake of myriad
disasters, enthusiasts looking to restore their automotive passion and
collector cars came through decidedly.
Despite a small dip in retail sales, the restoration marketplace
survived 2008 with $1.45 billion in retail sales, just 3% off the
previous year not bad considering how other parts of the industry ended
the year. One of the many reasons for this stability is the types of
consumers who participate in the restoration hobby.
Other segments, namely the light-truck market, depend heavily on new
customers and, to a great extent, non-endemic customers. Being fickle
and uninvested in the hobby lends them to ditching the market quickly.
Restoration and collector vehicle consumers are less capricious and
have more market loyalty.
For these reasons the restoration market picked up market share in
comparison to the rest of the industry. Some segments receded while the
restoration market remained fairly flat.
“Call volume is down from 12 months ago, but the quality jobs are still
coming," says Jim Barber, owner of Classic Automotive Restoration
Specialists and member of SEMA’s Automotive Restoration Market
Organization (ARMO) council. "We have ‘ate’ into our backlog to a
Times are certainly tough, but the opportunities are still out there
and companies can take the crisis to realign with their audience.
“The slow down has given my staff time to focus on cost-saving measures and better customer communication," Barber adds.
Calling old customers, reaching out to new ones and reestablishing a
strong customer service ethic will build sales and customer loyalty,
something beneficial when economic conditions force people to make
difficult financial decisions.
From SEMA eNews