Putting the “P” in Powersports

Putting the “P” in Powersports

PowersportsSide-By-Sides Revolutionize the Market Segment, Making Way for a Robust Aftermarket

By Stefanie Galeano-Zalutko

Indisputably, the powersports market continues to expand its consumer reach annually, with tens of thousands of units sold across the ATV, side-by-side (SSV), motorcycle, powerboat, personal watercraft (PWC), and snowmobile categories. In particular, four wheelers have taken the world by storm—UTV multi-purpose, UTV work, and UTV sport account for the top three segments within powersports.

As author Clint Simone stated in the July issue of SEMA News, these purchases are “equal parts fun and capable.” Evolving from a utilitarian design originally intended for commercial purposes to a reputable staple within the off-road segment, SSVs offer aftermarket manufacturers a fresh platform for product innovation.

Today, these units are more versatile than ever before, featuring advancements that make them ideal for a number of landscapes, jobs, and competition. If the truck and Jeep® aftermarket taught the industry at large anything, it’s this: with such widespread appeal comes a desire to personalize, from cosmetic upgrades like custom paint and vinyl decal applications to increased power output and storage capacity. While customization is evident across the spectrum of powersports, its popularity is running wild in the SSV category.

PowersportsOE manufacturers within the powersports segment continue to flirt with accessories development. And why wouldn’t they if it’s going to generate additional revenue, especially at the point of purchase? But with heightened safety and liability concerns to contend with, its aftermarket counterpart is the arm of the business that’s really been able to deliver the kind of quality, aggressiveness, and hardcore performance that consumers require in order to explore a variety of terrains.

When it comes to historic performance, monstrous names like Uni Filter and K&N come to mind—the latter of which actually got its official start during 1969 in desert racing and later produced the original washable, reusable air filter. Now, “we have a few racers that we sponsor in the UTV sector: RJ Anderson, Mitch Gutheries, and Katie Vernola,” said Ross Bertlanga, Brand Manager for K&N Automotive/Powersports and AEM Inductions. Likewise, others such as Fox Shocks and Maxxis Tires have been influential in attracting new blood into the lifestyle.

Nowadays, the powersports segment is linked closely with economic stability and, therefore, thrives on the discretionary spending levels of consumers who, strategists estimate, have a household income of $100,000+. In addition to the unit itself, Bertlanga discussed how the average buyer easily drops at least $8,000 in aftermarket accessories to take the purchase to the next level. So, the big question becomes, what’s selling?

Powersports“First and foremost, safety. We see upgrades via riding style performance harnesses, better seats. They want to be secure going at a high rate of speed. Aftermarket doors that ensure drivers and passengers are fully enclosed is a big deal, too,” said Bertlanga. Other safety products include racing helmets, goggles, gloves, and roll cages.

According to some shops below the Canadian border, aftermarket tires, recovery, suspension, performance (intake, exhaust, programmers), exterior protection, storage, and lighting are very common as well. Next to upgraded tires that showcase their worth on every spin, a winch is the single most-used product. Quite literally, new trails can’t be blazed without one.

Consumers should consider trusted brands and products like Maxxis Big Horn or Kenda Bear Claw tires, WARN or Smittybilt winches, High Lifter suspension, Rigid Industries or Vision-X LED technology, K&N air intakes, HMF Racing, Twin Air, Power Commander exhaust and tuning, Trinity accessories, and North Cargo storage solutions. Functional items like hard parts, mirrors, windshields, and even hitches make the cut as well.

Categories: Features, Off-Road Plus