[dropcap]W[/dropcap]ith respect to my late colleague Jim Smith, editor of our sister publication Tire Review, who passed away suddenly last month, he wrote in one of his first columns: “The process of mating paper and ink is relatively easy. Our real focus is to provide useful and timely information and insight that benefits your business – build sales, increase profits, prepare for the future, enjoy success. And to bring that to you in a vital, interesting fashion.”
With this in mind, we present our Powersports Industry Profile on page 26, which we think is ‘useful and timely’ in several ways, and helps powersports dealers, whether franchised or independent, understand their businesses a little better when compared to others in the industry.
Anyone can conduct a survey these days with a few clicks of a mouse, but the accuracy of the data you collect from them is another story. We sent out survey requests to a random sample of readers and received 219 completed surveys back by late February. This allowed enough time for dealers to tabulate their 2015 numbers. Our research department said that the responses fall into the 95 confidence level range with what we have published.
The population of dealers we surveyed is split pretty much down the middle between franchised dealers and non-franchised independent shops. One of the things we have done is try to keep the questions the same each year so that we can compare to the previous year. If you see an arrow pointing up or down, that indicates the trend compared to 2014. We also note in some areas whether the response was from a dealer who sells new units or one who does not.
You will also notice a few things: more dealers are either carrying one brand or more than four, the middle seems to be dropping quickly. Dealers on both ends of the spectrum are feeling the effects of Internet retailers. But the threat is not killing sales, it is making you work to find ways to compete against them. Revenues are also up for a larger percentage of you compared to last year.
Jim concluded his column with, “This is YOUR magazine, we are only caretakers.” We completely agree. Please drop us a note if you see something we missed or areas we can improve.