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Tuner customers are maturing, says SEMA

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Sport compact enthusiasts are growing older and more educated, according to research by the Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA).

The association's 2006 Compact Performance Market Report looks at customer demographics in three categories:

* Gender: "It's no secret this industry has a disproportionate leaning toward males, but a growing number of female enthusiasts have changed the landscape, participating in everything from customizing to racing," say SEMA officials. "Female participation" in the sport compact segment is around 20%.

* Age: "The segment is often labeled as the youth market, but such a title is no longer a precise fit as the average age hovers around 25 to 27 years old. We are seeing groups in their 40s, 50s and even 60s who are just as motivated to customize their compacts as the younger crowd."

*Education: "More than half (58%) of those surveyed attended some amount of college, with 25% obtaining a degree. More telling, 89% had graduated high school.

"This illustrates a bump in education compared to previous years and could explain the growing trend of consumers adopting research into their buying decisions."

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