It’s almost summertime - and selling specialty trailer tires is easy, according to Manny Cicero, CEO of Triangle Tire USA.
Cicero says consumers’ pandemic-fueled shift to open-air activities during the last 14 months has supercharged the already-thriving outdoor recreation industry.
And that’s good news for dealers who sell specialty trailer tires.
“I think one of the very few bright spots of COVID-19 was the shifting of leisure time patterns,” he says. “People couldn’t travel abroad and instead found interest in going outdoors.”
Participation in camping, boating, horseback riding and other outdoor hobbies has increased during the pandemic. Consumers also have ramped up home maintenance activities, including landscaping.
“All of these things hit at once,” he says, causing a surge in demand for specialty trailer tires. “We have had tremendous demand and tremendous backorders.”
But will demand remain at a high level?
“That’s the question we all have. What will happen when the world returns to normal? Will people go back to being couch potatoes and traveling on cruises?”
According to Triangle research, “a younger audience” has embraced outdoor recreation.
“And the people who have shifted to this lifestyle say they don’t plan to go back,” says Cicero. “They enjoy it and expect to continue, so in that sense, I think demand will stay strong. But will it stay at the manic levels of today? I can’t answer that.”
In the meantime, Cicero has some advice for tire dealers who are thinking about selling specialty trailer tires.
“First and foremost is recognizing that the market is huge. I can’t tell you how many large, sophisticated retailers I’ve talked to who are in prime markets for outdoor recreation and do not sell specialty trailer tires.
“And I sit there and go, ‘You’re in this area where there is tremendous boating and camping - and you’re missing the boat.’
“If you’re not focused on specialty trailer tires, you will want to consider it because it’s a nice addition to anyone’s line. Landscapers and other users also are there. The market is just so broad.”
Cicero also says dealers need to understand the intricacies of the products and their applications.
“A lot of consumers still think specialty trailer tires are passenger tires because of the size of the sidewall, so it should be an easy substitution,” he notes “That would be a mistake.”
Drill for as much information as possible when talking with customers.
“You have to ask (end users) a lot of questions. You have to know about loaded weights and speeds and the parts of the country they plan to travel in.
“You have to qualify the customer more than just asking, ‘What do you like on the sidewall or the tread pattern?’ It really is a qualified sale - not just off-the-shelf.
“Specialty trailer tires are made differently and for the most part, carry high-value products. You want to make sure the product you sell has a history and reputation for quality.”