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The 2013 SEMA Show is history and has left no doubt that the automotive specialty equipment industry is stronger than ever.

While final attendance figures are being audited, organizers report that more than 126,000 credentials were issued prior to the event, with thousands more processed onsite. The numbers represented a 7% increase over the previous year, and the highest in SEMA show history.

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Photo courtesy SEMA

“A trade show is a reflection of the industry it serves,” said Chris Kersting, SEMA President and CEO. “The unprecedented participation levels this year indicate the industry is moving into growth mode. This was a record-breaking year and we’re seeing companies ready and eager to do business.”

On the show floor of the Las Vegas Convention Center were 2,381 exhibiting companies, representing all facets of the automotive specialty-equipment market – from accessory and appearance products, performance products, wheels, tires, and suspension – basically anything and everything anyone could want to personalize on the more than 200 million cars, trucks, SUVs, and power-sport vehicles on and off the road. Representing mostly small businesses, the exhibitors turn to the SEMA Show to connect with more than 60,000 buyers throughout the world.

“We’re seeing more exhibitors take part in programs such as the New Products Showcase,” said Kersting. “This is an indication to us that exhibitors are looking for and taking advantage of ways to get the most out of their Show experience.

“They are actively looking to connect with new and existing buyers, he said.

More than 2,000 entries were submitted into the Showcase, with the best-of-the-best receiving special recognition.

Throughout the show, SEMA members continued to take advantage of a full schedule of seminars and events that provide an unparalleled opportunity to learn first-hand what trends will affect their business.

More than 50 free education courses and several “Pay-to-Attend” educational events organized by the SEMA Education Institute (SEI) were conducted and held at the convention center – covering everything from online marketing to customer service, management, industry trends and more.

Led by top industry experts, these courses were designed to give members practical tools that can be implemented immediately.

“The SEMA Education Institute helps our members’ businesses succeed and prosper,” said Tom Myroniak, Vice President of Marketing and Member Services. “Attending any one of the programs offered at the SEMA show opened up an entirely new set of opportunities for them to increase sales and grow profits.”

The SEMA Annual Market Report, available exclusively for SEMA members at www.sema.org/automotive-aftermarket-research, estimates there were $31.32B in retail sales in 2012, up from less than $28B during the height of the recession in 2009. Based on the excitement and attendance at the 2013 SEMA Show, this year promises to continue that upward trend.

There was a lot of action off the show floor as well.
Four new members of the SEMA Hall of Fame were honored at the ­annual SEMA Awards Banquet: George Barris, Eric Grant, Joe Schubeck and Wade Kawasaki.

SEMA’s first president and founder of Isky Cams, Ed ­Iskenderian, was also on-hand to partake in the festivities, headlined by American Idol-winning singer Taylor Hicks.

And, more than 250 SEMA Global Media Awards were handed out to exhibitors whose products had the most potential in overseas markets, as determined by the dozens of top international journalists attending the SEMA Show.

“Now it’s time for everyone to go home, tally their orders and prepare for another great year of selling more parts,” Kersting said.

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