Market Snapshot

Data Reveals 2009 SEMA Show Drew More Successful Buyers

  show floor
  Seventy-five percent of 2009 SEMA Show buyers were from the United States and were most interested in exterior accessories.

Even as the specialty-equipment industry grows worldwide and international attendance at the annual SEMA Show continues to increase, the bulk of buyers still come from the United States, according to data from SEMA Show researchers Hedges & Company.

At the 2009 SEMA Show, 75% of buyers (as well as total attendees) were from the United States.

And in an encouraging trend, 57% of American businesses in attendance had been operating for 11 or more years, an increase of 5% from 2008.

The typical U.S. buyer at the SEMA Show has been in business for more than a decade, has $1 million or less in annual sales from one location and does at least some wholesale business.

In 2009, 68% reported at least 10% of their business was wholesale, a 3% decrease from 2008. The data also shows that buyers from companies doing 51% or more of wholesale business decreased in 2009, while companies not doing any wholesale business grew 2%, up to 32%.

Additionally, 66% of businesses attending the 2009 SEMA Show operated from a single location, a 3% increase from 2008.

With the exception of the Western region buyers, who showed most interest in engines, engine parts and components, exterior accessories was the product category of most interest to the rest of the country's buyers. This was followed by engines, engine parts and components; interior accessories; car care, cleaning, wax and polish; and graphics and trim.

Buyers from the Eastern region showed the strongest interest in appearance, restyling and lighting products and also registered more curiousity in business systems and car care and cleaning than buyers from any other region. Western buyers, not surprisingly, gravitated to engine, transmission and exhaust parts and also had a higher interest in equipment and parts than buyers from other regions.

Most U.S. Show attendees came from the West (57%), followed by the South (18%), Midwest (16%) and the Eastern region (9%).

Fewer buyers came from California in 2009, however, a decrease of 17%. Other notable buyer declines included Michigan (-62%) and Ohio (-38%), although 22 states sent more buyers than in 2008, the largest increases coming from Nevada and Texas.

For information about the upcoming 2010 SEMA Show, visit