Worldwide Reach: Quarter of All SEMA Show Buyers Come From Outside U.S.

international buyers
One of every four buyers at the 2009 SEMA Show came from outside the United States.

Demonstrating the specialty-equipment industry's growing global reach, international buyer and attendee attendance continues to climb. Hailing from 140 countries and U.S. territories, 2009 SEMA Show international attendees increased to 25%, a 5% rise from 2008, according Hedges & Company data.

One of every four buyers at the 2009 SEMA Show came from outside the United States, with the percentage of international buyers increasing from 22% in 2008 to 25% in 2009.

Ninety percent of international buyers had the ability to make buying decisions or recommendations, which is three points higher than the net buying influence of domestic buyers.

Forty-two percent of international buyers were from businesses with annual sales of less than $1 million, while 59% of international buyers were from businesses in operation 11 or more years. Eighty-two percent reported at least 10% of their business was wholesale compared to 68% for U.S. buyers.

International buyers also reported a higher mix of wholesale business, 73% of which have $5 million or less in annual sales from one location and wholesale is half of their business.

For international buyers, the top three product interests were engines/engine parts components (16%), tires (12%), wheels/hubcaps/accessories (11%) and replacement parts (11%). The top 10 products currently carried were engine/engine parts components (26%), brakes (23%), tires (20%) and exterior accessories (20%). Like most American buyers, exterior accessories were the top product interest among Canadian buyers.

The top five countries with the highest number of attendees included Canada (30% of all estimated international attendees), followed by Mexico (11%), Australia (8%), Japan (5%) and Venezuela (3%). These five countries combined provided 57% of the Show’s estimated international attendees.

For the sixth consecutive year, Canada had the largest increase (28%) in international estimated attendance. Attendance from Canada has increased 88% since 2004 and the country now sends more people to the SEMA Show than the eastern region of the United States. There was also increased attendance from Mexico (64%), Australia (131%) and Japan (46%) in 2009.

Canadian attendees came from 12 provinces. Alberta provided the most estimated Canadian attendees with 28%, followed by Ontario with 24%. British Columbia, Quebec and Saskatchewan rounded out the top five. For the second straight year, Saskatchewan had the largest percentage increase in attendees with 146% (excluding Prince Edward Island and Northwest Territories).

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