SEMA News—September 2011 

SEMA Show 2011: Buyers Getting Revved


Chris Kersting, SEMA President and CEO

The nation’s economic challenges mean that all of us in the industry continue to push for efficient ways to increase profits. The SEMA Show continues to be a strong value proposition—and you don’t have to take my word for it; the data tells the story.

I’m pleased to report that the 2011 SEMA Show is well ahead of last year’s strong showing in nearly every aspect. Show registrations are a sign of the value of last year’s success for both exhibitors and buyers. The number of exhibiting companies is up 15% year-to-date, and booth space is up 11%. We are also far ahead in buyer registrations in year-over-year comparisons. Why?

We conducted a follow-up survey after last year’s Show that indicated the event was working very well for buyers. In that survey, nine out of 10 buyers (91%) rated the Show as “excellent” or “good,” and nearly four out of five buyers (79%) told us that their company would be returning in 2011. Among exhibitors, a full 85% rated their overall satisfaction with the Show as “excellent” or “good,” which was a big increase from the two prior years.

All indications are that the industry is building on the momentum from the 2010 Show. And what are the leading value offerings?

The fact that the SEMA Show is a showcase for new product introductions seems to be the single, most important factor. Four out of five buyers told us that they came looking for new products.

We have plans this year to make new products even easier to find at the Show. That’s the idea behind the New Products Showcase, with its innovative electronic bar-code lead-retrieval system. Buyers can look at nearly 2,000 new products and quickly have descriptions and contact data sent to them, saving steps and time. For 2011, the New Products Showcase has been expanded and revamped so that buyers will be able to peruse more products in even less time.

The Show also makes face-to-face contact practical on a grand scale. Where else can you meet with so many prospective business contacts in a single day? And we’ve already booked hundreds of first-time exhibitors for 2011 who can be expected to bring a wide assortment of new products and new deliverables for buyers. They’ll be joining the ranks of long-time exhibitors and are ready to do business.

Something else that is still important to many attendees: The SEMA Show is a good buying opportunity. Our surveys show that three out of four buyers (77%) took advantage of a SEMA Show special or a discount that was available at the Show.

Top-notch educational opportunities are another reason industry professionals need to get to the SEMA Show. Attendees can take both traditional and online courses covering business efficiency, business management, customer service and sales solutions, exhibitor product training, industry trends and forecasts, legal and public policy and marketing. There are also specific tracks available for tire-industry professionals along with vehicle technology supersessions. Attendees can spend a day taking training that can translate into a more efficient business, better customer service, more effective marketing campaigns, professional growth and getting products to market quicker. The result is fresh ideas and a competitive edge in the professional marketplace to bring back home.

Las Vegas has long been a trade-friendly, easy-to-get-to location that affords virtually every kind of post-Show networking opportunity for attendees. If you haven’t made plans to attend, now’s the time. It’s easier than ever: Just go to the new SEMA Show webpage at and sign up. While you’re there, you can map out your plan of attack using the planning tools on the Show site, and check out the discounts we’ve arranged for hotel rooms and airfare.

We’re looking forward to another outstanding SEMA Show and to having you be a part of it. We’ll see you there!

—Chris Kersting, SEMA President and CEO

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