SEMA News—October 2015


Friday at the SEMA Show: A Huge Opportunity

 Chris Kersting

Each year, the team at SEMA aims to deliver a SEMA Show that grows in opportunities and value for our exhibitors and attendees. With just 31 days until we open the 2015 edition, plans have crystalized, registration numbers are up over last year, and it’s clear that the trend will continue. And yet our data indicates a change in the pattern, suggesting new opportunities late in the week.

Specifically, Friday is taking on a role of added importance. Hotel bookings indicate thousands more rooms have been booked for Friday night this year, pointing to a very big close to the 2015 SEMA Show. We believe that there are several factors leading to this change, and they all mean a more productive and valuable final day at
the Show.

First, there are more exhibiting manufacturers with more new products for the buyers to see. Last year’s Show had the greatest number of exhibiting companies in Show history. And this year, the Show is on track to deliver more than 2,500 exhibiting companies—setting yet another new exhibitor record. So it makes sense that buyers are staying on Friday in order see more.

And that’s not just a guess. In 2014, we tracked the number of buyers who reported spending time on the Show floor on Friday. More than half of the 60,000 buyers who attended the Show indicated that they were present that day. With our 2015 buyer registration up 11% over last year, and with Friday hotel bookings up 37%, we expect a banner day.

The second factor is that participation in SEMA Show Education Days has been increasing over the past several years. In order to make the most of a strong educational lineup and still have time to connect with exhibitors, buyers appear to be staying for the full Show week. On the Show floor Friday, booths stay open until 4:00 p.m., and all Show features are operational, including the New Products Showcase, the SCORE Baja 1000 experience, the Toyo Treadpass and the Omix-ADA Off-Road Success Center.

A third factor that has folks staying for Friday is SEMA Ignited, which begins with the rolling display of Show cars and trucks—the SEMA Cruise—as they depart the Convention Center at 4:00 p.m. The Cruise this year heads just across the street to the Gold Lot, the site of this year’s SEMA Ignited.

In its second year, Ignited is the official SEMA after-party that doubles as an outstanding media and consumer event, shining a spotlight on the cool cars, trucks and equipment the industry brings to Las Vegas. This year, Ignited will feature drifting and other vehicle demo activities, food, music and, of course, hundreds of unique custom cars.

Because the SEMA Show is closed to consumers, SEMA Ignited gives the enthusiast public a firsthand chance to check out hundreds of SEMA custom cars and trucks. And it’s a unique opportunity for SEMA Show exhibitors to generate broader awareness for their brands and take advantage of the retail atmosphere.

One signature element, the Battle of the Builders, will allow the public to see and celebrate the custom vehicle builders who are competing for top honors. The competition is captured for a prime-time television special that will air on the Velocity Network. And it’s all right next door.

Last year, we estimated that about 10,000 people came to Ignited. This year, we’re seeing people sign up earlier and expect an even bigger turnout. Tickets are available for purchase through a variety of sources, but if you’re a SEMA Show attendee, your badge will get you in at no charge.

All in all, we’re looking at a jam-packed week, with Friday offering the best the SEMA Show has to offer. If you haven’t made plans to join us for Friday, it’s not too late to visit, take a look at the calendar of events and make your plan!

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