2012 SEMA Show Highlights

SEMA News—January 2013

EVENTS

2012 SEMA Show Highlights

Innovations of Generations Showcased in Las Vegas

As the specialty-equipment industry’s premier trade event, the annual SEMA Show is the number-one barometer of automotive specialty-equipment trends. If anything, the 2012 SEMA Show, held October 30 through November 2 in Las Vegas, indicated a vibrant, growing industry definitely bullish on the future.

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Consider these Show statistics: Total attendance rose to 135,000—up 2% over last year. Meanwhile, exhibitors hit the 2,250 mark, with 500 of them being first-timers. There were more than 60,000 buyers plying the Show floor, along with 3,000 media representatives. All in all, the Show offered 1 million net square feet of innovation, education and business opportunities.

“The SEMA Show remains the largest small-business gathering in the United States,” said SEMA President and CEO Chris Kersting. “It’s an amazing event where the specialty-equipment industry forges new partnerships while exploring and celebrating the latest trends that continue to make the automotive aftermarket a vibrant sector of the national economy and, increasingly, the international marketplace as well. We’re extremely pleased with the positive feedback we’ve received from every quarter of Show participants.”

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SEMA Vice President of Communications and Events Peter MacGillivray noted that the groundswell of industry support for the 2012 SEMA Show was evident everywhere. “The Show continues to grow, delivering clearly perceived value to attendees through exciting new and featured products, Show vehicles, educational seminars and special events, and media exposure,” he said. “But most importantly, exhibitors and buyers alike are reporting quality connections at record levels. The SEMA Show is clearly the place the industry comes to do business.”

Performance, style, inspiration, leadership, marketing, learning and more—they were all on display at the 2012 SEMA Show. In the following pages we offer a sampling of Show highlights designed not so much to look back, but forward to what we anticipate will be an even more groundbreaking 2013 Show, to be held November 5–8 at the Las Vegas Convention Center. For a more detailed view of the 2012 Show (and to get complete information for 2013), be sure to visit www.SEMAShow.com.

GLOBAL

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The SEMA Show acts as a magnet for automotive retailers and installers, who travel from dozens of countries around the world to do business under one roof in Las Vegas. For the second year in a row, buyer registration topped the 60,000 mark, and attendance by international buyers from the Middle East, Asia, South America, Australia—and many more regions—was a factor in that trend. Taking advantage of the opportunity, many SEMA Show exhibitors showed that they are aggressively leveraging the export trend to expand sales. Product offerings in the Wheels & Accessories section, which grew in size by more than 20%, were especially rich. 

 

INSPIRATION

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“Look what I found,” is a phrase that comes up a hundred times and more at every SEMA Show, as buyers connect the dots between a new idea and a product discovered on the Show floor. Thousands come to find parts that will solve a problem, fit a particular need or help make a custom vehicle more fun to operate. They may find exactly that, or just as likely, leave with a new plan to create something better yet. With more than 500 companies exhibiting for the first time ever, buyers and media were treated to a fresh wave of never-before-seen product offerings.

     

MARKETING

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The 2012 SEMA Show saw a flood of new parts and pieces brought to the Show floor. Exhibitor participation was up by 5% overall, and Ideas Alive: Featuring the New Products Showcase—a Show feature that concentrates new parts into a single Show section for easy identification and inspection—was larger than the prior year by 6%. Ideas Alive is a key destination for buyers and media who can quickly scan and download product information as they go. This year, foot traffic in the New Product Showcase was especially thick.

 

STYLE

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Nowhere in the world is freedom of style and purpose more evident than at the SEMA Show, where thousands of exhibitors combine style with mechanical ingenuity. Some ignite new trends and some share new ideas and perspectives that mix and combine over time. But the desire to come up with something different is on display everywhere, as individuals and companies exercise their right to express their own sense of design—and, in the process, reach out for their piece of the American Dream.

     

LEARNING

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With hundreds of experts on hand to share best practices and technical insights, the SEMA Show provides an unparalleled opportunity to learn first-hand how to succeed in a fast-changing business environment. The 100-plus scheduled educational events for the 2012 SEMA Show gave attendees the opportunity to absorb new technologies and technical skills, catch up on industry trends and return to work the following week with practical tools that can be implemented the day they return.

 

SHOWCASE

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The SEMA Show provides an amazing opportunity to launch new products and spread innovative ideas. A record number of registered journalists, including daily news reporters, magazine editors, television news crews, bloggers and electronic media representatives of all kinds chose to file stories based on what they saw at the Show—virtually ensuring that any newsworthy event, large or small, quickly came to the attention of the enthusiast world.

     

SCOPE

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As if more than 2,250 exhibitors filling the Convention Center was not enough, the depth and breath of the industry becomes obvious when the Show officially closes, and the SEMA Cruise begins. Thousands of fans show up to catch a glimpse of hundreds of custom cars, trucks and motorcycles—representing every possible sort of automotive category—as they exit the Show. Car after car, hour after hour, the Cruise is a rolling testament to the countless shapes the automotive aftermarket can take and the huge number of participants who are committed to it.

 

PERFORMANCE

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Enthusiasm takes many shapes, and performance is measured in many ways—including racing. The Racing & Performance section of the 2012 SEMA Show experienced significant growth in size and participation, and the Ford Out Front section of the Show allowed space for all kinds of race-bred vehicles to show what they could do. Here we see Robbie Gordon at the wheel, just having some fun, before an appreciative crowd.

     

LEADERSHIP

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Shaping the priorities of a trade association is no easy task, and the work is never done. For the past few years, connecting the next generation with the original founders of the automotive aftermarket has been a key focus for association leadership. At this year’s Show, there were more youth-oriented events and activities than ever before, as special attention was paid to the innovations and accomplishments the younger generation brings to the industry.

 

CELEBRATE

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Evenings were the time for friends and colleagues to come together, take a moment to relax and celebrate the accomplishments of a full day at the Show. With dozens of receptions and functions starting immediately after the Show floor closed, attendees were treated to rich and varied social networking opportunities every night, without setting foot outside the Las Vegas Convention Center.

 

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