While final attendance figures are being audited, organizers of the recent SEMA Show report that more than 126,000 credentials were issued prior to the event, with thousands more processed onsite. The numbers represented a 7 percent increase over the previous year, and the highest in SEMA Show history.
“A trade show is a reflection of the industry it serves,” said Chris Kersting, SEMA president and CEO. “The unprecedented participation levels this year indicate the industry is moving into growth mode. This was a record-breaking year and we’re seeing companies ready and eager to do business.”
On the show floor were 2,381 exhibiting companies, representing all facets of the automotive specialty-equipment market – from accessory and appearance products, performance products, wheels, tires and suspension – basically anything and everything anyone could want to personalize the more than 200 million cars, trucks, SUVs and power-sport vehicles on and off the road. Representing mostly small businesses, the exhibitors turn to the SEMA Show to connect with more than 60,000 buyers from throughout the world.
“We’re seeing more exhibitors take part in programs such as the New Products Showcase,” said Kersting. “This is an indication to us that exhibitors are looking for and taking advantage of ways to get the most out of their show experience. They are actively looking to connect with new and existing buyers.” More than 2,000 entries were submitted into the Showcase, with the best-of-the-best receiving special recognition."
The SEMA Annual Market Report, available exclusively to SEMA members at http://www.sema.org/automotive-aftermarket-research, estimates there were $31.32 billion in retail sales in 2012, up from less than $28 billion during the height of the recession in 2009. Based on the excitement and attendance at the 2013 SEMA Show, this year promises to continue that upward trend.
There was a lot of action off the show floor as well.
Four new members of the SEMA Hall of Fame were honored at the annual SEMA Awards Banquet – George Barris, Eric Grant, Joe Schubeck and Wade Kawasaki. SEMA’s first president and founder of Isky Cams, Ed Iskenderian, was there to partake in the festivities, headlined by American Idol-winning singer Taylor Hicks. And more than 250 SEMA Global Media Awards were handed out to exhibitors whose products had the most potential in overseas markets, as determined by the dozens of top international journalists attending the SEMA Show.
“Now it’s time for everyone to go home, tally their orders and prepare for another great year of selling more parts,” Kersting said.