SEMA – Disneyland for the automotive customization market

Peter, what gets people excited about the SEMA Show?

Well for starters, more than 150,000 people attend the SEMA Show each year in Las Vegas.  It includes all the OEMs and buyers that are associated with the automotive customization market. If you are looking for products that enhance the performance, styling and functionality of cars, trucks, and SUVs then the SEMA Show is the place to be.


The ‘Top Reasons Your Business Needs to Attend’ video found at and on YouTube really shows that the attendees, the buyers, are diverse representatives of the automotive aftermarket world, but more importantly, Peter, it shows that they’re overwhelmingly happy with their SEMA Show experience.

Well, at the end of the day, the SEMA Show is the number one media destination because it’s the number one buyers’ destination. Buyers from retail shops all over the world come to the SEMA Show seeking the hot new products to sell to their customers.  Like I said, the SEMA Show has 2,400 exhibitors, which makes it, unequivocally the best place for buyers to discover the best new products that will help their businesses grow.

The return on investment for participating in the SEMA Show is high. Participants are able to conduct a great deal of business at the Show. A single badge allows entry to the Show all four days, and we’re seeing a trend in attendees staying longer and longer. More and more people are realizing that rather than rushing and attending just a single day that they will get a greater return by staying multiple days.


So, how’s the 2018 show shaping up? How many new products will be featured this year, Peter?

We never really know what we’ll see until the week of the SEMA Show, but the upcoming event is shaping up to be exciting. Registration numbers are strong, the New Product Showcase is on track to feature an amazing variety of products, and we have some new events that reflect the changing landscape of the industry.


The SEMA Show has been going on since the Johnson Administration, Peter. The Show clearly thrived without the aid of social media, but I’m wondering how it’s impacted how you sell the Show to new comers, whether they’re exhibitors or attendees.

Well, social media is another tool, the newest tool, for exhibitors to generate awareness for their products. Because the SEMA Show is a trade-only event, tools such as social media are instrumental in helping exhibitors connect with consumers. The consumer connection has increasingly become more and more important, which is the reason we introduced SEMA Ignited a few years ago. SEMA Ignited is the official SEMA Show after-party and it’s open to consumers. It’s a rare opportunity for the general public to see and participate in the SEMA Show. If I could extend an invitation to your readers, I’d love for them to visit


I visited the SEMA Ignited webpage before our interview, and I’ve got to tell you, Peter, it’s one of the more exciting webpage designs in the industry  I’ve seen in recent memory.

That being said, do you have any advice for first time SEMA attendees or exhibitors or people learning about SEMA Ignited for the first time?

We always emphasize planning in advance. It’s unrealistic to expect to show up the day of the event on October 30th and get the maximum value of the Show.


We begin working with exhibitors months in advance, and hold an event with exhibitors in Las Vegas in June to prepare. Even those who did not attend are able to connect with dedicated account reps who help exhibitors with all their Show needs. From identifying goals to targeting buyers, account reps are available to help exhibitors will all their show needs.


Likewise, attendees can plan in advance by reading SEMA eNews each week, and referring to the SEMA Show mobile app. There, the latest news and updates about the Show will be included. Following the official SEMA Show social media accounts is another great resource.


I see that there are several SEMA Show special events – can you please say a few things about these events?

In addition to new products and trends, the SEMA Show is an overall experience that includes networking, education and socializing. All Show-goers are invited to attend the more than 60 educational sessions, the traditional New Products Breakfast, the SEMA Industry Awards Banquet and SEMA Ignited that will happen from October 30th until November 2nd. Again, I encourage all those people with gas in their veins 24/7 to check out the complete list of events is at

Look forward to seeing you all in Las Vegas.

By David MacDonald