SEMA Show Comes Roaring Back to Las Vegas
After an almost two-year hiatus, the Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA), the trade association representing the $47.8 billion automotive specialty equipment industry, recently wrapped up a successful 2021 edition of the SEMA Show, the largest North American automotive trade show to take place since the pandemic shut the world down in 2020.
Held Nov. 2-5 in all four halls of the Las Vegas Convention Center (LVCC), the sprawling event attracted more than 100,000 attendees, exhibitors and media spanning 4.6 million square feet of convention space and an additional 2.2 million sq. ft. of outdoor space on the LVCC campus.
As it does every year, SEMA once again collocated with the Automotive Aftermarket Products Expo (AAPEX), held Nov. 2-4 at The Venetian Expo (formerly Sands Expo), as part of the city’s annual Automotive Aftermarket Week.
“The industry was clearly excited to be back in-person at the SEMA Show, both to capture business opportunities and to network and celebrate the world’s greatest collection of innovation on wheels,” said Chris Kersting, president and CEO of SEMA. “Our industry was waiting to reconnect, and the SEMA Show was a welcome homecoming after nearly two years apart.”
Out on an energetic showfloor, more than 51,000 buyers were eager to conduct business with more than 1,300 exhibitors showcasing their latest automotive innovations and automotive manufacturers launching new vehicles, while celebrities unveiled high-profile restyles to a captivated crowd of car lovers.
“We were excited to see our old friends and colleagues after being apart for so long,” said Exhibitor Kathryn Reinhardt, director of retail marketing at 4 Wheel Parts. “We did a lot of business at this year’s SEMA Show. It was clear that our industry was ready to meet and had two years of innovations to show off.”
One of the hottest trends at this year’s SEMA Show was electrification and electrified vehicles. From modifications for new electric vehicles (EV) to how to modify an internal combustion engine vehicle with a new electric motor, exhibitors and builders demonstrated that the EV market is a growing segment for the automotive aftermarket industry. A new show area, SEMA Electrified, included electric vehicles and products designed for modifying electric vehicles or converting vehicles to electric power.
“Our industry has embraced electrification,” said Tom Gattuso, vice president of events at SEMA. “We saw electric vehicles and electrified vehicles in every hall at the SEMA Show. Our industry is on the cutting edge of technology. Products you see at the SEMA Show often become standard and mainstream five to 10 years after [debuting] at the Show.”
Along with special show presentations and activations, including interactive driving demos and a display of more than 50 off-road racing vehicles ranging from motorcycles to trophy trucks, automotive professionals took full advantage of skill-enhancing education and opportunities to connect and network with industry peers.
On the final evening of the show, SEMA opened its doors to the general public via the annual SEMA Ignited afterparty, a special event for car enthusiasts held in the LVCC’s West Hall parking area. Car enthusiasts had a chance to get a glimpse of the latest vehicles, automotive products and experiences while enjoying a parade of hundreds of vehicles, drifting demonstrations, outdoor booth displays, music, live entertainment, food trucks and refreshments.
While attendees were required to wear face masks to attend the SEMA Show, proof of vaccination was not mandated at this year’s event.
Since debuting in 1967, the SEMA Show has served as the leading venue bringing together manufacturers and buyers within the automotive specialty equipment industry. Held the first week of November in Las Vegas since 1977, the event showcases products that enhance the styling, functionality, comfort, convenience and safety of cars and trucks.
The SEMA Show will return to Las Vegas Nov. 1-4, 2022 and is booked at the LVCC through 2028.