The Specialty Equipment Market Association is the governing body that organizes the SEMA Show, a trade show and exposition for the automotive aftermarket industry. On August 6th, 2020, the association announced that the 2020 SEMA Show will not take place as planned. Originally scheduled to take place November 3-6, 2020, the annual event has been rescheduled as a virtual event.
First held in 1967, the SEMA Show moved to Las Vegas in 1977 where it has remained for the past 42 years. The massive trade show is one of the largest in the country, drawing more than 165,000 attendees in 2017. 25% of the attendees traveled from outside of the U.S. to attend the week-long event. The economic impact of the show is also significant, even in a city known for large trade shows and industry events. The flights, hotels, meals, and convention services have a total economic impact of $315 million, according to a 2017 article by the Las Vegas Review-Journal.
The SEMA Show covers all corners of the automotive industry, from performance and aftermarket companies, to wheel and tire manufacturers, off-road, high end stereos and equipment, tooling and equipment, and auto body and restoration shops.
SEMA typically begins weeks ahead of time, with show services staff and exhibitors setting up their booths in the massive convention center, which has more than 3.2 million square feet of exhibit space (and still growing!). The week of the show, Monday is open to members of the press. Tuesday through Friday are open to registered attendees, including buyers, exhibitors, and other attendees. The show ends with the SEMA Cruise – a parade of hundreds of show cars leaving the convention center. A new event called SEMA Ignited gives the public a chance to see some of the custom cars from the show in an evening event, held close to the convention center.
The details of how the show will transition to a virtual format have not yet been disclosed. The New Products Showcase and Education Sessions will likely be webinars or video presentations, and the networking and happy hour events could be held as virtual meetings. But for many attendees, the big feature of SEMA is the cars: more than 2,000 customized cars, trucks, vans, SUVs, and other vehicles take over the convention center are a huge draw for companies showcasing their products.
Generation: High Output has covered the SEMA show since 2012, and we look forward to bringing you coverage of the automotive aftermarket industry again this year.