With over 160,000 attendees and 1.2 million square feet of exhibit space, SEMA is one of the largest trade shows in the world. We spent 3 full days hitting the trade show hard, looking for new trends so you don’t have to.
Here’s what happened:
The automotive aftermarket remains strong and steady and has grown 4% since last year, so both new technology and buying was strong at the show. Every year, there is a New Exhibitor tent at SEMA—while it was mostly international companies trying to take a bite out of the United States, there were some new products that were interesting.
SEMA 2018 also saw a record number of exhibitors offer solutions for shop marketing, shop integration to equipment, and more. As we enter phase 2 of the digital age, mobile app compatibility is not a “cool feature”—it’s a necessity. Many of these companies continue to make progress, but none seem ready for mass-market appeal.
There were also a couple of interesting car concepts at SEMA, which seemed stronger than previous years. This included a widebody Tesla Model S, an electric Chevrolet Camaro, a Toyota Corolla hatchback and an open-air Honda 4×4. As usual, there were a ton of exotic sportscars and pick-up trucks showcasing paint jobs, wheels, and more.
There’s also been a “Do-it-Yourself” trend among many consumers who think that they can repair their broken cars with parts from Amazon and videos from YouTube. While that may be the case for certain components, like chemicals (78% of consumers doing it themselves), lighting (69% DIY) and Interior (65% DIY), certain things are still FAR from affected by this newfound trend. Wheels/tires see only 21% of consumers attempting to do it themselves, while Advanced Driver Assist-Systems are at 34%.
At the Hunter Booth this year, inspection took center stage with the new Quick Check Drive; in just a few seconds (without a technician), a vehicle’s vital statistics are taken, and can identify repair opportunities faster than any YouTube video. Hunter also debuted the Quick Tread Edge, which is able to seamlessly integrate with Quick Check Drive to take a tire’s tread depth and wear from 6 different locations on each tire instantaneously. As always, Hunter had its Hawkeye Elite Wheel Alignment Systems, Tire Changers, and Balancers on display. There are incremental but important changes across the board, including the introduction of the new TC39 Tire Changer.
From our standpoint, we were on a precision mission to fill important gaps in our product offerings to stay true to our value proposition. Stay tuned in the coming weeks for press releases on the new brands that we’re currently adding to our arsenal. Want to learn more about the SEMA show, or get a first look on what we’re picking up? Contact us now to learn more.