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 spend over 3 full days hitting the trade show hard, looking for new trends so you don’t have to. About a week after the show, we’ll release a show report, so you get the full picture. Want us to look for something or report on something specific at SEMA 2018? Let us know here and we promise to report on it, just for you.
Here are some of our predictions:
The automotive aftermarket remains strong and steady and has grown 4% since last year, so we expect strong products and strong interest and the show, with plenty of buying.
Unsurprisingly, 45% of consumers look for parts info on search engines like Google and Bing, and review websites. But word of mouth also dominates, with 41% of consumers asking their friends and families for recommendations. We think that SEMA 2018 will see more companies offer solutions for shop marketing but remember that search engine and good old-fashioned recommendations still reign supreme.
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 maybe 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%. As Hunter distributors, we already know that wheel service and driver safety systems will continue to play a large part at SEMA 2018.
Another interesting trend is purchasing parts online. It’s become more difficult for the independent repair shop to sway motorists to purchase parts from them, in addition to the actual repair. While online purchases only make up 38% of total parts purchases, this will grow. One solution for repair shops to keep profit in-house is to open their own small parts store online or offer online tools for their motorists like scheduling appointments, that come with parts included.
Young people may be online more than their older counterparts, but everyone wants a one-click solution. If you can provide a one-stop shop to buying parts and scheduling local repairs with their favorite mechanic, you’ll keep more profit. We saw them last year, and we’ll see them again: eCommerce and other tech companies promising this solution. But, the same way you scrutinize who you buy your tires and equipment from, make sure you do the same with these “soft services.”