By Karin Gelschus
What could be the most prominent trade show in the automotive and RV markets will expand into the powersports industry this year. The Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) show held at the Las Vegas Convention Center in November is aiming to create more business opportunities for companies in all three industries.
For the first time, powersports and utility vehicles will have a designated section that will feature scooters, ATVs, motorcycles, pocket bikes, mini-bikes, golf carts, two- and three-wheel personal vehicles, accessories and services.
Peter MacGillivray, vice president of events and communications for SEMA, says they created this section because of the number of auto and RV businesses that could cross over into the powersports industry and vice versa.
“We think there are enough manufacturers producing product for that industry to justify a section,” he said, “and more importantly, we know there are enough buyers out there currently attending the show who could benefit from this specific category destination.”
The show also offers educational seminars, and although the details need to be ironed out, MacGillivray said, “without a doubt, there will be seminars for the powersports industry.”
The purpose of the expansion and seminars is to open doors for companies, says MacGillivray, which could be especially helpful in the current economic situation.
“It’s new additions like this that represent new business opportunities for everyone who attends the show,” he said. “If you ask our board of directors and the executive team at SEMA, during a down economic time is not a time to pull back. Really it’s the best time to lay your groundwork, make connections and prepare yourself for when consumers start spending again. You’ll want to have the latest, coolest, greatest products on your shelves. There’s no better way to do that than attend the SEMA show because there’s so much there.”
Last year, the SEMA show attracted more than 50,000 domestic and international buyers and featured 2 million square feet of exhibits. The displays were segmented into 10 sections with a New Products Showcase featuring nearly 2,000 parts, tools and components, according to the SEMA Web site.
Due to the show’s size, MacGillivray says it’s important for companies to prepare themselves beforehand.
“If you go in there with a plan and you work the show,” said MacGillivray, “you will equip yourself, and furthermore, equip your business to be able to leverage the opportunity for when that customer walks through your door.
“It’s really important to not take it casually and use the resources that are out there on our Web site and in the industry. The most successful attendees and exhibitors work it before, during and after. We developed resources for people on our Web site so they can connect with specific exhibitors and learn about crossover markets where consumers may be spending more money. We have all that research and education and resources.”
While MacGillivray says this is a great opportunity for companies to create new business, he recognizes the commitment it takes to attend trade shows.
“The SEMA team is working really hard with airlines, hotels and other show-related services to make sure that this investment is efficient as possible,” he said. “We want to enable people to get more bang for their buck at the SEMA show than anywhere else.”
MacGillivray says they hope to expand the powersports section in coming years. “There are other vehicles out there beyond the automobile that our members have been making products for, for a very long time,” he said. “It has grown to such a level that there’s enough consumer spending there and there’s enough manufacturers that are now participating in it that it’s really taking off.
“It offers one more reason to head to Las Vegas in November."
Copyright 2009 Powersports Business