SEMA 2022: The Best Automotive Exhibition Trends

One of the world’s largest automotive trade show events wrapped up last week in the Las Vegas convention center to host SEMA 2022. THE must attend trade show for automotive enthusiasts and business owners seeking to experience the latest on the aftermarket industry. The time has finally returned as the doors to the annual industry unfolded to the builders, businesses, and manufacturers that have filled the halls of the Las Vegas Convention center for the last 45 years.

The Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) was founded by car enthusiasts for car enthusiasts. The specialty parts and accessories industry targets hobbyists seeking ways to improve their vehicles or distinguish them. Because of SEMA’s passion for all things cars, they have developed into one of the largest trade shows in the world. Branching their show with an exhibit hall for every aspect of the industry, including Restyling & car care accessories, power sports & utility vehicles, trucks, SUVs & off-road, mobile electronics & technology, business services, racing and performance, hot rod collectors, restoration & collision repair, and tools & equipment.

In 2021, when the convention came back after canceling the previous two years due to the pandemic, they gathered over 100,000 attendees, 1,400 exhibitors, and 1,000 show vehicles. Now that travel restrictions have lifted and attendance is rising for trade shows, 2022 looked bigger and better than last year’s show. FGPG has a history of working with automotive brands to deliver the best brand experiences and experiential exhibits they can offer. We will walk you through SEMA 2022 and how FGPG has helped auto brands achieve their goals in the area of experiential marketing.

SEMA 2022 Overview

This year’s annual show took place November 1st—4th at the newly renovated Las Vegas Convention Center. For most supporters, the last four weeks of constant social media anticipation and videos from all the accounts you follow have been filled with last-minute parts arrival, and installation as the SEMA event took off. 

This show draws car enthusiasts from every corner of the world to experience all the next-generation automotive parts and vehicles. But where exactly are these attendees coming from? We uncovered the demographics at this year’s SEMA event to show how brands can strategize their experiential marketing plans.

SEMA’s Exhibitor Brochure gives excellent information on the show’s demographics. For example, roughly 87% of attendees are decision-makers or influenced by purchasing. Overall, the buyers at SEMA go to the show to learn about new products, services, and trends. According to show management, 87% see new products, 78% get new ideas, 72% keep up with trends, 65% find new vendors, and 60% see existing vendors.

Their survey of attendees concluded, about those seeking to engage at the show, that 92% of buyers agreed that the show was worth the time and expense to attend. 75% of buyers said they are more likely to buy from a company that exhibits at the show, and 67% of buyers have been in business for over ten years. Ultimately, exhibitors have many opportunities to get their business in front of thousands of people. Meanwhile, thousands of exhibitors compete to attract consumers to their booths. Therefore, keeping up with the latest automotive exhibit trends can give you a competitive edge. FGPG’s goal is to allow brands to set themselves apart from the rest of the industry in ways that would build long-lasting, sustainable relationships. 

Latest Automotive Exhibit Trends at SEMA 2022

Since the show gathers all walks of life together in the areas of specialty parts and accessories for the automotive industry, we will cover exhibit and experiential design ideas that integrate effectively with different kinds of sectors in automotive. 

In other words, a well-designed and planned exhibit will impress attendees and executives immediately by showcasing who you are and how to launch your newest products and services appropriately. Here are a few things your brand can look out for when compiling an experiential booth at SEMA or other automotive trade shows:

Innovative and creative booths for electronics and technology-centric businesses are essential if your brand attempts to impress electronic enthusiasts

Mullen | SEMA 2022

FGPG has curated several successful booths for automotive-oriented companies and partnered with these brands to create a compelling experience to appropriately demonstrate their latest technology. 

The image above is an example of the booth for Mullen Automotive, where FGPG helped introduce Mullen Automotive and the Mullen FIVE EV Crossover to the world at the LA Auto Show. You can read how the show and read a more detailed analysis of our project here. Ultimately, FG|PG worked as true partners to help Mullen navigate every challenge and deliver an experience that helped them win Best of Show EV SUV— beating out Rivian, Fisker, Hyundai, and others in the category.

Incorporating a lounge room for business services is a very effective trend that many brands utilize to create a more welcoming and personal experience.

SEMA 2022

Conference rooms and lounges are increasing in popularity at trade shows across the board because of their ability to create a personalized experience. Being away from the front allows many exhibitors to think about improving attendees’ experience and providing value for them. 

After walking the show floor, a comfy lounge area is a perfect way to give prospects’ to get comfortable. Plus, doing business while standing all day is tiresome and will invite more of your audience to engage with your exhibit.

The enormous shift in the event and live experiences industry, including the supply chain disruption, changed how experiential marketers approach their strategies. Custom live exhibits, hybrid, and virtual events, now take longer to build.

Mullen Automotive at SEMA 2022

This last exhibit trend is not about design and the experience but about the time, resources, and capital it takes to assemble the design. Nearly every experiential marketing company is experiencing material and labor shortages.  

If you feel a design-driven solution will help you meet your goals for the show, plan accordingly and ahead of time.

Fortunately, everything that FGPG designs and builds is constructed in-house in our Huntington Beach, CA facility. FGPG always works collaboratively and flexibly to help save our clients time and money.

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