A Change in Direction
As my first SEMA Show wraps up today, I’ve noticed some trends in the industry. After walking the show floor and speaking to a variety of vendors, I noticed three market movements that I think will influence the direction of window film.
My first prediction is a bold one. After watching the many wrap demos on the show floor and seeing the ever-increasing popularity of paint protection film (PPF) I predict that the industry will start to see a movement toward full-car vinyl wraps over paint. The vinyl wraps in solid colors offer consumers another option to both protect the original paint job on the car as well as the option to significantly change the look of the vehicle. Consumers can buy a more affordable vehicle that may not have the best looking exterior and transform the vehicle into the color and look they want. Marketing applications for this type of install are endless as it can offer a far more cost-effective option for customers and gives shops the chance to upsell by offering a tint install with the wrap.
The next big trend I’ve noticed is the importance of our East Coast industry. In light of Hurricane Sandy, many of the show exhibitors have agreed while this was an excellent show with many new innovative products, the East Coast attendees were sorely missed. Some companies noted that as a result foot-traffic had declined 30 to 40 percent. I think the reason there were initially conflicting reports on show attendance—many said at first attendance was excellent and most said later on that attendance was slow—is attributed to the varied markets for each individual exhibitor. The exhibitors who saw an increase in international sales seemed to be the ones most satisfied with attendance.
The final trend I’ve noticed is the increase in international buyers. After speaking with Joe Tesmer at Scorpion Window Films, he noted that his international sales have increased here at the show. At our own booth, we saw many international buyers who stopped by to ask for information on the American market and how they can get in contact with some of the American manufacturers. While the international market varies drastically from the American market, it’s a good sign for manufacturers that these international dealers are turning to American-made products. As I said above, companies looking to expand in the international markets seemed to be the exhibitors most satisfied with this year’s result.
Factoring in these new trends, I think that despite the mixed reviews on attendance, this year’s SEMA Show went in a new direction for the window film industry. As the products become even more innovative and the applications for these films continue to grow, the industry I think the industry is going to see more crossover applications such as more practical, consumer-friendly vehicle wraps, an appreciation of East Coast sales and an increase in international buyers.