SEMA Returns to Las Vegas

December 6th, 2021 by Nathan Hobbs

Lighter Crowds, Deeper Connections

By Chris Collier

Las Vegas is a neon-laden landscape drenched in uniqueness. The Desert City’s casinos, restaurants and attractions provide tourists with escapism and entertainment. SEMA is housed within the city’s colorful streets, and it’s where some window film professionals met for one shared objective—growth.

Quality Over Quantity

The 2021 SEMA Show arrived amid a lingering pandemic and uncertainty over whether the show would go on. After all, 2020’s event was all-virtual. Window film companies noted lighter crowds and less congested aisles this year, but sometimes less is more.

“It’s odd—obviously, the foot traffic is way down than it normally would be,” said Aaron Miller, director of international sales for FlexiShield. “However, the quality of the traffic is much higher. We have people that are coming here directly, [and] we’re already getting samples to them by the time we get back.”

Eagle Enterprises’ team emphasized its new template program, taking stock of the industry and looking ahead to 2022 during supply chain challenges. TJ Clayton, sales, said the aisles were lighter in density but packed with business opportunities.

“It seems like the people that are here are truly trying to seek the next best thing,” Clayton said.  “They’re really the ones investing into their company. The numbers are down, but the people here are legit—they’re the ones wanting to do something big.”

The new West Hall at the Las Vegas Convention Center reverberated with similar sentiments on business-to-consumer (B2C) interactions. Ryan Scislowics, director of sales and marketing for KPMF, said, “People know exactly what they want, and they’re going to the booths they want to see. Maybe in a busy year, they don’t get as much direct attention. I think when we look back on this in a few years, we’ll all be glad we showed up for this.”

Sponsor Spotlight

The show was a testament to the industry’s ability to produce diamonds from enormous amounts of pressure. Sponsors had their gems—products—on full display. Conversations on paint protection film (PPF) continued after a heavy showing at the 2021 International Window Film Conference and Tint-Off™ (WFCT) in Orlando, Fla.

“Global PPF [has] been out in the U.S. market for about two years,” said corporate PPF trainer Bill Stewart of Global Hi-Tech Films, Inc. “It’s a six mil, self-healing, stain-resistant product that has some very interesting installation characteristics where, if done properly, will not leave lift lines or re-position lines.”

A few booths over, Filink matched Las Vegas’ shine with its Pearl PPF, which features a stunning, yet subtle sparkle. KD Yun, international sales team at Filink, said the product combines beauty with protection.

Johnson Window Films also brought its PPF to SEMA, hammering home a product highlighted at WFCT 2021.

“The biggest thing that people have been saying, looking at it here on the hood, is [its] clarity,” said William Davidson, marketing and sales representative at Johnson Window Films. “Our topcoat is specially formulated to help prevent scratches. It’s still self-healing and hydrophobic and high-gloss—what the industry expects from a paint protection product. But it should stretch and install well compared to some of the other products on the market.”

Racing Optics showcased another form of automotive protection at the show—one for windshields. Windshield Defense™ for Jeep is a three-layer, removable film stack built to protect Jeep windshields from breaking, cracking and pitting. The product features 92% visible light transmission (VLT), 99% ultraviolet (UV) protection and is sized specifically for the following Jeep Wrangler models: TJ, JK, JKU, JL, JLU.

Protective films were widespread at SEMA, but window tint was a hot product as always. Ceramic Pro’s booth included its Kavaca window tint, which features proprietary nano-carbon and nano-ceramic technology and can block up to 96% of infrared heat. The company’s tint is one segment of its lineup, which also includes PPF and ceramic coatings. “It’s been a great year to be here—it’s good to see everybody out and being normal again,” said Dane Gregory.

Wintech took a shot at cooling down the convention center with its new nano-ceramic window tint, ranging from 5% to 70% VLT. “We had a couple of tinting demonstrations, and we let the customers try it,” said Dennis Kim, sales associate at Wintech America, Inc. “They loved the [shrinkable nature] of our ceramic film. They say it’s very easy and forgiving.”

CoolVu was in Vegas detailing its new Auto Spa Partner Program, created to help dealers expand their offerings and grow their overall business.

“CoolVu Auto Spa has a two-fold purpose: to extend the life and quality of the vehicle’s appearance while protecting it from premature degradation, and to support end-users with quality product solutions through a solid network of knowledgeable and experienced installation partners,” said Mike Herrera, vice president of business development. “We appreciate the fact that our brand serves to enhance the overall vehicle performance with a full suite of aftermarket car care products that are exclusive to CoolVu Auto Spa.”

Eastman provided a unique in-booth experience for attendees. Car-vlogger Tim Burton, also known as Shmee150, NASCAR Cup Series defending champion Chase Elliott and actress, model and auto-influencer Gigi Papasavvas, made appearances. The company also showcased its latest products: LLumar Valor paint protection film and SunTek Evolve window tint. SunTek Evolve is designed to block 99% of harmful cancer-causing UV rays and can reject up to 94% of heat-surging infrared rays, allowing for cooler cabins and reduced interior fading.

“Window tint is becoming a must-have accessory,” said Darrell Reed, Eastman’s commercial director. “We know drivers are looking for key benefits when considering a window-tint technology—from blocking heat and dangerous UV rays to reducing glare and achieving privacy. SunTek Evolve goes beyond the basics to offer drivers the most features possible, which is why dealers, drivers, auto enthusiasts and OEMs continue to put their trust in Eastman.”

Avery Dennison’s booth also provided attendees with interaction. Holding live product demonstrations and training for all show goers, the company showcased its Supreme Wrapping Film on an unexpected vehicle.

“When we came up with this product specifically—it’s a part of our Rugged line—we always envisioned it as something you’d see on Jeeps, trucks [and] SUVs,” said Matt Khanna, product manager at Avery Dennison. “We put it on a Porsche, and that has been a huge hit because people are surprised seeing it on here.”

Dealers and suppliers were live and in person this fall, and one thing is certain—it’s nice to disconnect from the digital divide. Cody Becker, general manager of Shore Tint and More in Seaford, Del., said networking has been a highlight.

“Relationships—being able to put a face to people’s names online and actually being able to talk to them,” Becker said.

To view the laid-in version of this article in our digital edition, CLICK HERE.

Leave Comment