• Survey conducted by Reed Exhibitions reveals that Automec exhibitors have high adherence to digital business roundtables.

By Luiz Bellini and Ricardo Barbosa*

Automec, the largest event in Latin America for the replacement and repair sectors for light, heavy and commercial vehicles, is inserted in a market strongly affected by the current crisis.  Last July, Reed Exhibitions conducted a survey of exhibitors at the fair who have business beyond Brazilian borders.  The objective was to understand how the current crisis affected companies and, mainly, which resources these companies used to maintain international trade.

According to the July report from Bain & Company, the Brazilian automotive aftermarket is expected to end the year with a shrinkage of up to 30% compared to 2019. With regard to international trade, exports and imports in the first half declines 33.7% and 28.4%, respectively, compared to the same period last year, according to a report by Sindipeças.    

In a short-term view, the month of June brought a light at the end of the tunnel. The gradual reopening of markets due to improved health conditions in various parts of the world showed minor contraction in exports (-37%), compared to the previous two months – with declines of 57% (April) and 63% (May).

In the survey conducted by Reed Exhibitions, of the total respondent companies, 43% export and 27% are importers.  A significant part of them, 74%, affirmed to work with auto parts for commercial vehicles (light and heavy).

The means of access to international trade mostly used by the companies participating in the survey is the distributor (74%), followed by a representative (54%).  Following are trading companies (37%) and local agents (32%).

One of the questions showed that participation in fairs is the main international promotion channel, with 84% of responses. Secondly is social media, with around 50%. The cancellation and/or postponement of fairs changed the promotion plans and the main problems faced as a result of the pandemic were: travel restrictions to visit client /supplier (76%), drop in sales (55%), cash flow (24 %).

As a possible action to keep in touch with clients, due to travel restrictions and the impossibility of participating in fairs, digital business roundtables would be a good solution for 69% of respondents. An interesting factor identified in the survey is that the digital business roundtables appear as a priority also for negotiation with national clients (80%) and not only international (65%). 

The sectors with the highest demand for the digital business roundtables are Parts and Components (89%), Repair and Maintenance (56%) and Services and Technology (33%).  The adherence to this type of solution is so interesting that 70% of companies are willing to participate in up to 30 meetings, as long as they last a maximum of 45 minutes each (75% of responses).

The survey showed that there is demand and adherence to the offer of digital products.  With them, companies will be able to overcome some of the commercial challenges generated by the pandemic and maintain business relationships, both in the domestic and international markets. However, the face-to-face, will continue to be crucial for doing business as soon as the current situation is overcome, which reinforces the concept of hybridization of online and onsite actions.

Automec’s business strategy, one of the largest automotive aftermarket fairs in the world, already pointed to this path before the pandemic.  In the next edition, the event will offer business options focused on the needs of clients, sponsors, exhibitors and visitors.


The largest auto parts business event in Latin America will be held from April 6th to 10th, at São Paulo Expo, bringing together the main replacement and repair brands with solutions for the light, heavy and commercial vehicles market.  The event’s organizer, Reed Exhibitions, is present in 30 countries, operating in 43 different sectors of the economy and receiving a total of 7 million people in all its events, generating billions of dollars in business opportunities for exhibitors. *Luiz Bellini is the Portfolio Director at Reed Exhibitions.  Ricardo Barbosa is the Manager of AUTOMEC *

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