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Two Out of Three Metrics Reach 3% Growth

Hil Anderson
, Senior Editor
September 1, 2014

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Oceanside, CA – July was the type of month show organizers like to see with solid increases in exhibit floors and attendees.

After a June in which floor space and attendance grew less than 2%, both metrics reached the 3% growth threshold in July although the exhibitor count was fairly flat.

July was a relatively light month for trade shows, and those that did lure customers in from the mid-Summer heat tended to be on the small side. The largest of the 14 shows surveyed in the Trade Show Executive (TSE) Dashboard of Monthly Trade Show Metrics was the Atlanta International Gift & Home Furnishings Market, which totaled 283,670 net square feet (nsf).

Half of the 14 shows were smaller than 100,000 nsf. But six shows hailed from the TSE Gold 100 and Fastest 50 ranks, and these events turned in performances that helped lift the entire Dashboard into positive territory.

Specifically, July saw exhibit space increase 3.2% over the year before. Attendance was up 3.0% and the number of exhibitors crept up only 0.9%. July also kicked off the Third Quarter of 2014. The Second Quarter, ending in June, saw exhibit space increase 2.4%, exhibitors improved 2.1% and attendance grew 1.7%.

The July Dashboard shows sold a combined total of 1,576,493 nsf of exhibit space. Attendance totaled 214,165 and exhibitors 8,061. That worked out to a per-show average of 121,269 nsf of exhibit space, 16,474 attendees, and 672 exhibitors.

Four shows were ranked on the Gold 100 and three were featured on the Fastest 50. SuperZoo in Las Vegas was the only event to make it to both lists.

Eight shows improved their metrics over the previous year in all three categories. Only two shows were down in all three.

Summer Tunes

The idyllic days of Summer wouldn’t be complete without the accompaniment of some great music. Nashville lived up to its “Music City” nickname by hosting another thriving edition of Summer NAMM, the sister show of the National Association of Music Merchants’ (NAMM) annual NAMM Show, which is held in January.

Summer NAMM hosted 432 exhibitors this year, the highest number since the show was launched in 2006. The addition of 103 first-time exhibitors increased the total by 2.4% to 432. The result was an 8.1% spike in exhibit space to 56,816 nsf. Attendance also grew robustly, increasing 7.4% to 12,349.

The growth in the number of exhibitors was in large part due to a 23% increase in audio and technology companies joining the party. International attendance was up 19% over last year, and the number of different nations represented among the exhibitors on the show floor was up to 12.

The show caters to the retail sector of the musical instrument industry and gives store owners a boost heading into the start of the school year, and equally as important, the ever-expanding holiday shopping season. “NAMM members who attended Summer NAMM left Nashville with a competitive edge for the second half of the year,” said Joe Lamond, president and CEO of NAMM. Lamond himself has a competitive edge. He has been named a 2014 TSE Leader and Legend, and is set to be interviewed live during the Power Lunch session at TSE’s Gold 100 Awards & Summit, October 22-24 at the St. Regis Monarch Beach Resort in Dana Point, CA.  Emerald Exposition’s Darrell Denny, senior vice president will conduct the interview. Lamond will also be featured in TSE's November cover story.

Growth Leaders

Several shows performed better than the benchmarks set for the month:

  • International Apparel Sourcing Show (IASS) was one of those smaller specialized shows where any increase in the metrics tends to translate to impressive percentage gains. Exhibit space totaled 20,053 nsf, a 23% jump over last June. Exhibitor and attendance also posted double-digit gains. But the show was not a stand-alone event. Messe Frankfurt co-located it with its larger Texworld USA, which posted growth in exhibit space and attendance, although the exhibitor count was down slightly by (0.7)%. “We continue to see growth in this market, which is consistent with the 20% increase in space that IASS rented to garment manufacturers from key sourcing countries in the Far East and South America,” said Dennis Smith, president of Messe Frankfurt North America.
  • The ASI Show! Chicago marked its 15th year with a 22.3% increase in exhibit space that pushed the total up to 111,500 nsf. The jump came with a more-modest 5.3% build in the number of exhibitors. A half-day “boot camp” session for sales representatives helped bump up attendance 3.5% to 4,318.
  • South Texas Oilfield Expo rotated into the centralized locale of San Antonio this year and saw its exhibit space shoot up 35.6% to 243,481 nsf. The show’s exhibiting companies represented a wide horizontal base of the oil-and-gas business and grew 29.2% to 651. Attendance climbed 8.3% to 6,500. Organizers from Texas Classic Productions, LLC put together an educational program rich with information on the ever-changing regulatory environment in energy production.

Marvelous Market

The Atlanta International Gift & Home Furnishing Market was held in the first weekend after Independence Day, and while there were few fireworks, the AMC, Inc. said excitement for the show was palpable.

Exhibit space, which had grown 0.8% last year, gave back (1.0)% this year and settled at 283,670 nsf. At the same time, the number of exhibitors decreased (3.0)% to 1,693. Attendance slipped (1.5)% to 89,515.

AMC launched a new specialty section highlighting gifts for men, and also relaunched its juried general gift collection, which seeks out the hottest trends in products certain to find their way into holiday prominence.

Top Cities

Las Vegas trade shows yielded more exhibit space than any other city in July. The Strip hosted two Dashboard shows: Cosmoprof North America and SuperZoo, for a total of 409,805 nsf. Chicago also had two shows in July and was in the No. 2 slot with 319,800 nsf. Atlanta was third with the Atlanta International Gift & Home Furnishing Market.

Next Month

October typically brings out some of the largest trade shows of the year.

The National Business Aviation Convention & Exhibition (NBAA2014) returns to Orlando after dropping under the 1 million nsf threshold last year. However, nearly 100 aircraft will be on display this year compared to 83 in 2013, according to the NBAA .

The SEMA Show had revamped its transportation strategy in order to ease the crush of taxis and shuttle buses navigating the area around the Las Vegas Convention Center. The traditional closing-night cruise by the fleet of customized classic cars on display at the show is also being revved up. The launch of SEMA Ignite will turn the event into a public party that will bring increased visibility to the show and to the exhibitors.

GIE+EXPO in Louisville will offer Spanish-language seminars for landscaping professionals. Las Vegas will also host the NACS Show, which was sold out in May at 400,000 nsf. It  too, will feature sessions translated into Spanish as well as Mandarin Chinese and Portuguese.

TSE Data Center