July Calendar Produces 4.6% Growth in Exhibit Space
Oceanside, CA – Sales of exhibit space took another encouraging leap forward in mid-Summer as trade shows in the consumer goods sector put on a robust performance in July during the traditional run-up to the holiday shopping season. Exhibit space increased a respectable 4.6%. However, the number of exhibiting companies climbed only 2.4% and attendance growth was essentially flat at 0.6%.
The spike in exhibit space continued a streak of solid increases during 2015, which has been led thus far by a whopping 6.5% jump in April.
Exhibitions in the Consumer Goods & Retail Trade sector led the Trade Show Executive (TSE) Dashboard of Monthly Trade Show Metrics, including Cosmoprof North America, JA New York Summer Show — and the Atlanta International Gift & Home Furnishings Market, which was also the largest show of July.
Sultry July was a relatively quiet month for trade shows. Of the 17 shows surveyed for the Dashboard, nine were 100,000 net square feet (nsf) or larger. Five shows were ranked on the TSE Gold 100 roster of largest U.S. trade shows. And five shows were part of the TSE Fastest 50 rankings of fastest-growing shows. One show, the AACC Annual Meeting & Clinical Lab Expo, was on both the Fastest 50 and Gold 100.
After calibrating the totals to exclude outliers and those shows on a non-annual schedule, July produced an adjusted total of 2,208,742 nsf, 10,866 exhibitors and 244,604 attendees. The average per-show totals included 138,046 nsf, 679 exhibitors and 17,472 attendees.
The results for July appeared fairly in line with the performance in the Second Quarter of the year, which included a 4.8% increase in exhibit space followed by a 3.2% increase in exhibitors and 2.0% growth in attendance.
Newcomers Pace Gift Show Growth
Meanwhile, there were plenty of new faces manning the booths at the Atlanta International Gift & Home Furnishings Market this Summer. The exhibitor count at AmericasMart Atlanta grew 5.8% over last Summer to 1,792 companies. That was 99 more exhibitors than there were in 2014. The influx contributed to an exhibit floor of 289,609 nsf, which was a 2.1% increase over the previous year. Attendance slipped (1.7)% to 88,023, although that crowd was by far the largest of any show held in July.
New exhibitors were not the sole reason that exhibit space increased. AmericasMart reported that a number of regular exhibitors increased the size of their booth real estate this year, and also enjoyed brisk order-writing despite the slight decrease in attendance.
Several shows stood head and shoulders above others in growth metrics:
- AWFS Fair carved out some impressive gains across the board as both buyers and sellers flocked to Las Vegas to see the latest in woodworking machinery. The biennial show increased its attendance by 16.5% over 2013 to 15,728. The number of exhibitors rose 17.7%, and exhibit space grew 21.4% to 242,640 nsf. “We were very pleased with the results and, most importantly, by the feedback we received from our exhibitors,” said AWFS President Wade Gregory. That positive feedback included commitments for 2017 that totaled 24% of the amount of space sold for this year’s show.
- Cosmoprof North America turned in another beauty of a performance with 252,908 nsf of exhibit space, an 18.3% increase over last year. Attendance was up 11.1% and the number of exhibitors grew 4.1% to 1,015. The show included 356 overseas exhibitors and nine separate country pavilions. Cosmoprof was also the first trade show to make use of the new expansion at Mandalay Bay Convention Center.
- IFT Annual Meeting & Food Expo drew a burgeoning number of international attendees, which contributed to a 39.6% jump in attendance at McCormick Place. The crowd topped 23,000, thanks in part to the high number of food processors in the Chicago area. The exhibit floor, featuring the latest in commercial food ingredients and equipment, was sold out at 261,000 nsf, which was 17.6% over last year.
- One of the Fastest 50 shows held in July was ICAST, and the annual sportfishing gear exhibition turned in a performance that could mean a repeat appearance on the Fastest 50 roster. Attendance and exhibitor growth both topped 11.0%, and the exhibit floor in Orlando was up 9.2% at 172,600 nsf. The American Sportfishing Association jazzed up the four-day show this year with its “Super Tuesday” feature, which gave early arrivals a crack at the newest rods, reels and other angler accoutrements on an Orlando lake on the day before the exhibit hall opened. Super Tuesday also featured the traditional attendee golf tournament and an evening concert. “We’ve gone from a three-day show to ICAST Week and Super Tuesday,” said Show Director Ken Andres. “There is no doubt that the show will continue on this growth trajectory as it expands its appeal to everyone in the fishing industry.”
Las Vegas welcomed three shows in July, including two from the Gold 100. The trio totaled 712,548 nsf, which was enough to place Las Vegas atop the host-city rankings.
Atlanta was No. 2 among venues with two shows and 502,209 nsf. Chicago also hosted two shows totaling 350,950 nsf.
The final month before the industry begins winding down for the holidays includes some Fastest 50 shows that bear watching.
The Assembly Show made a splash at this year’s Fastest 50 by placing third on all three growth categories. The manufacturing event returns to Rosemont in late October. BNP Media Events is expanding the conference program this year and added three pre-show workshops led by industry experts.
The Remodeling Show/Deck Expo/JLC Live takes place in Chicago just one month after Charles McCurdy takes over as head of Informa Exhibitions USA. The former Hanley Wood show this year struck a partnership with Houzz, an online platform connecting homeowners and remodeling contractors. Houzz will have a booth on the show floor and contribute content to the conference program.
The American International Motorcycle Expo revs up in Orlando with a record number of original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) signed up to exhibit. “AIMExpo is about all things power sports, and it starts with the OEMs,” said Larry Little, vice president and general manager of AIMExpo. “They offer the ultimate complement to the hundreds of exhibiting aftermarket brands and further solidify AIMExpo’s position.”
The Produce Marketing Association Fresh Summit Convention & Expo moves to Atlanta after setting show records for exhibitors and floor space last year in Anaheim. The show was ranked on the latest Fastest 50 and Gold 100.
Finally, the largest event of October will likely be the GIE + Expo in Louisville. The perennial Gold 100 show for landscaping professionals grew slightly last year and reached 739,730 nsf. The crowd was up 3.6% at 19,118, and the show managers at Sellers Expositions this year have added a new program aimed at Hispanic business owners to increase attendance from that important and growing demographic.
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