ORLANDO, Fla.– The importance of having a Kitty or Fido in people’s lives was pronounced during the pandemic, when more than 23 million American households — nearly 1 in 5 nationwide — adopted a pet, according to the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA). That same enthusiasm greeted the return of the pet industry’s Global Pet Expo, held this March 23-25 at the Orange County Convention Center, in Orlando, Fla.
The 18th annual event, hosted by the American Pet Products Association (APPA) and Pet Industry Distributors Association (PIDA) featured total buyer attendance of more than 5,400, with 52% of buyers representing first-time trade show attendees. There was a total of 722 exhibiting companies and 2,695 booths featuring pet-related products and services. This year’s New Products Showcase drew more than 700 new product submissions with winners announced during the “Best in Show” Awards presentation. Buyers voted for the “Best in Show” awards using the new Global Pet Expo Mobile App.
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“Over the past two years, the pet industry has shown it is not only resilient but that it is thriving, and Global Pet Expo 2022 is a testament to that,” Bob Merar, interim CEO of APPA, said. “We were extremely pleased by the turnout for this year’s event. Many trade shows held recently have reported decreases in attendance following the COVID-19 pandemic, some as much as 40%. We are extremely proud to announce that Global Pet Expo only saw a decrease closer to 20%, with nearly 90% of registered buyers attending the event. We feel that the relaxing of mask mandates and increased willingness to fly led to some of the last-minute decisions to attend.”
International buyer attendance also made a comeback, with a 49% increase in buyer attendees from the U.K. compared to 2020. The media buzz also saw an uptick, as registered press exceeded media registration from the last in-person show in 2020. This year, there were 235 representatives from the pet industry trade, consumer outlets, bloggers, social media influencers, and more.
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Trade show attendees had the choice of more than 40 sessions in a wide range of topics as part of the 2022 Global Learning Series. Subject matter ranged from “The Psychology of Pandemic Retailing — Where Are We Headed” and “Successfully Competing Against Online Retailers.” The “U.S. Pet Market Outlook and Trends” session on Opening Day of the show drew more than 250 attendees – the largest turnout for any educational session.
There was an added online component April 20-22 this year, with Global Pet Expo Digital Access. The exclusive virtual event for Global Pet Expo exhibitors and registered buyers let attendees reconnect as well as access the education sessions on-demand.
Global Pet Expo 2023 will take place March 22-24, 2023, in Orlando, Fla., at the Orange County Convention Center.
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“We expect an increase in exhibitors and buyer attendance for 2023, especially from our international guests,” Merar said. “This year, we saw an uptick in registration from U.K. and Canadian attendees when the travel restrictions were relaxed, so we are anticipating an increase in other international attendees next year once restrictions are relaxed for more countries.
Reach Bob Merar at (414) 410-6233 or firstname.lastname@example.org