ATLANTA — The 2020 Atlanta Market, the first major market of the COVID-19 pandemic, was, by all accounts, an overwhelming success, all things considered. International Market Centers (IMC) reported a prosperous market with thoughtful buyers and buying, an environment deemed safe by attendees and organizers, and a shared goal of working together toward recovery.
IMC is the world’s largest operator of first-class exhibition and showroom space for furniture, home décor, gift and apparel shows, managing nearly 20 million square feet of space in Las Vegas, Atlanta and High Point, North Carolina.
The market, held August 13-18, took place in approximately 950 AmericasMart® Atlanta showrooms that showcased more than 4,000 lines to retailers and designers; and in attendance were manufacturers, importers and representative groups. Although market traffic was lighter than normal, home décor exhibitors still reported steady sales and better-than-average orders in preparation for a busy and thriving holiday season.
While major changes to the show’s format were necessary because of the pandemic, Atlanta Market still marked milestones in IMC’s Atlanta NEXT transformation of the AmericasMart campus. These included the opening of new merchandise locations and relocated showrooms, and the completion of the first phase of the Building 1 lobby update with a new arrival experience and a modern-style contiguous floorplan.
“To say that the Summer 2020 Atlanta Market was a market like none other is an understatement,” Bob Maricich, IMC CEO, said in an August 20 article in Furniture, Lighting & Decor. “While the format was changed, the footprint was smaller and safety measures were in place, the impact on the retail and design community was the same. Atlanta Market brought buyers and sellers together to make connections and do business — which are key elements in their success as they recover from the COVID-19 crisis.”
While the pandemic impacted buyer traffic throughout the week, the market drew a largely regional crowd with 90% of the traffic from the Southeast, and 82% coming from Georgia and the five adjacent states. All U.S. regions were represented, with attendees coming from 44 states.
Following the market’s close, IMC reported 20% of the usual buyer traffic and 23% of businesses (stores and designers) represented.
Safety Front and Center
As part of its stringent safety measures, IMC suspended all on-campus events. Pre-registration was required and attendees received digital name badges that were used to enter the market after daily temperature checks. Masks were required on-site and social distancing was expected and required, guided by occupancy limits on showrooms and elevators.
Exhibitor Expectations Surpassed
In general, exhibitors were pleased with IMC’s safety measures and helped IMC by hanging their own signage, reminding buyers to wear masks and make appointments to avoid foot traffic, and offering virtual appointments for those buyers unable to attend in person.
“We partnered with IMC and followed their lead on the safety and operational landscape. The result was a successful, relaxed atmosphere,” added Cynde Stewart, president pf RAZ Import. “Overall, we are considering this a great `dress rehearsal’ for a successful 2021.”
IMC plans to return to the original market schedule for Winter 2021, with showrooms open
Tuesday, January 12 to Tuesday, January 19 and temporary markets on Wednesday, January 13 to Sunday, January 17. For further information visit AtlantaMarket.com.
Reach Bob Maricich at (404) 220-2300 or firstname.lastname@example.org.