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World’s Largest Annual Pet Products Trade Show Exceeds Organizers’ Expectations and Enjoys Record Growth in Attendance Despite Recession
(Greenwich, CT.) — You’d have a hard time convincing attendees at last month's Global Pet Expo in Orlando, Florida, that we’re still facing a global economic crisis as the show reported its highest numbers on record, once again demonstrating the strength of the pet industry. After compiling final show numbers, leaders from the American Pet Products Association (APPA) and Pet Industry Distributors Association (PIDA) announced that Global Pet Expo 2010 exceeded expectations in nearly every aspect with thousands of innovative, new pet products introduced, and a record number of buyers attending the show, both domestic and international.
According to the 2009 CEIR Index report released by the Center for Exhibition Industry Research (CEIR), the U.S. trade show industry experienced a 12.5 percent overall decline in 2009. Additionally, it was reported that the decline was four times greater than the largest previous loss of 3.1 percent in 2008. Data for the fourth quarter of 2009 showed declines in all four metrics of measurement, including net square feet (-12.3 percent); revenue (-13.2 percent); professional attendance (-4.1 percent); and number of exhibiting companies (-5.8 percent).
Statistics such as these had Global Pet Expo organizers working harder than ever to ensure that this show remained strong and provided the value it has built its reputation on for decades. Despite the fact that Global Pet Expo 2009 was a success and enjoyed a 2 percent increase in attendance, show organizers remained cautiously optimistic about this year’s event. This year’s Global Pet Expo, that took place March 25-27, 2010, enjoyed growth that completely exceeded organizers’ expectations with 803 exhibiting companies, 2,250 booths and total attendance up this year by an astonishing 10 percent. That totals more than 4,495 buyers – the highest buyer attendance ever at Global Pet Expo and a positive indicator that despite the economic downturn, this industry continues to stand strong.
“While we enjoyed growth at Global Pet Expo 2009, we were aware of the fact that we had more reason than ever to be concerned with so many stories in the news of decreased attendance at meetings and trade shows across the country. This caused us to look for new ways to reach out to exhibitors and buyers, and resulted in the decision to make some strategic additions to the show in order to reach a new audience and increase offerings to those who have been loyal attendees over the years,” said Andrew Darmohraj, APPA Senior Vice President. “We added some new special sections this year including a “Natural Pet” section and an International Pavilion. We also used various marketing strategies including social media forums to further engage our audiences and to see what we could do to enhance their show experience and make it worth the commitment.” Darmohraj added that the Show sold out its special sections months prior to show open.
More than two months before Global Pet Expo opened its doors at the Orange County Convention Center, the Show’s special sections including “Natural Pet,” “Boutique,” “Everything Aquatic” and “What’s New,” sold out. The special sections, created in response to growing pet product trends in the industry, showcased popular product lines and made it easier for buyers to navigate the show floor.
“The overall success of this year’s show sent a strong message that the pet industry is resilient and that pet owners, now more than ever, value their pets as a member of the family. In all my years with this show I have never seen so much business taking place right up to the minute of show close,” said Darmohraj. “We’re also happy to report that media attendance was up 56 percent, further demonstrating the global interest in pets.”
This year, author and TV personality, Rachael Ray was named the 2010 recipient of Global Pet Expo’s annual “Excellence in Journalism and Outstanding Contributions to the Pet Industry Award.” Ray accepted her award at a media-exclusive event sponsored by Nestle Purina on March 26, 2010.
Global Pet Expo 2010 was truly “global” with international attendance accounting for nearly 25 percent of the total buyer attendance rate, representing 65 countries from around the world. Additionally, more than 20 companies exhibited in The International Pavilion that was developed to enhance global access to the U.S. pet products market and to solidify Global Pet Expo’s position as a key trading opportunity for countries from around the world.
“Show organizers and attendees left this year’s Global Pet Expo with a renewed sense of enthusiasm for the industry and for the opportunity to positively contribute to society with new product offerings, jobs, and really at the end of the day being able to not only survive, but thrive in these tough times,” said Darmohraj.
Global Pet Expo’s success is reflected by industry spending figures announced earlier this year. As projected, industry spending in 2009 hit $45.5 billion and is projected to grow another 4.9 percent to $47.7 billion in 2010.
Global Pet Expo is a gathering of attendees from around the world representing the leading retail chains, pet superstores and mass-market retailers, distributors, wholesalers and independent retailers. These attendees spend three days surveying the hottest pet products before they hit store shelves. This year they witnessed everything from a product that teaches fish to perform tricks and a growing number of organic and eco-friendly products, to a lost dog tracker and intelligence graded dog puzzles. Each year thousands of new products are launched and debuted at Global Pet Expo.
The 2011 Global Pet Expo show dates have been set, with the show moving to an all-weekday schedule in order to better accommodate buyers. Next year’s show will take place in Orlando, FL, at the Orange County Convention Center, Wednesday-Friday, March 16-18, 2011.
The American Pet Products Association (APPA) is the leading not-for-profit trade association serving the interests of the pet products industry since 1958. APPA membership includes nearly1,000 pet product manufacturers, their representatives, importers and livestock suppliers representing both large corporations and growing business enterprises. APPA's mission is to promote, develop and advance pet ownership and the pet product industry and to provide the services necessary to help its members prosper. Visit www.americanpetproducts.org for more information.
Global Pet Expo, the pet industry’s largest annual trade show, is presented by the American Pet Products Association (APPA) and Pet Industry Distributors Association (PIDA). The 2010 Show featured 803 exhibitors, 2,250 booths and more than 3,000 new product launches. 4,495 pet product buyers from around the world attended. In 2011, Global Pet Expo will take place March 16-18, 2011, in Orlando, FL. Global Pet Expo is open to independent retailers, distributors, mass-market buyers, and other qualified professionals. For more information, visit www.globalpetexpo.org.