Las Vegas Market experiences major attendance growth
|By Edited by Kristin Ely|
Twenty-five percent attendance growth included new buyers and buyers returning from pandemic hiatus.
Throngs of optimistic retailers, designers and specifiers gathered for Las Vegas Market’s first market of 2023 to place orders for new products, explore new technologies and embark on new opportunities. A 25% year-over-year increase in attendance combined with a wealth of new introductions created an unmistakable energy throughout the market’s 1,000 gift, home decor and furniture permanent showrooms and temporary exhibits, Jan. 29- Feb. 2, 2023, at World Market Center Las Vegas.
“The unbridled optimism of buyers and suppliers at Las Vegas Market was reminiscent of pre-pandemic market conditions and is a great indicator of our industry’s future,” said Bob Maricich, International Market Centers (IMC) CEO. “Business was brisk and new relationships forged as the right buyers and the right sellers came together to kick off 2023 on a very positive note.”
Las Vegas Market’s 25% percent year-over-year attendance growth was driven by an influx of new buyers, the return of many for the first time since the pandemic and a strong fourth quarter. Ultimately it attracted attendees from all 50 states and 68 countries.
Some 33% of attendees were new to Las Vegas Market with 12% returning for their first market since the beginning of the pandemic. International attendance in Winter 2023 was up by 107% with the largest gains in Canadian attendance at a 350% increase. Domestically, traffic was up across all regions with the most gains in the Northeast at 73%, the Pacific Northwest at 25% and Midwest at 16%. The return to more normal conditions in California drove a 29% increase in attendees. A post-holiday surge of optimism was evident in Las Vegas Market’s registration pattern with 56% of attendees registering after January 1, 2023.
Growth was evident in all the industries Las Vegas Market represents with an 18% increase in home decor attendance, 11% increase in gift, a notable 50% increase in furniture buyers, and 40% increase in interior designers. Additionally, collaboration with concurrent trade shows in Las Vegas expanded the market’s reach with hundreds of cross-market visitors taking advantage of additional complementary sourcing opportunities.
The opportunity to discover new brands and experience products drew retailers and designers out of their stores and studios.
Buying groups and industry associations showed strong participation across design and gift, with many returning for their first time since before pandemic disruptions. Some 15 groups participated in programming, education, meetings and more.
In addition to sourcing, retailer and designers attended some 40+ seminars, events and celebrations over four days of market. The World Market Center Las Vegas Courtyard was the hub of market activities, decked out in an “Apres Market,” ski-chalet-inspired style offering opportunities for attendees to gather over firepits and warm refreshments.
The impact of Las Vegas Market was evident to longtime exhibitors and those new to the buying event, which featured 600+ permanent showrooms and nearly 400 temporary exhibits.
Ed Teplitz, president of home furnishings brand Theodore Alexander, which opened a new showroom in the Las Vegas Design Center said, “Our expectations were exceeded in all areas, including written sales, foot traffic of both existing and prospective customers, and positive comments from all market visitors. Our goal in opening this showroom was to introduce our Theodore Alexander brand to the west coast designer and retail communities and we are off to a very strong start.”
First-time exhibitor Robert Pierce of home decor brand Crystamas tapped Las Vegas Market to reach new audiences. “Most of our clients are on the East Coast and in Canada so we opened up a whole new market showing at Las Vegas Market. It reenergized us and inspired us to get out to shows again.”
The consensus in the gift segment of the market is that Las Vegas Market has hit its stride as a prime location for discovery.
For Bonnie Glushon, president of Sales Producers representing 30 gift brands, the strength of the Winter 2023 Market was an indicator of the importance of Las Vegas Market to the gift industry. “The show was fantastic; everyone was here to buy. They were very happy, very positive and very energized. We opened in Las Vegas in January 2017 and have doubled our space because we believe Las Vegas Market is the future of the industry.”
Stephen Young, president of the eponymous sales agency that opened a new showroom to bring 60 new brands to Las Vegas Market commented, “The response to the new showroom was spectacular! We saw almost all our current customers. What we were not prepared for was the number of new customers – next market we will bring even more staff to serve them.”
Kathryn Solow, National Sales Manager at fair trade handmade and sustainable gift brand Matr Boomie, said, “It was an excellent show. We’ve been attending Vegas market for the last three seasons, and it just gets better and better.” Solow reported buyers “in extraordinarily high spirits” that were excited to be sourcing again and very interested in finding sustainable and fair trade products.
The Summer 2023 Las Vegas Market is July 30-Aug. 3 at World Market Center Las Vegas.