retail watch | Dec 17, 2020 |
2021’s trade show schedule has more Q’s than A’s

With the announcements this week that important home furnishings trade shows in High Point and Las Vegas are being pushed back until the second quarter of 2021, the market schedule for the industry continues to pose lots of questions, though answers are still in short supply. Here’s everything we know right now.

What are the latest postponements?
Earlier this week, High Point Market announced that its Spring Market dates would move from April to June. International Market Centers—which dominates High Point Market real estate and owns the market centers in Las Vegas and Atlanta—subsequently announced that it would delay its show in Las Vegas from late January until April.

  • Click here for more information about Las Vegas Market.
  • Click here for more information about High Point Market.

What shows are still on for January?
Both the big home and gift shows in Atlanta and Dallas, the latter owned and operated by the Dallas Market Center, are still on schedule for their original dates. Each held an in-person event this past August—delayed from the original scheduling—with reduced attendance and vendor participation. Both have been reporting they will go forward this January with shows closer to historical levels, though it’s unclear how the latest wave of the pandemic may impact that forecast.

  • Click here for more information about Atlanta Market.
  • Click here for more information about Dallas Total Home & Gift Market.

Are any other home shows being rescheduled?
Yes, the Inspired Home Show for the housewares and home business will now be held in August instead of its usual March time frame. This change was announced some time ago in anticipation of travel issues during the first quarter. The 2020 show was canceled. Also, the New York Home Fashions Market Week organizers will once again hold a virtual show in March, repeating what it did this past September. Its March 2020 live show was canceled just as the pandemic first hit the country, meaning the home textiles industry will have gone at least two years without a live in-person show.

  • Click here for more information about the Inspired Home Show.
  • Click here for more information about the New York Home Fashions Market Week.

Any other shows we’re not sure about?
The New York Tabletop Show is still on tap for April. Its past two 2020 shows were both canceled. Regional and local shows are still making decisions on their 2021 plans.

  • Click here for more information about the New York Tabletop Show.

Is what’s happening in the U.S. similar to elsewhere around the world?
Yes and no. Most major home shows in Europe have postponed winter editions into the spring time frame, but in Asia—particularly China—most live shows are scheduled to go on in person.

What does all of this mean for the home business?
Most segments of the industry have managed to conduct business—and indeed have had a pretty good year—without attending trade shows in person, using virtual marketplaces and other digital assets to do buying and selling. Yet most companies will tell you they want to return to some form of live trade shows for the long term.

When will trade shows get back to normal?
Maybe never.

Homepage photo: World Market Center in Las Vegas | Courtesy of Las Vegas Market


Warren Shoulberg is the former editor in chief for several leading B2B publications. He has been a guest lecturer at the Columbia University Graduate School of Business; received honors from the International Furnishings and Design Association and the Fashion Institute of Technology; and been cited by The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, The Washington Post, CNN and other media as a leading industry expert. His Retail Watch columns offer deep industry insights on major markets and product categories.

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