According to a survey of market exhibitors, orders were better than expected throughout the show which took place Aug. 1-5. A surge in buyer attendance delivered what organizers are calling the strongest Summer Market in three consecutive years—up 7% in total retail stores and 3% in individual buyers and designers when compared to a year ago.
The number of buying groups in attendance doubled with a significant number of buyers attending Las Vegas Market for the first time. International buyer attendance was up 23% over a year ago with over 95 countries represented. There was particular growth in attendance from Latin American countries such as Mexico, Colombia, Chile, Venezuela and Panama.
“Despite continued economic challenges, we are pleased to hold our strongest, best-attended Summer Market in three years,” said Robert Maricich, chief executive officer of International Market Center, parent company of World Market Center Las Vegas. “Las Vegas Market continues to establish itself as a must-attend event for our industry, year after year, drawing new-to-market suppliers and buyers from around the globe.”
Maricich added, “Our growth in new resources at the recent market, coupled with compelling events, plus the number of new products and specials we’re seeing throughout the showrooms has enhanced the value proposition for buyers to attend. Summer Market is a terrific vehicle for smart retailers to impact their fourth quarters with new product and exciting merchandising strategies.”
In total, World Market Center signed 440,000 square feet of new and renewed space in the first half of the year. These new showrooms joined the 1,300-plus exhibitors at Summer Las Vegas Market comprised of leading suppliers in home furnishings and accessories, outdoor and juvenile furnishings as well as top gift and décor lines.
“These new signings, expansions and renewals signal the value of World Market Center’s platform across all of the sectors we serve. These companies see the benefit of building their brand, reaching new buyers, and achieving success in the marketplace with International Market Centers as their long term partner,” Maricich added.
Manufacturers were pleased with the amount of traffic they were seeing on Market’s opening day and used the August Market to showcase many new introductions.
Chris Miller, national sales manager for Four Hands had one word to describe this summer’s Market, “Fantastic.” He continued, “We’ve seen a lot of major customers and a lot of new customers who have never shopped with us before. The majority of showroom visitors are buying. Market seems to be more serious than in the past which is extremely encouraging.”
“The first day of Market has been fantastic; really strong traffic and orders,” said David Gebhart, president and CEO of Global Views. “If it’s an indication, we were serving cocktails by 10 a.m. Compared to January Market, the feel is very similar. I haven’t slowed down long enough to look at our numbers, but we’ve had buyers from all over the country and internationally.”
“It’s been a good day for us,” said Hao Dang, a first time exhibitor and owner of Vietnam-based Grass Co., a manufacturer of eco-friendly bamboo outdoor furnishings. “People are coming here and are really looking for new things. [The home furnishings industry] is rebounding. Our order book is very good and we’re very happy with our first time at this show.”
Inga Folta-Mnich, a sales representative for FiveTimesOne, which sells unique high-end pillows designed to look like rocks, echoed Dang saying, “We have a few orders already so we’re pretty happy.”
She added that while some buyers are still being cautious, others are coming to Market to spend. “There are two groups of buyers,” she said. “There are ones looking for less expensive [product] and then the others who are looking for high-end products like we sell and are willing to spend. There is no middle ground. That is what I noticed today.”