Las Vegas Market returns with robust in-person buying event
Increased vaccination rollout, improving travel sentiments and the return of Las Vegas Market’s gift and home temporaries staged in the brand-new Expo at World Market Center Las Vegas, contributed to a lively and productive April 2021 Market, April 11-15, paving the way for West Coast recovery in the furniture, home décor and gift categories.
“Everyone was ready to get back to business at Las Vegas Market!” said Bob Maricich CEO for International Market Center. “Increased buyer and seller confidence coupled with an unprecedented desire to source in person created a sense of optimism and excitement that led to a robust buying and selling event.”
Recovery was evident at April 2021 Market with attendance increasing 346% over Summer 2020 Market. Las Vegas Market attendance was predominantly regional, with 69% from the Western United States, along with strong out-of-region representation with 12% from the Midwest and 9% from the Southwest. Altogether, attendees came from 30 countries and from all 50 U.S. states, with California, Nevada and Arizona as the top three states of origin. Additionally, April Market reflected a notable uptick in buyers across the primary categories: gift (+354%), home décor (+337%) and furniture (+327%) – as well as designers (+332%).
Retailers and designers were confident and reported an excitement to source again at Las Vegas Market. Many retailers placed larger orders to meet increased consumer demand and to get ahead of continued supply chain disruptions. Overall, the sentiment was resounding that seeing product in person is critical for business and buyers are happy to be back at market.
“We had a really strong market and were impressed with how buttoned-up, safe and vibrant it felt,” said Rick Haase, co-owner of Patina Stores in Minneapolis/St. Paul, Minnesota. “There were more attendees and vendors than we expected, and we were particularly impressed with the temporary exhibits. In addition to quality time with existing vendors, we found 20 new lines which is a lot for us at one market. As buyers, we really crave the in-person experience and the personal interaction with product and this market exceeded our expectations.”
Las Vegas Market also welcomed 20+ buying groups and big buyers to campus in April, including American Furniture Warehouse; Bob Mills Furniture; Caesars Entertainment Retail; City Furniture; Draegers Market; Furniture Mart USA; Gallery Furniture; Learning Express; Leon & Lulu; Living Spaces; Marshall Retail Group; MGM Resorts; Nebraska Furniture Mart; Patina; Peppercorn; Peppermill Casino Inc.; Phoenix Stores Ltd.; PLATIN; RC Wiley; Regency Furniture; Star Furniture; Steinhafels; Tabula Rasa; Walker Furniture; and Weir’s Furniture.
Gift and Home Temporaries
April marked both the return of temporary exhibits after a one-market, pandemic-related hiatus as well as the grand opening of the Expo at World Market Center Las Vegas, their new location at Las Vegas Market.
With more than 200 new and established gift and home décor resources in six updated destinations – Gift, Design, Handmade, Home, Immediate Delivery and Luxe – the Expo at WMCLV generated notable buzz around campus from buyers and suppliers alike.
“We’ve absolutely loved being in the brand-new Expo!” said Caden Landry, account manager for long-time exhibitor albert L. (punkt). “Truthfully, with the pandemic, we were not sure what to expect from the show, but our expectations have been blown away. Las Vegas Market has always been a big source of new buyers for us, so we’re very excited that the market is back up and running.”
The 315,000-square-foot Expo at WMCLV features an easy-to-walk and efficient-to-navigate layout that is contiguous with Building C. Operating as the gateway to the campus, the new facility allows for a continuous flow of traffic between the market’s temporary exhibits and permanent showrooms and transforms the arrival experience for buyers.
Showroom participation continued its return to pre-pandemic levels with 85% of the furniture, home décor and gift tenants open for market. Tenants across the categories reported serious buying, robust sales and solid traffic, and expressed optimism about recovery and business in 2021.
“Our eyes are on the prize and we are very optimistic about the balance of the year as are our retailers,” said Garry Sherman, senior vice president of sales for Creative Co-Op. “We are confident that over the next several months things will only get better and we are excited about that.”
“2021 business is surging now,” said Matthew Katzenson, founder and CEO of Fine Lines which represents 30 gift, lifestyle and apparel brands. “The last 25 days have been a game changer since the vaccines have really rolled out and the stimulus package was funded. We’re just seeing the West Coast light up like we haven’t seen in 14 months. It’s all very exciting.”
Many tenants said their experience was as safe as it was productive, mentioning IMC’s Together Safely protocols which include the required use of PPE, temporal checks, capacity limits and social distancing measures.
April Market signaled the return of market experiences with the debut of three onsite Market Snapshot vignettes featuring products from finalists, Juniper’s “Preview Pods” and Las Vegas-inspired Instagrammable moments encouraging buyers to share their market experiences.
IMC’s new JuniperMarket “Preview Pods” provided a dynamic visual overview of the B2B e-commerce marketplace which launches in 2021. The onsite activations allowed prospective users to preview the new purchasing platform, understand its connectivity to IMC’s physical markets and register for daily iPad giveaways. Prize winners identified so far include Darlene Daughtery, Purple Leopard Boutique in Lake Havasu City, Arizona; Sandra Tuner, Room and Porch in Mesa, Arizona; and Michelle Workman, Cedar Mountain Candle in Las Vegas. To date, more than 11,000 buyers already have pre-registered for JuniperMarket in anticipation of the launch later this year.
Market Pros Posts
Attendees were able to discover market trends through new “Market Pros” posts on the @LasVegasMarket Instagram page, which featured market tips and dozens of favorite products finds from six influential industry professionals: designers Kelly Finley of Joy Street Design (@joystreetdesign), Nayoka Simone of NyRai Interior Designs (@nayokasimone) and Rheana Coon of Design MODE (@designmodestyle); designer/retailer Leah St. Clair of ArtAndHomeLV (@artandhomelv) and Lamps Plus; and retailers Shannon Gilley of R Cubed Lifestyle (@rcubedlifestyle) and Donna Steakley of the Fossil Rim Wildlife Center (@zagfift).
“April Market was a big step in the right direction for our industry,” Maricich continued. “The entire ecosystem has shifted and as recovery continues, IMC will keep its finger on the pulse to continue to adapt to meet the industry’s needs.”
The next Las Vegas Market runs Aug. 22-26, 2021, at World Market Center Las Vegas. For more information, visit www.lasvegasmarket.com.