Las Vegas Market sets positive tone for second half of the year
Buyers took advantage of a record number of resources – including significant new product introductions and first-time exhibitors – at the recently concluded Las Vegas Market. Following the close of market last Thursday, International Market Center officials said that the summer show’s success was tied to key increases in gift buyer attendance, stable home furnishings attendance and burgeoning support from the interior design community.
Home furnishings buyer attendance was on par with last summer. Gift buyer attendance was robust, posting a 6% gain over last summer. Attendance included buyers from 50 states and 79 countries, and within the U.S., the highest number of buyers came from California, Nevada, Arizona, Texas and Utah. Leading international countries represented were Canada, Mexico, China, Panama and Colombia.
“Las Vegas Market’s record growth has generated industry attention and advocacy, driving increased interest and turnout from new buyers, as well as repeat attendance by retailers and designers already familiar with the Market,” said Robert Maricich, chief executive officer of International Market Centers. “As the nation’s fastest growing gift market and the leading furniture and home decor market in the western United States, Las Vegas Market is delivering on its promise to create an exceptional customer experience for buyers and suppliers alike. We seek to raise the bar for our customers every market, and this market was no exception.”
Raising the bar included adding 72 new and expanded permanent showrooms, more than 150 first-time exhibitors within Pavilions for a total of 500+ temporary exhibitors, and a record number of nearly 40 buying groups and associations drawing groups of their members to shop the expansive whole home and gift product offering.
Continued West Coast Dominance in the Home Furnishings Category Evidenced by Resource Growth and Strong Buying Power
Summer Las Vegas Market showcased more than 160,000 square feet of new showroom space in the furniture and home décor categories, including new presentations for Zuo Décor, Home Insights, Turnkey, LH Imports, Vertu, and Vanguard Furniture. Several manufacturers said they established new business connections during summer market that could translate into increased business going forward.
“In the first three days, we signed in close to 800 unique dealers and designers, the majority of which were from the west coast, Midwest states and Mexico,” said Birger Rasmussen of Vanguard. “We believe this Market is exposing us to smaller accounts and west coast designers who do not travel to High Point Market.”
Michael K. Saby of Mercana Furniture and Décor shared the sentiment. “We’ve seen lots of new customers who are discovering us for the first time and getting reacquainted with former customers who have become hybrid or lifestyle stores and are amazed at our look and the lifestyle concept.”
The outdoor category continued to gain strength, supported by a 12% increase in the number of buyers indicating they were shopping casual/outdoor while at Las Vegas Market.
“Market this summer has been absolutely impressive and we’re starting to see the Casual/Outdoor market grow,” said Tony Rodriguez, President/CEO of Summerset Casual. “Sunday we wrote a couple of major orders and saw a lot of new faces we haven’t seen before. We’re writing a special proposal for a top 100 retailer for 2019, and this was a very large buyer.”
Buyers said they appreciated the convenience and depth and breadth of product offered at Las Vegas Market, including Karen Phillips, representing Top 100 furniture retailer Weekends Only in St. Louis, Mo.
“Summer Market has been really good for us,” Phillips said. “All of our key suppliers are here and we’ve seen a lot of good introductions…Las Vegas market is so convenient, (it’s) easy to get here and such an easy market to navigate and find your vendors. Registration was perfect, quick and easy.”
Increase in Gift Attendance Signified Continued Growth Trajectory for the Category
The gift category continued its growth trajectory for the sixth consecutive summer market, increasing gift buyer attendance by 6% from Las Vegas Market summer 2016. The Market continues to gain resources across the full spectrum of gift categories, with the most marked growth in gourmet, toy/children’s products and lifestyle categories.
Retailer Jan Boydstun of Kitchen Kitchen Inc. in Indian Wells, Calif. said that she was surprised by how much the market has grown since her last visit and by the variety of products.
“Las Vegas Market does such a great job getting the perfect mix for so many different categories,” Boydstun said. “I enjoyed the Pavilions so much and found new, fun things and quality products there.”
Both permanent and temporary exhibitors in the home décor and gift categories commented that the Market’s unique access to a broad cross-section of buyers from west coast and western states helped them identify and open new accounts and reacquaint with lapsed accounts.
“Being here is as much about reaching out westward towards our existing customers, as it is about trying to find new accounts, and the Market is effective in this regard,” said first-time exhibitor Jeannett Purdy of AMEICO. “The Mexican and other Central/South American buyers have very sophisticated taste and I’m struck by their enthusiasm here.”
Returning HANDMADE exhibitor John Gupthill of Funky Rock Designs added, “We are seeing all new businesses for us at this show, with 80 percent of our orders placed coming from new customers. Of all the West Coast shows, Las Vegas is the only place to get the customer base from the West Coast and other Western states.”
Allan Share, executive director of the Spa Industry Association from Waconia, Minn., which includes 43,000 members nationally, commented, “If you’re in our spa channel and have not attended, you absolutely need to fix that. Las Vegas Market has an amazing selection of ‘front of the house’ retail items, many of which will return two, three or even four times mark-up from cost.”
The Western Interior Design Community Embraces Las Vegas Market
The majority of the interior designers who attend Las Vegas Market come from California, Arizona and Nevada, but there were notable increases in designer attendees from the Midwest, Northeast and TOLA (Texas, Oklahoma, Louisiana and Arkansas) regions for summer market. The Midwest region registered an increase of 11%, while the northeast designer attendees increased by 25%. The TOLA region registered an increase of 32% among designer attendees, reinforcing the expanding geographic reach of the market.
In addition to the record number of product resources, summer Las Vegas Market included a comprehensive slate of special events, awards programs, seminars, and guided tours of the market with top designers, magazine editors and industry professionals, adding to the core value for the design community. Throughout the five-day show, retailers and designers took advantage of signature Las Vegas events including the FIRST LOOK trend forecast, the Ahead of the Curve seminar featuring veteran interior designers and tours in partnership with Luxe Interiors & Design, the debut of Market Buzz podcasts by Million Dollar Decorating host James Swan and the popular Designer #ViewOnVegas featuring 30 leading designers and top tastemakers sharing their favorite product finds at market. The third annual ANDYZ design awards highlighting west coast interior designers also took place during summer market, and the expanding educational and networking opportunities complement a west coast market poised for further growth, according to market officials.
Interior designer Ron Woodson of Woodson & Rummerfield’s House of Design in Los Angeles said “Las Vegas Market is the best of its kind. The market offers a huge array of home furnishings, accessories and beyond. Every year that we attend we are introduced to new product lines and see the latest with tried and true manufacturers. It is a place where designers come together to shop and network. Each visit is productive and fun.”
Continued Growth Ahead
Maricich reiterated that Las Vegas Market will continue to serve its customers with a variety of home furnishings and gift product offerings, as well as educational presentations and seminars.
“With IMC’s recently announced acquisition by the Blackstone Group, there are now new opportunities – and funding – for Las Vegas Market to grow, buy, build and expand in ways not possible before,” Maricich said. “The Blackstone Group and IMC teams will be working together to move forward with a goal of continuing and expanding Las Vegas Market’s dominant West Coast positioning as a truly comprehensive, effective, and efficient market destination.”