Winter Las Vegas Market sees robust attendance gains
Las Vegas Market has announced that a record number of both buyers and suppliers reported extensive order writing and extraordinary levels of energy and enthusiasm at the just-concluded Winter 2018 Las Vegas Market, Jan. 28 to Feb. 1, 2018. The Market’s 4,300-plus resources, which included a significant influx of new, first-time and expanding exhibitors, fueled 13% gains in overall buyer attendance, with vendors reporting commensurate increases in order-writing activity.
“Las Vegas Market gets bigger and better with every edition, and exhibitor participation and buyer attendance reached unprecedented highs this winter 2018. Against a back-drop of overarching industry optimism, we expanded both our permanent showrooms and temporary exhibits, which generated a corresponding, increase in buyer awareness, turnout and order writing.” said Robert Maricich, chief executive officer of International Market Centers. “The attendance increases are incredible, but even more impactful was the quality of attendees, with buyers ranging from major chains to independent shops to high-end designers. These dramatic and dynamic gains are indications that Las Vegas Market is continuing to deliver an unrivaled market experience as the leading furniture, home decor and gift destination in the western United States.”
Buyers, designers and retailers from all across the United States and from around the globe attended Winter Market in search of innovative and on-trend furniture, home décor and gift products. The explosive growth in the breadth and depth of resources resulted in corresponding overall attendance expansion of 13%, as well as significant gains in each of the Market’s key attendee categories.
Specifically, the already-robust furniture segment experienced the strongest Market-to-Market gains, with attendance growth of 17%; the gift category registered attendance increases of 12%; attendance by home décor buyers grew by 9%; and attendance by interior designers, architect and contract/hospitality buyers increased by 9%.
Lisa Cody of Twin Star Homes, commented, “Twin Star Home had a wonderful Market! At the Las Vegas Market we were able to spend quality time with our valued key accounts as well as new dealers. What a fabulous way to kick off 2018!”
Buyer representation spanned the nation and the world, with buyers from all 50 states and some 77 countries attending Winter Market. Within the U.S., the highest attendance was by buyers from California, Nevada, Texas, Arizona and Utah. Leading international countries represented were Canada, Mexico, China, Australia and Colombia.
Tyler Smith, president of furniture, lighting and accessories resource Vertuu Design, commented, “We have had phenomenal traffic and have been slammed all show. There is a strong South American connection with the Las Vegas Market and we had many customers from South America this winter. Our company is four years old, a young business; we’ve seen our business grow rapidly due to, in large part, Las Vegas Market and IMC.”
Exhibitors in all categories reported vigorous order writing and traffic throughout the Market. “The Winter Market has been great; in fact, it’s been insane,” said Luis Ruesga, chief executive of furniture and home décor supplier Zuo Modern. “The traffic has been strong — by Tuesday we already had seen 2,400 buyers, about 1,000 more than we normally would see. We’ve had all tiers of customers — big stores (Macy’s, Target, Rooms to Go) as well as new independent stores and interior designers. I really like the lifestyle structure that has been adopted here: there are more mattresses, lighting, décor and seasonal. Overall there’s a lot more diversity.”
Meg Gilmore, VP Sales & Marketing for Anne McGilvray, a leading sales agency for the gift and lifestyle category, added, “The winter market was really, really good! We saw a significant increase in the number of orders written this winter and business was fast and furious. Each year, the Las Vegas Market grows and our showroom has grown with it. Las Vegas has become more of a national show as our customers are choosing where to spend their travel dollars. Las Vegas Market is definitely the best in all of the west!”
Highlights of the Winter Market included a rich assortment of new product introductions and an increase in upscale exhibitors featuring better goods. Notable launches included upholstery and case goods manufacturer Vanguard Furniture, which debuted a cross-merchandised package of furniture, decorative textiles and home accessories in conjunction with leading luxury bedding and accessories supplier Eastern Accents; major upper-end bedding manufacturer Restonic, which showcased its handcrafted mattresses in a new 14,115-square-foot showroom; and first-time housewares exhibitor Wüsthof debuted its high-end cutlery.
Additionally, leading casual furniture supplier Agio shifted their product development and introduction cycle to align with the Winter edition of Las Vegas Market, signaling a “game changer” for casual market product sourcing and shopping. Agio’s new strategy corresponded with a year-over-year 23% increase in casual buyers at Winter Market.
In total, 42 new and expanding furniture showrooms opened for Winter Market, bringing Las Vegas Market’s furniture resources to 2,000; along with significant growth in the bedding category, with 220 resources featured. Winter Market also featured some 2,300 gift and home décor lines complementing the Market’s 2,000+ furniture lines, including some 37 new and expanded gift and home décor showrooms. Growth has been particularly strong in the expanding gourmet category, reaching an all-time high at Winter Market with 650 gift-oriented housewares, tabletop and specialty food resources in both permanent showrooms and temporary exhibit space.
Buyers were enthusiastic about the quality and variety of merchandise presented at Winter Market. “This show is amazing!” said retailer Kathy Holcomb of Absolute Gallery, Lansing, Michigan. “I love the diversity and quality of products — I’m seeing so much here that I haven’t seen before, and that my customers will go gaga for. I like the diversity and different product price points in this market. I’ve spent a lot of money here at the show and I am definitely coming back.”
Las Vegas Market continues to experience exceptionally high levels of demand for temporary exhibition space with a combined total of 700-plus gift, home décor, furniture and casual exhibitors in five locations, including sold-out home furnishings temporary exhibits on B2; and casual and outdoor temporary exhibits on C13. Winter Market featured a major expansion of temporary exhibition space with the opening of a third location for The Pavilions at Las Vegas Market, showcasing some 500-plus gift and home décor temporary exhibits, of which nearly 200 were newcomers to Las Vegas Market.
“Coming in for the first time, we didn’t know exactly what to expect and our expectations have all been exceeded,” noted newcomer Patti Watson of Hobo Bags, showing in the GIFT category in Pavilion 1. “It is fantastic! We’ve opened new accounts. We’ve written orders. And the traffic has been good. We have met with gift stores, shoe stores, clothing stores, and some supply chain stores. The other exciting thing for us is that we’ve seen so many buyers from the Pacific Northwest, Colorado, Utah, California (North and South), Alaska and Nevada. We are looking for a market that allows us to capture all of these buyers. Las Vegas really addresses the gift retail segment that we have been missing.”
Other highlights at Winter Market included a profusion of star-studded celebrity launches, including TV personality Jeff Lewis for Alder & Tweed; HGTV’s Scott Brothers for Restonic and Coaster Furniture; master furniture craftsman Tim McClellan for Green Gables Furniture; and actress/model Kathy Ireland for AICO/Michael Amini. “Our collaboration with Jeff Lewis proved to be a huge draw, with 60-plus people at his speaking engagement and his meet-and-greet in the showroom,” said Ryan Humphrey of Alder & Tweed. “It was our best Market in the five years in Las Vegas, with an incredible traffic count, sales and contacts. Some 80% percent of our product line in our showroom was brand new, with more than 160 new introductions. Our showroom was busy from opening day through the end. It’s just been phenomenal.”
A notable high point of the Winter Market was the appearance of internationally-renowned architect and Pritzker Prize recipient Frank Gehry, who was awarded the 2018 Design Icon honor in front of an audience of more than 600, including a large number of architects and architectural program students. In addition, Gehry spoke at an invitation-only VIP reception at The Ruvo Center for Brain Health, an event described by many attendees as a “once in a lifetime” experience.
Las Vegas Market presented a vast array of special programming, tours, education, networking events and other membership activities in partnership with a record 40 industry associations and retail buying groups. Highlights of the proprietary programming, educational seminars and special events included the 13th Housewares Design Awards Celebration; the 2018 WOW Awards Dinner by WithIt; the 14th edition of Las Vegas Market’s proprietary FIRST LOOK trend display and seminar; and a “Best of the West in Life & Style” panel presentation.
Winter Market also generated substantial social media engagement, with thousands of unique impressions and interactions across platforms as well as the first Las Vegas Market mosaic, an interactive social platform that allowed all Market participants to share their individual experiences in showrooms and on campus.
“Unparalleled buying group attendance, spectacular events and education, much improved signage, traffic-driving displays and thousands of social media impressions contributed to the compelling and overwhelmingly positive vibe at Winter Market,” Maricich said.
Las Vegas Market is the nation’s fastest growing gift and home décor market and the leading furniture marketplace in the western U.S., presenting nearly 4,300 gift, home décor and furniture resources in an unrivaled market destination. Las Vegas Market features thousands of gift, furniture and home décor lines, allowing for cross-category commerce among these industries. For more information, visit www.lasvegasmarket.com.