Las Vegas Market attendance is one of the best in the market’s history. The International Market Center’s (IMC) Summer 2013 Las Vegas Market spanned more than 5 million square feet of space across the three buildings (A, B, and C).
Robert Maricich, CEO of IMC, reported an increase in attendance over recent summer markets – and he attributes part of that success to the changes the Las Vegas Market began making to the campus roughly one-and-a-half years ago. The result – which was both a visual and product focus transformation – was unveiled on opening day and is purportedly more closely aligned with what buyers stated they wanted most: an extensive array of furniture, home décor products, and gift selection that would appeal to sophisticated consumers.
Highlights of the Summer 2013 Las Vegas Market included the debut of three new floors of gift and home décor showrooms – under the name Gift + Home – plus two expanded floors.
What apparently really made a difference in attendance was the investment the market organizers made in hiring a 6-person call center, which made 42,000+ phone calls to extend invitations (and incentives) to retailers across the globe.
Manufacturers interviewed by enLIGHTenment magazine said they noticed a definite increase in the amount of qualified buyers, the number of interior designers who brought their clients along with them, plus the volume of international designers from several European countries as well as Russia, Turkey, and a great many from Central and South America (most notably Brazil). These attendees weren’t just looking around; several manufacturers that our editorial team spoke to reported orders of $20,000 and higher coming from these visitors during the show.
“We’ve made great strides in repositioning Las Vegas Market as ‘Today’s Total Marketplace,'” Maricich notes. “The combination of [being] the second-largest furniture market in the Western hemisphere, the country’s largest bedding market, one of the largest home décor markets in the U.S., and the nation’s fastest-growing gift market is very compelling for buyers and exhibitors alike.”
Growth in the Market’s gift selection and the expansion of better home décor resources has been exponential, with the summer 2013 addition of 70+ new vendors and more than 1,000 new lines to Building C. Dorothy Belshaw, president of Gift + Home Décor at IMC, remarks, “We’re increasing the quantity and quality of existing categories, such as gift and home décor, while also introducing new categories such as specialty tabletop and vintage, as part of our creation of the premier market in the Western United States. At the same time, our extensive retail relations efforts are increasing both awareness of and attendance at the Las Vegas Market.”
“While Las Vegas Market has grown and changed over the years, so has the industry,” Maricich observes. “We are seeing a whole new generation of buyers and designers attend, and they’re shaking things up. Retail has fundamentally changed and the old tried-and-true paradigms are being broken. We are seeing millennials come into the market with fresh eyes and fresh thinking, and [we] are keeping pace by offering a complete shopping experience that supports cross-category merchandising.”
“The Market is going great,” comments Nicolas Trujillo, owner of Luna Bella, a manufacturer of better home décor, lighting, and furniture. “It’s been fantastic. We have taken on so many new customers from the West Coast. Being in business for 18 years and only showing on the East Coast [at High Point], people get used to you and know you. It’s nice again to have a ‘brand new product’ for people who have never seen you. We’ve seen a lot of stores and designers working on fantastic projects. Utah and California have been very strong, as well as Nevada, Arizona, Texas, and Colorado. I’m seeing customers that I have never seen on the East Coast. The response has been triple what we expected and I think it’s only going to continue to grow.”
One of the most popular seminars was “Ahead of the Curve,” an exclusive preview of the hottest new trends and designs in home furnishings and décor. Moderated by TODAY Show contributor and design author Susanna Salk, the program featured insights from renowned designers Alexa Hampton, Ron Woodson, and Windsor Smith, who curated their favorite picks from the Las Vegas Market.
Retailers, interior designers, and manufacturers that enLIGHTenment magazine spoke to during the market all agreed that business has been up this year with most citing double-digit increases. They attribute the growth to consumer confidence and more stability in the housing market. Remodeling projects were the most common, however, new construction appears to be coming back nationwide.