Las Vegas Market Sets a Positive Tone for the Second Half of the Year

Buyers took advantage of a large 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 Centers 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 percent 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.

Increase in Gift Attendance Good News for the Industry

The gift category continued its growth trajectory for the sixth consecutive summer market, increasing gift buyer attendance by 6 percent 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.”

Home Furnishings Growth

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 percent 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.

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.”

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 percent, while the northeast designer attendees increased by 25 percent. The TOLA region registered an increase of 32 percent among designer attendees, reinforcing the expanding geographic reach of the market.

Interior designer Ron Woodson of Woodson & Rummerfield’s House of Design in Los Angeles said “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.”

Las Vegas Marketoffers 4,000+ gift, home décor and furniture resources in a buzzing market destination. Las Vegas Market features thousands of gift, furniture and home décor lines, allowing for cross-category commerce among these industries. The Winter 2018 Las Vegas Market runs January 28 to February 1, 2018.

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