Global Pet Expo Wraps with Solid Numbers
The 16th annual Global Pet Expo, which took place late February in Orlando, Fla., was a success despite travel bans due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, said Andrew Darmohraj, executive vice president and COO of the American Pet Products Association (APPA), which puts on the show with the Pet Industry Distributors Association (PIDA).
Total buyer attendance came in at 6,041, 22 percent of which consisted of international buyers representing 78 countries. Attendees from all 50 U.S. states were represented with an increase of 6 percent from the West Coast specifically, while domestic attendance from mass-market buyers was up 17 percent over last year, officials reported.
Additionally, the show featured 1,066 exhibiting companies with 3,541 booths filled with “the latest and greatest” in pet product innovations, many of which made their debut at this year’s event, officials said. The show floor spanned 354,100 square feet of exhibit space.
“The ways in which COVID-19 has changed the world are still unfolding,” Darmohraj said. “And while it wasn’t quite business as usual, we are extremely proud of the Global Pet Expo team for their tireless work to not only adapt to the changing landscape but pull off a safe and productive event with unparalleled show experience. With more than 20 percent of buyers registered coming to Global Pet Expo for four or more years consecutively, it demonstrates the vital role this trade show plays for pet retailers. It should also be noted we had 222 first-time exhibiting companies, recognizing Global Pet Expo as an exceptional opportunity for new entrepreneurs and businesses entering the industry.”
New products of the year could be found in the 45,000-square-foot New Products Showcase. Now in its 10th year, the New Products Showcase “Best in Show” awards ceremony took place on the show floor where awards were handed out to Best in Show, second and third place winners across nine categories.
The 2020 Global Pet Expo Academy was also deemed a success attracting a record 2,000 attendees. The academy, managed by PIDA, featured 15 speakers offering 46 hours of free retailer education on trending topics such as marketing, social media, store design and customer service. Likewise, the well-attended 15-minute mini sessions took place in the New Products Showcase, and offered valuable information to attendees in a convenient location on the Show Floor, according to officials.
“We’re proud to offer free access to these first-class educational programs,” said Celeste Powers, president of PIDA. “This is the opportunity of the year to learn from many of pet retailing’s best-known authorities on a wide array of business-building topics. By providing retailers with this important education, it’s our goal that this information will not only deepen their knowledge but also put their businesses on the road to success in 2020 and beyond.”
Global Pet Expo also received national media attention, and there was an increase in social media influencers taking part in this year’s show, officials noted.