Posted: Feb. 27, 2013, 5:45 p.m. EST
By Clay Jackson, Deputy Editor
As the pet industry goes, so goes the Global Pet Expo. In a year in which the American Pet Products Association predicts record spending in the pet market, 964 exhibitors and nearly 5,300 buyers converged on Orlando, Fla., last week to help Global set new marks in both categories.
The expo sold 2,692 booths, hosted 170 companies from outside the United States and welcomed 203 first-time exhibitors. More than 900 products were entered in the New Products Showcase, accoridng to organizers APPA and Pet Industry Distributors Association.
The exhibition space totaled 270,000 square feet, or the equivalent of 13 football fields.
“With record-setting numbers in pet ownership and pet spending, we knew this had to be our biggest and best pet expo yet,” said Andrew Darmohraj, senior vice president of APPA and the Global Pet Expo show director. “The industry is continuing to thrive.”
Pet Owners Spending More
Bob Vetere, president and CEO of the co-sponsoring APPA, released highlights from the organization’s 2013-2014 National Pet Owners Survey and summarized the industry’s 2012 financial performance.
Bob Vetere, president and CEO of the American Pet Products Association, helped oversee the 2013 Global Pet Expo. Co-sponsoring the event, which drew 13,000 attendees, was the Pet Industry Distributors Association of Bel Air, Md.
The annual survey found that 68 percent of U.S. households, or 82.5 million, owned at least one pet in 2012, the highest percentage ever. The report counted 83.3 million dogs and 95.6 million cats.
The APPA forecast more than $55.5 billion in spending in 2013 across all segments of the pet industry, surpassing the $53.33 billion spent in 2012 by 4.1 percent.
“As an industry, we have been working very hard to promote the joys and benefits of responsible pet ownership and we are thrilled to see that more people are opening their homes and sharing their families with pets than ever before,” Vetere said. “We believe that key initiatives have contributed to the growth and increasing word of mouth, including the formation of the Human Animal Bond Research Initiative two years ago, a large national social media campaign called Pets Add Life, [the] school program Pets in the Classroom and [the] public service ad campaign The Shelter Pet Project.”
As the first major pet industry trade show of the year, many companies use Global to launch products, introduce lines, rebrand or just get their name out.
“We live in Florida, so it just made sense,” said Anne Cutter, co-owner of Bow Wow Couture, which displayed its designer dog collars and leashes in the 400 aisle. “We picked up a lot of Florida accounts, and that was really nice.”
Bow Wow Couture has been part of the Gainesville, Fla., business landscape for four years, but Cutter said she was having difficulty getting her products into local pet specialty stores.
“They saw us at Global, and [now] they want us,” Cutter said.
Cutter wanted to set up in Global’s Boutique section. When she checked into booth availability, 10 Boutique spots were left, but “I waited three days and they were gone,” she lamented.
Still, “it was a good show for us,” she noted. “We got good exposure and won third place in the boutique category. We were real happy with that.
“Next year we just have to remember to sign up earlier.”
Many specialty areas sold out in advance, Darmohraj said. The Natural Pet section, in particular, will be expanded in 2014, he added.
Top New Products
More than 900 items were entered in the New Products Showcase at the 2013 Global Pet Expo. Ware Manufacturing Inc. won the most awards with five.
Besides Bow Wow Couture, other companies were honored for their new products, which were displayed in a corner of the Orange County Convention Center. The 2013 winners were:Aquatics
- Best in show: Self-Cleaning Betta Aquarium by NoClean Aquariums of Palatine, Ill.
- Second place: Aqueon LED Bubble Wands by Central Garden and Pet of Walnut Creek, Calif.
- Third: Zooquariums by RefinedKind Pet Products of New York City.
- Best in show: Zoo Chews Foraging Bird Toys by Fetch-it Pets Inc. of Westlake Village, Calif.
- Second place: Pop up Park by Prevue Pet Products Inc. of Chicago.
- Third: Java Wood Bird Toys by A&E Cage Co. of Burlington, N.J.
- Best in show: Furniture-Style Pet Bed-Tyson Pet Bed Collection by Classic Paws/Aquatica Gallery LLC of Santa Fe Springs, Calif.
- Second place: Dog Snorz designer pillowcases by Dog SnorZ of Everett, Wash.
- Third: Dog Collar with Bow or Bowtie by Bow Wow Couture of Gainesville, Fla.
- Best in show: Earthly Elements Curves by Ware Manufacturing Inc. of Phoenix.
- Second place: FroliCat Dart Duo by PetSafe of Knoxville, Tenn.
- Third: FroliCat Pounce by PetSafe
- Best in show: Green Interactive Feeder by The Company of Animals of Bridgeport, Conn.
- Second place: Crunchcore Chewing Dog Toys by Petstages Inc. of Northbrook, Ill.
- Third: Dirty Dog Floor Runner by Dog Gone Smart of Norwalk, Conn.
- Best in show: Bamboozles by Ware Manufacturing Inc. of Phoenix
- Second place: Fromm Four-Star Nutritionals Pork and Peas Recipe for Dogs by Fromm Family Foods LLC of Mequon, Wis.
- Third: Licks Liquid Vitamins by The Pet Hydration People LLC of Chicago.
- Best in show: Reptology Stone Hide-Away by Penn-Plax Inc. of Hauppauge, N.Y.
- Second place: Terrarium Riser by BioBubble Pets of Boca Raton, Fla.
- Third: Reptile Javarium by A&E Cage Co. of Burlington, N.J.
- Best in show: Critter Timbers by Ware Manufacturing Inc. of Phoenix.
- Second place: Java Wood Natural Small Animal Chew Toys by A&E Cage Co. of Burlington, N.J.
- Third: Rice Pop Paddy by Ware Manufacturing Inc. of Phoenix.
- Best in show: Tropiclean End Cap by Tropiclean Naturally Green Pet Products of Wentzville, Mo.
- Second place: Chick-N-Cantina by Ware Manufacturing Inc. of Phoenix.
- Third: Cricket Display Case by Timberline Live Pet Foods of Marion, Ill.
Watch this video to see what went down at this year's record-breaking show.
Click here to see a slideshow of all of the winning products.
Ware Manufacturing, which sells cat and small animal products, was the big winner with five awards.
“We use Global Pet Expo as a launching pad every year for new products to get not only domestic exposure but also international exposure,” said Dave Hitsman, Ware’s director of product development. “We participate in the New Products Showcase every year.
“There were a lot of great products this year,” he added. “We were impressed with other people’s products when we were walking around, so to win these awards…is a great honor.”
For the second year, Global Pet Expo recognized independent pet stores in 10 categories. The Retailer Excellence Awards were handed out Feb. 21 at the Pet Industry Breakfast.
- The winners included:
- Best Overall Single-Store Retailer: West Lebanon Feed and Supply of West Lebanon, N.H.
- Best Overall Multi-Unit Retailer (less than 10 stores): Paws Natural Pet Emporium of Richland, Wash.
- Best Overall Multi-Unit Retailer (more than 10 stores): Kriser’s of Chicago.
- Best Live-Animal Specialty Store: Absolutely Fish of West Clifton, N.J.
- Merchandising Excellence Award: Treats Unleashed of Chesterfield, Mo.
- Multi-Service Excellence Award: Healthy Spot of Santa Monica, Calif.
- Marketing Excellence Award: TailsSpin of Savannah, Ga.
- Customer Service Excellence Award: Chew On This Dog Barkery of Frankfort, Ill.
- Excellence in Store Design Award: Royal Pets Market and Resort of Carollwood, Fla.
- Community Service Award: Chuck and Don’s of Mahtomedi, Minn.
Journalist of the Year
Vetere presented pet lifestyle writer Sandy Robins with the 2013 Excellence in Journalism and Outstanding Contributions to the Pet Industry Award.
“With such dedication to spreading life-enhancing information on behalf of pets, we couldn’t be more confident and pleased with our decision to award Ms. Robins,” Vetere said.
Robins’ work has appeared in Pet Product News International, Dog Fancy, Cat Fancy and on MSNBC.com and Today.com.
Robins, of Irvine, Calif., joined the list of ranks of past winners Jill Rappaport, Victoria Stilwell, Rachael Ray, Ellen DeGeneres, veterinarian Dr. Marty Becker, Steve Dale, Gina Spadafori and Janice Brown.
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