Winter Las Vegas Market Strongest in Three Years, Bolstered by Double-Digit Increases in Attendance, Buyers, Exhibitors
New domestic, international buyers were difference makers
Winter Las Vegas Market 2012 far exceeded expectations with strong traffic and sales created by an uptick in consumer confidence, scores of new showrooms and the market’s distinction as the first major event for product introductions and buying in the western United States. Market officials reported significant attendance increases amongst retailers across all categories, interior designers as well as international buyers – especially those from Canada, Latin America and the Middle East.
According to Robert Maricich, CEO of International Market Centers, parent company of World Market Center Las Vegas, Winter Las Vegas Market 2012 was the strongest ever in three years. “Given the depth of the recent recession, our success speaks volumes about improving consumer confidence and a resurging economy,” he said. “According to our statistics, the recession is officially over in the eyes of the furnishings industry. The energy at Winter Market was palpable. Buyers were buying, and ultimately, that’s what counts.”
Statistics from the five-day (January 30-February 3) Winter Las Vegas Market included:
- 14 percent increase in attending companies as compared to Winter Market 2011
- 27 percent increase in Latin American buyers and a 33 percent increase in Middle Eastern buyers compared to Winter Market 2011; almost twice as many Canadians attended than at the Summer Market 2011
- 23 percent increase in buyers as compared to Summer Market 2011
- 83 of the industry’s top 100 retailers attended
- 31 percent increase in interior designers as compared to Summer Market 2011
- 4,000-plus new U.S. buyers attended for the first time; 1,000-plus new International buyers
- 71 percent of first-time buyers were from the Western United States
- 58 percent increase in mattress buyers as compared to Summer Market 2011
- 21 percent increase in furniture buyers as compared to Summer Market 2011
- 19 percent increase in decorative accessory buyers as compared to Summer Market 2011
- 9 percent increase in floor coverings buyers as compared to Summer Market 2011
The international event for home furnishings, gifts and decorative accessories industry attracted tens of thousands of professionals and is considered as one of the most vibrant furnishings markets in the world given the depth and variety of product offerings coupled with a sophisticated, highly-efficient buying experience.
Since August 2011, Las Vegas Market signed an additional 275,000 square feet of showroom and exhibit space to 257 companies. This included 236 new companies to the Las Vegas Market and 21 existing tenants that have expanded. More than 50 ribbon-cutting ceremonies took place during Market week, adding significant energy and buzz. In total, Las Vegas Market encompasses more than 5 million square feet of exhibition space across three state-of-the-art, interconnected buildings which feature more than 1,000 exhibiting brands and lines.
According to Maricich, the growth of Las Vegas Market exhibitors speaks to the Market’s overall value as a place where business is done. “Las Vegas Market is where retail buyers and designers get their industry intelligence and pick up on the hottest design trends at the start of every year, drawing from thousands of products and manufacturers from around the world,” Maricich said. “Added to that is the incredibly appealing Las Vegas location that’s accessible and offers a mood that is unparalleled.”
The recent merger of the World Market Center Las Vegas complex and the most premier High Point properties, now forming the International Market Centers umbrella, is a positive force for the industry, Maricich said. “The two Markets are now cooperating, not competing,” he said. “It’s a union that has been a long time in coming, but one that is mutually beneficial for everyone in the industry. We can now offer buyers, exhibitors and manufacturers the best of both Markets.”
New to Winter Las Vegas Market were notable power-houses like Bassett, which was not only showing at Las Vegas Market, but has permanent space IMC’s International Home Furnishings Center in High Point, N.C. “Bassett is one of the giants, a true bellwether in the home furnishings industry,” said Maricich. “The company understands the value of having a strong presence at markets on both sides of the country, demonstrating the new synergy created by IMC’s merger of platforms in Las Vegas and High Point.”
Also debuting at Winter Market was the “Made in USA” pavilion, which featured an array of products made in America. According to Maricich, buying local is a growing trend throughout the entire manufacturing and retail industries, and the home furnishings and gift sectors are no exception. “American-made products speak to the growing sentiment of patriotism and are seen as a way to bolster the economy,” he said. “The Pavilion proved to be incredibly popular with market attendees and was equally popular with overseas buyers.”
Yet another visible spring design trend at Market was color. “Color is everywhere this season and present in scores of showrooms,” Maricich said. “It symbolizes the energy boost consumers are feeling and speaks to newfound hope for the future.”
Las Vegas Market kicked off with “First Look,” a biannual tradition highlighting trends and new product picks for Market. Celebrity designer Monica Pedersen of HGTV and home products/trends editor, Julie Smith Vincenti, guided attendees through a colorful presentation that featured everything from Pantone’s 2012 color of the year – Tangerine Tango – to the newest accents, patterns and trends.
LuxEco and One Good Design hosted yet another notable seminar during Winter Las Vegas Market. Designer Lori Dennis guided guests through an insightful panel on the growing concern for environmental issues amongst affluent consumers who are particularly proactive in their shopping choices. Accordingly to Dennis, “there were 186 green exhibitors at market this year. We continued to see an increase in eco-friendly products. This is a reoccurring trend that has staying power and something in which consumers are really interested. Las Vegas Market offered attendees a chance to learn more about what’s current in the design world.”
Across the exhibition floors, buyers and exhibitors were equally enthusiastic.
Bruce Cohenour, senior vice president for Bassett Furniture, reiterated Las Vegas Market’s high energy. “Las Vegas Market is an important audience for us to capture,” stated Cohenour. “On the first day alone, we had many new customers comment on how pleased they were with our products. We’ve aggressively added new offerings to our retail mix at this Market. Las Vegas has an energy you can’t beat. We were happy to be a part of a successful week of meetings and sales.”
“This was our first Las Vegas Market,” stated Cary Benson, president of sales and marketing for Palliser. “Our reps had 300-plus appointments, and the interest was so high, we were taking orders on Sunday – prior to the formal opening of Market.Las Vegas was definitely an order writing show.”
According to Matt Briggs, CEO of Four Hands, the company has been involved in Market since its inception. “Our showroom presence has grown with our successes over the years. Once spanning only 8,000 square feet, we are now showing an impressive 20,000 square feet of showroom space. We continue to roll out new product collections to meet the demands of our customers. Las Vegas is a win-win for us.”
Brock Bogenschutz, director of e-commerce for Yosemite Home Décor said, “Vegas Market was exceptional for us. The dynamic was as strong as the product mix. Everyone loves coming to Vegas. We consider it our major Market, and we look forward to continuing to build on our success here.”
David Gebhart, CEO and president of Dallas-based Global Views, said Las Vegas has a zest about it. “We got to work hand in hand with our customers to educate them on trends and color palettes. There was a noticeable uptick in traffic and business in general. We were very pleased.”
Gary Gibson, vice president of sales for Sonax, the company had 30 percent more appointments during the Winter Market. “More appointments easily translated into more business,” he said. “We only participate in the two Las Vegas Markets, and there was noticeable growth this year.”
According to Jason Philips, vice president creative director for Philips Collections, the Las Vegas Market best reaches its west coast customers but also has growing attendance from east coast and international buyers. “The city has established itself firmly as a national and international Market,” he said.
Keith Koenig, President of City Furniture, makes the trip each market to see many of the unique suppliers that are in Las Vegas and to get a fresh look at new product. “Las Vegas has got a nice dose of west coast oriented companies which gives us a vision into what those companies think are new and fresh and stylish. It gives us a chance to see new vendors that might turn into a new resource. And we have so many important suppliers and important venders that introduce new product here. Even though it is more markets, it is helpful for the manufacturers to be able to show because they get a chance to present product in a different light.”
Carlos E. Capo, Executive Vice President of El Dorado Furniture, said his team loves coming to Las Vegas Market because they have the opportunity to see companies and product that they can't see anywhere else. “We can talk with the vendors, see their goods and build a relationship. As an industry, we have to find what the customer wants even when they don't know. This is something that Las Vegas Market helps us with.”
Toronto-based Patrick Kelly, Director of Cantrex’s furniture network and retail programs, noted the importance of Las Vegas Market for its members in western Canada. “We’re here shopping different manufacturers and products and working with them on different programs, so it's very important for the West—but we've also had a lot of people from Quebec and eastern Canada so it's been a good market. This markets stands out from other markets because the venue is awesome and it is so easy to shop.”
Lael Thompson, Chief Operations Officer for Sonshine Furniture Today Inc. which owns and operates the Broyhill Home Collections furniture store in Aurora, Colo. believes the formation of IMC is positive. “I think the investment of IMC was a major step for the industry as a whole. Instead of having competing markets or having to choose which market you would go to, we now have them organized by a single source. It makes it easier for me as a buyer and as a store. The furniture industry is a very fragmented industry and so to be able to have more unity in this industry during these tough economic times is extremely important.”
Other Market highlights included an only-in-Vegas conversation with Priscilla Presley, the Gift+Home Merchandising Awards, and an esteemed panel focused on Canada as an emerging international market, plus dozens of other educational seminars from thought leaders in social media, marketing and design. Hospitality at Las Vegas Market was top notch all week long with events such as the Gourmet Food Truck Festival, a Market kick-off party that transformed the courtyard into a four-wheeled fiesta for market goers. Attendees also started the day off right with a delicious Grab 'N’ Go breakfast compliments of Las Vegas Market, provided each morning in the Grand Plaza.
To visit our online photo gallery for images from Las Vegas Market, please click here.
About World Market Center Las Vegas
Host to Las Vegas Market, World Market Center Las Vegas in an integrated home and hospitality contract furnishings showrooms and trade complex. The campus showcases furniture, decorative accessories, gifts, lighting, area rugs, home textiles and related segments, as well as the Las Vegas Design Center open daily to consumers and designers. For more information on World Market Center Las Vegas and its trade shows including the bi-annual Las Vegas Market and Gift+Home, visit www.wmclv.com.
World Market Center Las Vegas is a property of International Market Centers, L.P. (IMC), the world’s largest operator of premier showroom space for the furnishings, home décor and gifts industries. International Market Centers owns and operates 11.5 million square feet of world-class exhibition space in High Point, N.C. and Las Vegas. IMC’s mission is to build and operate an innovative, sustainable, profitable and scalable platform for the furnishings, home décor and gift industries. For more information on IMC, visit www.imcenters.com.