22 percent increase in gift buyer attendance over Winter 2011
LAS VEGAS, NV —Feb. 21, 2012 —For the third year in a row, the Gift+Home show at Winter Las Vegas Market 2012, held January 30-February 3, far exceeded expectations with strong traffic and sales created by an uptick in consumer confidence, scores of new gift vendors and a surge in gift retailers.
Market officials reported a 22 percent increase in gift buyer attendance over Winter 2011. Across the board, there was an increase in all gift store types who attended, with the most notable growth among general gift stores, apparel, bookstores, hospital gift shops and resort buyers.
Las Vegas’ home decor market also performed strong this season. Market officials reported a 19 percent increase in decorative accessory buyers and a 9 percent increase in floor coverings buyers as compared to Summer Market 2011.
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.”
These increases in the gift and home décor category were part of an overall positive show in Las Vegas which delivered a 14 increase in attending companies as compared to a year ago, and a 31 percent increase in interior designers over the most recent Market. International attendance was also strong with a 27 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.
In addition, Las Vegas Market drew 4,000-plus U.S. buyers who attended the show for the first time. 71 percent of first-time buyers were from the Western United States.
As tens of thousands of home furnishings and design professionals descended on World Market Center for the week-long Market, Maricich acknowledged that the fastest-growing segment is gift. “The growth trajectory for the gift segment at Las Vegas Market is phenomenal. There’s a demand to have one regional market west of the Mississippi, evidenced with the overwhelming support among buyers and sellers. We will continue to put resources into attracting more gift vendors to Las Vegas in order to create a truly diverse marketplace of home and gift products which aligns with the varied merchandising strategy of today’s savvy retailer,” he added.
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.
The wave of increased gift buyer traffic at the Winter Market was driven by many notable showroom openings and expansions of key gift vendors, including Ganz, Ohio Wholesale, Onecoast, Creative Co-op, Accent Décor, UMA, GSMA (Gift Sales Managers Association), and multi-rep agency Next Step Reps who brought in 20-plus new lines, as well as those companies increasingly joining the ranks of vibrant exhibitors on the Gift+Home Temporaries floor.
Among those were three Gift+Home temp exhibitors who were recognized for Outstanding Achievement in Visual Merchandising by celebrity designer Monica Pedersen of HGTV and home products and trends editor Julie Smith Vincenti. The judges honored Heavenly Hostess, Twelve Timbers, and Collins Painting and Design based on their innovation, creativity, technique and aesthetic. “By telling a story with their products, as well as allowing buyers to visualize how they could be displayed in a retail environment, these companies were able to attract strong traffic to their spaces,” said Pederson.
Pederson also kicked off market week with “First Look,” a biannual tradition highlighting trends and new product picks for Market. She and Vicente 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.
Across the exhibition floors, buyers and exhibitors were equally enthusiastic.
According to Terry Stewart, Executive Vice president of Sales for Midwest CBK and Colonial Candle, Las Vegas Market is very important to their company. “We see the independent retailer, the premium retailer, the national account, and international accounts – so it is really a broad range (of buyers). As far we are concerned the Las Vegas Market is the premier market for the Western part of the U.S, and that makes it different than all other markets.”
Temporary exhibitor Treasa Telle of Couronne Company, says “This is our fourth season showing here in Las Vegas and we are really excited about the new opportunities that we have found and great new buyers in the West Coast area that we have not seen before. The gift category has definitely grown since we have been out here and we are definitely excited and have expanded our location here in Las Vegas.”
Major gift industry bellwether Ganz opened their permanent showroom at World Market Center for the Winter show and reported a positive market. Marc Rice, Vice President of Sales, said “this is our first Las Vegas showroom. I walked in and there is already a buzz here. The west coast is looking for some new places to shop and Vegas has always done it right— first class.”
Jackie Moon, Principal of multi-line showroom Next Step Reps says, “This is our first Market and it has been awesome. We didn’t know what to expect but we have been absolutely slammed since the show opened. By the end of the second day I met my goal for the entire week and we are planning to expand. Las Vegas Market was decidedly everyone’s choice of where they preferred to shop. I’m definitely seeing the quality customers here and many are new and out of this territory—a lot of international.”
Retailer Judith Feffer, President of Alpine Gardens & Gifts, stated that Las Vegas Market is fabulous. “I was impressed by the organization and the venue. It’s easy to get in and to get around. The show was very friendly to the buyers. Las Vegas is heads over the other markets and is very streamlined with excellent product selection,” stated Feffer.
First time buyer, Lorri Noyd, Owner of Classic Gifts, enjoyed her first trip to Las Vegas. “I was looking for new vendors and for something different and that's exactly what I found as well as great ideas for our shops. The temporaries were interesting and found some great products there.”
Susan Dailey, owner of Virginia-based Reston Hospital Gift Shop has seen the Market grow to a lot of gift companies saying, “I can usually find things that I wouldn’t necessarily find elsewhere. There are more representative showrooms and direct venders; especially the big ones. It’s important for my business for me to be here. You can see some really great creativity here or just the perfect thing that you can build a whole display around and you can't normally find that elsewhere. I think Las Vegas goes all out to make it convenient and inexpensive for buyers.”
Steve Fairchild, Director of Guest Services at Sedgewick County Zoo and Board Member of Zoo & Aquarium Guest Services, who attended Gift+Home at LVM for the third time said, “the Market has changed by leaps and bounds especially with the variety of gifts you can find here. It’s a hidden secret that LVM is really becoming a gift-centered market.”
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. Afternoons culminated with food and wine tastings, high tea and specially-themed receptions on the gift floors. Gift+Home buyers were also welcome to enjoy a dedicated buyers lounge featuring product displays, a business center, coffee and water, as well as a quiet place to relax and network with colleagues.
A number of complimentary, educational seminars were designed with the gift retailer in mind, including Independent Business Alliance Co-founder Jeff Milchen’s presentation “Strength in Numbers: Building Effective Buy Independent/Buy Local Campaigns.” Merchandising gurus offered practical and creative tips to transform retail stores, while marketing experts helped retailers explore ways to drive customers to their stores through social media tactics and how to run loyalty programs.
“Part of being the west’s premier destination for the gift and home industry not only means cultivating more resources for our gift retail attendees, but to deliver a market of true thought-leadership. We intend to serve as an educational resource where store owners can walk away with information that both informs on current trends and business practices, as well as provides tools to navigate through challenging times,” said Maricich.
To visit our online photo gallery for images from Gift+Home at Las Vegas Market, please visithttp://www.giftandhomelv.com/gallery/lvm-winter-2012-day-1/.
About World Market Center Las Vegas
Host to Gift+Home at 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. Find us on Facebook and Twitter.
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 imcenters.com.