World Market Center Las Vegas’ Gift+Home Show Gains, Delivers Powerful Start to 2011 for Retailers and Suppliers
Gift Buyer Attendance up 68 Percent from Previous Year; Show Fast Becoming the West Coast’s Premier Destination for the Gift Sector
LAS VEGAS — Feb. 14, 2011 — Further solidifying its position as the West Coast’s go-to destination for the gift and decorative accessories sectors, World Market Center Las Vegas’ Gift+HomeSM show trumped all expectations at the recent 2011 Winter Las Vegas Market, setting a new precedent with record-setting gift retailer attendance and order writing, ultimately contributing to a renewed, positive outlook for the entire furnishings industry.
Compared with the 2010 Winter Las Vegas Market, gift buyer attendance grew by 68 percent, while the number of decorative accessories buyers was up by 26 percent. Moreover, the percentage of buyers interested in gift merchandise increased more than any other category at Market, growing by 22 percent compared with the 2010 Winter Las Vegas Market. Gift, accessory and specialty stores made up 23 percent of all distribution channels in attendance.
Overall, buyer attendance at Market was up 25 percent compared with the Summer Market and up 9 percent from Winter Market a year ago, with thousands of buyers attending Las Vegas Market for the first time. Among the thousands of first-time buyers in attendance, 13 percent purchased gift items while 18 percent purchased decorative accessories. Buying groups in attendance included ACE Hardware, the Association for Healthcare Volunteer Resource Professionals, the Association of Golf Merchandisers, Garden Centers of America, Purchasing Power Plus, Sierra Pacific Crafts and Wild Birds Unlimited.
Meanwhile, overall international buyer attendance rose 16 percent from last winter, while designer attendance increased by 33 percent. More than 80 percent of the Top 100 U.S. Retailers were in attendance. Las Vegas Market also saw an increase in all geographic regions across the U.S. Most notably, the West was up 14 percent and the Northeast was up 19 percent over last Winter Market. Double-digit growth was also evident in key international regions, with Canadian buyers up 23 percent, Latin American buyers up 30 percent and Mexican buyers rising by 13 percent compared to a year ago.
“Gift+Home is no longer just a category at Las Vegas Market. Rather, Las Vegas is quickly becoming the premier market for gift and decorative accessories on the West Coast,” said Robert Maricich, president and CEO of World Market Center Las Vegas. “We partnered with our tenants and exhibitors on new marketing programs and engaged in an unprecedented retail outreach campaign to attract new buyers leading up to the Winter Market. These combined efforts delivered a powerful start to 2011 for participating companies, and we see continued growth opportunities ahead for gift at World Market Center.”
In addition to dramatic growth across all buyer categories, Winter Market saw a 20 percent increase in exhibiting companies as compared to Summer Market. Joining the 1,200-plus exhibitors at Winter Las Vegas Market were 150 new-to-market exhibitors, including several in the gift and decorative accessories categories.
Those new-to-market exhibitors in gift arena included Ganz, Votivo, Greenleaf, Willowbrook Company, Collins Painting and Design, Ethel & Myrtle Jewelry, Heather Fields Home & Garden, International Ideas, Columbia Empire Farms and Garden Age Supply. Additionally, Russ Berrie, Demdaco, Evergreen Enterprises, Midwest-CBK, Global Views, Melrose International, Yankee Candle, Couronne Company, Kennedy’s Country Collection, Melissa & Doug, Mercana Home Décor, Papaya Art and Plentiful Pantry were among other leading exhibitors in attendance.
“The energy among all categories was palpable, which I think was a reflection of what’s happening at the macroeconomic level,” Maricich continued. “The Consumer Confidence Index just rose to its highest level in eight months and the second highest level since 2008. There is no denying that this market plays a role in stimulating the industry and the furnishings economy. What we saw at market is an encouraging indicator of what’s to come in 2011.”
The Gift+Home Show was held in tandem with Winter Las Vegas Market to provide retailers more product diversification an efficient, cross-shopping opportunity in decorative accessories, gift and furniture. The mood among buyers was marked by excitement and confidence, extolling the convenience of shopping Las Vegas Market.
“I absolutely loved Las Vegas Market and am so impressed with this fantastic show,” said Kimberly Kelly, a buyer from Seal Beach, Calif. representing Home By the Seashore, Bungalow Beach Designs and Hudson Home. “I buy for several stores and have been to most major shows and will definitely be coming back to Vegas. World Market Center doesn’t miss a beat. I spent a lot and it was a complete pleasure.”
Brian Nocella, a buyer with LA-based Traveler’s Bookcase added, “I have shopped the world over and at Las Vegas Market. I am overwhelmed and in awe of World Market Center.”
Other buyers were thrilled to see the variety of offerings available at the Gift+Home Show.
“We found some very nice things and have already purchased a lot more than we anticipated,” said first-time buyer and co-owner of Bond Pharmacy, Sandra Bond, from California, MO. “We will be at World Market Center late until they kick us out – there is a lot to see.”
For many exhibitors, it was an unprecedented Market, in both showroom traffic and order-writing.
“Market has definitely exceeded all of our expectations,” said Randy Egan, vice president of sales for Evergreen Enterprises. “We sold more in one day than in the entire Market last year.”
“We believe wholeheartedly in World Market Center’s vision. We attend 13 tradeshows per year, and the quality buyer is in Las Vegas,” said Tennille Chidester, national sales manager for Salt Lake City-based Plentiful Pantry. “Here, buyers have an experience: they notice all the amenities and services provided.”
“We have written orders from all over the United States and abroad and are seeing buyers we have not seen in Atlanta, Dallas and Chicago,” Chidester added. “The average value of orders placed is 25-30 percent higher here than elsewhere and about 90 percent of our business is new, first-time orders. We are seeing buyers we do not even see in our hometown, regional shows. These new buyers are enchanted with Las Vegas Market.”
Ramsey Davies, managing director and co-founder of Lazy Susan, echoed Chidester, saying, “We’ve been pleased with the great traffic and we are writing great orders. We’ve seen a lot of new customers and we have many existing customers coming to see us. We’re very pleased by the attendance. We’ve seen a lot of West Coast and mid-central customers and South American customers which is great. By the end of the second day we out-wrote January 2010 Market. It helps that there are now more like-vendors on this floor. It has become a great destination for accessory buyers.”
Unparalleled Programming, Events Complement Success of Gift+Home Show
In addition to packed showrooms, Las Vegas Market also offered gift buyers a variety of expanded offerings, events, exhibitions and receptions specifically geared toward their industry and designed to educate and prepare attendees for a year of growth.
One offering that was a big draw for buyers was World Market Center Las Vegas giving away 500 free memberships to the Gift & Home Trade Association, with whom World Market Center Las Vegas recently inked a strategic partnership.
Also, new to the Winter Las Vegas Gift+Home show were special sections devoted to Garden and Gourmet Resources. The Garden showcase occupied more than 4,000 square feet of space – more than four times the space occupied by garden resources at previous markets. Meanwhile, the Gourmet showcase occupied more than 2,000 square feet of space. Additionally, gift buyers took part in a variety of special events and programs throughout the week such as gourmet food and wine tastings and high-teas in these new destinations.
Each morning of market, buyers fueled up on a selection of breakfast foods and beverages on the Gift+Home floors, while also having day-long access to an exclusive Gift+Home buyers lounge featuring a business center, refreshments and a quiet atmosphere to relax and network. Buyers also took part in a special Gift & Home Trade Association cocktail reception and were encouraged to meet with industry experts at the Hot Spot Social Media Bar to assist them in setting up social networking accounts and integrating these new platforms into their marketing programs.
Attendees also came out in droves for Market’s opening night reception which was complete with cozy surroundings, a comfort-food menu and a live performan
ce that blended Las Vegas entertainers choreographed with mattress merriment. The performances were inspired by the Emmy-winning television show “Glee,” as pajama-clad dancers jumped and danced from bed to bed to tunes like Van Halen’s “Jump” among others.
For more information about the Summer Gift+Home show at Las Vegas Market and to book discounted hotel rooms, visit www.giftandhomelv.com.
About World Market Center Las Vegas
World Market Center Las Vegas is an integrated home and hospitality contract furnishings showroom and trade complex. The campus showcases furniture, decorative accessories, gift, lighting, area rugs, home textiles and related segments, as well as the Las Vegas Design Center open daily to consumers and designers. World Market Center currently hosts the biannual Las Vegas MarketTM, the preeminent total home market along with Gift + HomeTMand Vegas KidsTM. For more information on World Market Center Las Vegas and its shows, visit www.wmclv.com. Find us on Facebook and Twitter.