Demand for fresh, new product drove retailers and designers from the Western U.S. and beyond to the August Las Vegas Market with exhibitors reporting healthy order writing for immediate needs and future planning. Overall attendance at the summer market – held one month later than usual – exceeded attendance over the market’s April edition and represented about 60% of summer pre-pandemic attendance.
“Las Vegas Market has continued its positive recovery trajectory despite recent setbacks in the nation’s response to the pandemic,” observes Bob Maricich, International Market Center (IMC) CEO. “This week again proved that Las Vegas Market is the preferred Western location for discerning buyers and brands to come together to get business done.”
In addition to its core West Coast audience, Las Vegas Market pulled from all 50 states with notable increases from the Northeast (32%), Southeast (19%), Southwest (10%) and TOLA (Texas, Oklahoma, Louisiana, and Arkansas) by 11%. International traffic showed a 60% increase over April 2021 numbers with buyers arriving from 42 countries. Gift category attendance was especially strong with an 11% growth over April attendance.
Buyers Glad to be Back to Market
Product discovery and the in-person market experience were key motivators for buyers surveyed at the summer 2021 Las Vegas Market, many of whom were returning to the market for the first time since Winter 2020.
“There is no substitute for shopping market live,” notes Dirk Lorenz, owner of Fremont Flowers in Fremont, California. “Using all my senses when shopping makes for a much better experience after a year plus of doing so much via zoom and using websites to source products.”
“The Las Vegas Market is important because in-person touching, feeling, and seeing products is imperative,” adds Mike Norris, a buyer for Gallery Furniture in Houston.
Buyers also were excited for the full Las Vegas experience. “I love Vegas, I think it’s fun,” says Trish Mitchell, Executive Director of 4RKids in Enid, Oklahoma. “We found a really good product that I don’t think anyone in our area has. I just can’t imagine it not going over huge.”
Lisa Ryan Whyte of Whyte House Design in Chandler, Ariz. posted about her first-time visit to market on Instagram: “This was an eye-opening experience into the world of design, furniture, and accessories. I loved checking out all of the vendors and finding some great options for my clients.”
Immediate and Future Needs Bring the Buyers
Exhibitors across the gift, home décor, and furniture categories reported serious order-writing from buyers who were not only completing their sourcing for the fourth quarter, but also getting a head start on their 2022 ordering.
“The Las Vegas Market was consistent with high quality, well-educated buyers and designers who arrived prepared to place confirmed orders rather than write notes or hold orders,” states Global Views CEO David Gebhart. “We saw customers from all over the U.S. with the usual heavy concentration from the West Coast as well as many from Texas, New Mexico, Pennsylvania, and Florida. We even welcomed several customers from Canada and Mexico.”
Sande Womack, principal of New Era Sales Team (NEST), adds, “We didn’t see the ‘catalog collectors’ this market. Everyone who came in had the intention of buying, and orders have been really big with retailers buying deeper. Our whole marketing campaign for this market was planning and pre-booking for 2022, but we had a lot of people come in [to see] if they could still get Christmas 2021.”
Crossover with the concurrent HD Expo and ASD also drove traffic to Las Vegas Market. “We’ve been able to court some of the HD Expo attendees who have come over to World Market Center, and once we get them into our showroom, we win them over,” says Vanguard Furniture VP/Sales John Pigg, who reported giving look books to some 2,000+ designers at market. “We are thrilled to be here, because it’s an opportunity to see a lot of customers who would not make it to High Point.”
Temporary Exhibits Build Business in the EXPO
Las Vegas Market’s temporary exhibits were a popular destination at the new EXPO at World Market Center.
“There were such cool new vendors in the temporary exhibits. We found some new vendors and returned to the people who know and support ZAG,” says Judy Rancour, director of Retail Operations for the Saint Louis Zoo and Zoo, Aquarium & Garden Buyers Group (ZAG) Board President. “The EXPO is so much more impressive than I’d anticipated. The new space is fabulous, there’s such a good vibe.”
“We had the strongest first day in the history of our company at this market with 60% new accounts. I’ve never had that kind of response in any market before,” remarks Carlos Arias, founder and CEO of Inspired Peru which imports handmade gift and home décor. “The quality of the customers and the buyers at Las Vegas Market have been really good. That’s exactly what a brand like mine is looking to find at market: customers who are not just knowledgeable in what they’re looking for, but also open to the new products.”
“Our goal when we came to Las Vegas Market was to build some accounts that are out west, people that we cannot see in the south,” comments Lori Newell, founder of Birmingham, Ala.-based Crave Candles. “We have accomplished that goal, because we’ve opened accounts in Utah, Montana, California, and one here in Las Vegas.”
“There’s been great enthusiasm amongst the buyers for being able to finally see, touch, and feel products and to see people again. We were really glad to be at Las Vegas Market and super grateful that the World Market Center is open,” says Carina Santoyo, founder and owner of handcrafted lifestyle brand Ceremonia. “We are super-enthusiastic about the future of our wholesale business and our partnership with Las Vegas Market. We hope to keep returning for many years to come.”
Return of At-Market Events
The Summer Las Vegas Market marked the return of in-person events, with masking and proper social distancing protocols in place. Live seminars included IMC’s proprietary FIRSTLOOK and Ahead of the Curve programs and sessions with design and retail thought leaders. The ANDYZ awards, hosted by The Las Vegas Design Center (LVDC) and the American Society of Interior Designers (ASID) California Central / Nevada Chapter, also brought the design community together again to celebrate resilience and recognize excellence, with 11 winners in 10 categories.
The First Look Display featured engaging representations of the themes: EARLY TO RISE, SPECIAL EFFECTS, HOME & AWAY and ’80s BEATS. Three Market Snapshot vignettes showcased the 54 finalists including 6 winners.
On-site activity surrounding Juniper was brisk with buyers eager to register for JuniperMarket – IMC’s new digital e-commerce marketplace launching later this year. Juniper’s showroom and activations were busy with suppliers interested in both the marketplace as well as the JuniperCommerce suite of SaaS tools.
Additionally, some 20+ buying groups and trade associations held meetings, gatherings and buying visits at the Summer 2021 Market.