Face-to-Face Value

While this year’s Global Pet Expo drew a record crowd of buyers and exhibitors, the real success of the event can be measured by the many business-driving connections that were made at the show.



Global Pet Expo 2016 was a record-breaking show with more booths sold than ever and the highest number of buyers in attendance. For show management, this is almost as good as it gets, as our continued growth underscores the vital role the trade show plays in the pet industry. 

But Global Pet Expo isn’t just a (very) large hall with lots of people walking up and down aisles for hours. For some, it’s the opportunity to reinforce existing partnerships or to establish new relationships that only face-to-face networking can facilitate. For others, it’s the stage to make your company’s or products’ debut, and the chance to set yourself apart from your competitors. 

For everyone, Global Pet Expo is the place to do business. 

For three days, more than 15,000 people converged in 320,000 net square feet of exhibit space to do business. And we, as show management, want to provide every opportunity for our attendees to accomplish this. 

This year, nearly 1,100 companies showcased over 16,000 SKUs of product. The floor hosted 233 international companies and more than 150 first-time exhibitors. For many, Global Pet Expo was their introduction into the pet industry. Whether established or brand new, all of the exhibitors were at the trade show to promote, share and demonstrate the value, innovation and appeal of their products, with the ultimate goal of making the sale. Enter the Global Pet Expo buyers. 

More than 6,100 buyers traveled from 76 countries to attend the show. Just as the exhibitors range from small to large companies, covering a vast landscape of pet categories and product types, the buyers at Global Pet Expo represent the full scope of retailers in the pet industry. There were 485 mass market and multi-unit companies in attendance; 950 independent and single-unit retailers; and 530 wholesalers and distributors. More than 200 importers were also present, demonstrating that Global Pet Expo provides key access to the U.S. market. These buyer companies collectively sent 5,390 representatives to do business at the show, and Global Pet Expo affords them the opportunity to network, learn, plan and place orders for the rest of 2016.

According to exhibitors and buyers, business was indeed accomplished. When asked, 90 percent of exhibitors said they generated sales leads, with nearly half of them generating 30 or more. Furthermore, 70 percent of the buyers identified a new supplier at Global Pet Expo, and over 50 percent decided to purchase a new product seen at the show. Six out of 10 buyers plan to make one or more purchases within the next six months, and more than half stated that they now consider themselves an informed buyer when making future purchases.

Thanks to an exceptional seminar series, attendees also walked away with a wealth of knowledge—and not just about the exhibitors and products. Global pet Expo Academy participants had the opportunity to network with some of pet retailing’s best-known and most-admired authorities in marketing, merchandising, operations, finance and technology. The 1,300 retailers that took advantage of any of the 31 sessions learned valuable and practical solutions that can be put to use in the workplace and ultimately help drive their businesses towards further success.

Whether it’s providing a physical meeting space or a virtual networking tool, show management strives to give exhibitors and buyers every opportunity to capitalize on their investment in choosing to participate in Global Pet Expo. This year, we found that exhibitors and buyers took advantage of meeting spaces beyond their booths, using the Aquatics Lounge, restaurants and Sports Bar to convene, evidence that these in-person meetings are invaluable at a trade show. In addition, the Global Pet Expo app tripled in downloads from its debut year in 2015, with nearly 900 users taking advantage of the planner, which allows people to schedule meetings, flag exhibitors and plan their visit. As the show grows, we plan to make navigating the floor, connecting with attendees and facilitating that face-to-face time easier and more efficient. 

Global Pet Expo may have had a record-breaking year, but the success our exhibitors and buyers achieve from this ultimate B2B experience is the real report card.

Andrew Darmohraj is executive vice president and COO of the American Pet Products Association (APPA).


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