The 2015 edition of Global Pet Expo was a record-breaking event, according to a number of key metrics.
As anyone who attended Global Pet Expo this year could probably tell, the show once again grew across all fronts—from exhibitors and new product launches to booths and attendees. The decision by the American Pet Products Association (APPA) to join forces with the Pet Industry Distributors Association (PIDA) to create Global Pet Expo 11 years ago has proven to be hugely successful, and I am excited to see what the future holds for the show and our thriving industry.
From big-box stores and independent retailers to small start-ups and the industry’s largest manufacturers, we have made a great effort to not only accommodate all sizes and stages of companies, but to ensure that the show is a success for everyone. Each year, we add new features to improve the experience for all attendees. For the first time, the 2015 show offered free pre-registration for its Global Pet Expo Academy. With record attendance at the show’s expanded lineup of 29 seminars, it was clear attendees took advantage of this valuable educational series.
This year, we also debuted a trolley to carry attendees from one end of the floor to the other, and we launched a Global Pet Expo app, which could be downloaded to any smart device. We also added remote registration sites to make badge pick up more convenient, expanded the sections for specialty buying, and provided new sponsorship opportunities and social media tools. All of this is a result of the time and effort our staff spends planning for ways to make Global Pet Expo even bigger and better for buyers and exhibitors alike.
As for this year’s numbers, we reached a milestone in breaking the 1,000-exhibitor mark with 1,051 exhibiting companies. That led to over 311,000 total net square feet of exhibit space, 3,110 booths and more than 3,000 new product launches. We saw an eight percent increase in the number of buyers at the Show, with 6,061 in attendance. That kind of growth is what has placed Global Pet Expo on Trade Show Executive magazine’s Top 50 Fastest Growing Trade Shows List, which spans across all product categories, and is something we can all be proud of.
For new products, no category was short of innovation from high-tech to all natural, fun to convenient, and practical to whimsical. Anyone in attendance couldn’t help but see how much bigger the New Products Showcase was than in any year past, with close to 1,000 entries. That area alone was bigger than the entire first APPMA Show. I’d like to thank all of the buyers who took the time to cast their votes for the best new products, and congratulations to this year’s Best in Show winners.
As the industry continues to expand, Global Pet Expo is attracting an increasing number of newcomers and outside investors. Several firms and groups scouted the floor for investment opportunities, and companies exhibited thanks to crowd-funding and Kickstarter campaigns.
The show has also become a favorite among media and celebrities looking to get involved in the pet industry. Food Network Star Paula Deen and media correspondent Jill Rappaport launched new product lines this year. A production crew from Beyond the Tank filmed from the show floor; fashion model turned businesswoman Kathy Ireland, who also has a product line, spoke at APPA’s Professional Women’s Network Breakfast; and Univision’s pet correspondent Xiomara Gonzalez-Govea received this year’s Excellence in Journalism and Outstanding Contributions to the Pet Industry Award.
From innovation and networking to sales and growth, Global Pet Expo lived up to its promise of “Unleashing Business Potential.” From all of us at APPA, we wish you increased business potential and success. We look forward to seeing you at Global Pet Expo 2016 in Orlando, March 16-18.
Andrew Darmohraj is executive vice president and COO of the American Pet Products Association.