15 Years of Success and Counting
Since its inaugural edition in 2005, Global Pet Expo has been the pet industry’s premiere trade show for a number of great reasons.
As we take a look back on 15 years of Global Pet Expo, these key words come to mind: growth, energy, enthusiasm, education, entrepreneurism, ingenuity and international.
First, let’s talk growth. While attendance at the inaugural edition of Global Pet Expo in 2005 more than doubled that of its predecessors—The APPMA Show and PIDA PETS Show of 2004—it was still a much smaller event than this year’s show. In fact, Global Pet Expo 2019 drew 61 percent more buyers than the 2005 show (7,029 vs. 4,365), and 86 percent more exhibitors (1,174 vs. 630). It should be no surprise, then, that the latest edition of Global Pet Expo also had a much bigger show floor, featuring an impressive 360,400 net sq. ft. of exhibit space, compared to 204,900 sq. ft. in 2005.
What has also grown over the years is the international influence of Global Pet Expo. Walking this year’s show floor, attendees were likely to hear a variety of languages spoken as thousands of people from all over the world came together to network and do business. Global Pet Expo has always been a key trading opportunity for companies from around the world, but we have experienced significant growth in the presence of international buyers and exhibitors at the show. It’s mind-blowing to think we had just 66 international exhibitors at the 2005 event. Global Pet Expo 2019 had 304 international exhibitors, representing 35 countries. Furthermore, we had just 715 international buyers in attendance in 2005, versus 1,997 buyers representing an astonishing 81 countries this year! We look forward to growing our international following as Global Pet Expo continues to be the preeminent North American trade show for the worldwide pet industry.
Energy & Enthusiasm
There are very few things—professionally speaking—that get me as pumped up as the buzz on the show floor. With more manufacturers than ever choosing Global Pet Expo to debut their latest innovations, and buyers coming to seek these product launches out, it’s no surprise that this show has become the premier showcase and the leading business and networking venue for the pet industry. Over the years, the Global Pet Expo has developed an energy that is just as vibrant on day three as it is on day one (minus some sore feet, of course). Walking the aisles on the last afternoon of the show, it really struck me how much business was continuing to take place and that there was an unprecedented level of engagement across the board.
Participation in networking events and education opportunities has also been on the rise. The Global Pet Expo Academy, managed by the Pet Industry Distributors Association (PIDA), has grown impressively over the past decade to attract nearly 1,700 attendees. Last year, the Academy expanded to include mini-sessions that took place in the New Products Showcase, as well as aquatics-focused seminars in the Aquatic Lounge. In 2019, we offered 37 hours of free retailer education on topics such as marketing, merchandising and customer service. With the rising popularity of Global Pet Expo Academy, attendees can expect to see even more educational opportunities at future shows.
Finally, let’s talk about entrepreneurism and ingenuity. This, in my opinion, is what has fueled the continued growth of Global Pet Expo. Just when I think I’ve seen it all, another Global Pet Expo takes place and another year of remarkable innovations are launched. The ability of manufacturers to continue to meet—and exceed—the demands of pet owners around the world is inspiring. Since 2005, American Pet Products Association membership has grown 53 percent, and those numbers are very reflective of the strength of this $72 billion industry and the entrepreneurial spirit that thrives and grows impressively each and every year. In fact, we had 295 first-time exhibitors at the 2019 show, which further solidifies the pet industry as a place of opportunity.
It is with great pride that I look to the future of Global Pet Expo confidently, knowing we have a remarkable team that works tirelessly all year long to enhance the trade show experience for participants, as well as loyal attendees who continue to make this show the most important gathering of buyers, pet product manufacturers and international attendees in the pet industry. PB
Andy Darmohraj is executive vice president and COO for the American Pet Products Association.