With the calendar flipping to the all-important fourth quarter, it’s time for pet retailers to start speculating about what is in store for them during the upcoming holiday selling season and beyond. Of course, the picture will become clearer once the season kicks into high gear around Thanksgiving, but if the tone of last month’s SuperZoo trade show in Las Vegas can be counted on as an early indication of the retail pet-care industry’s future fortunes—as it often proves to be—the forecast looks promising.
At this time of year, Pet Business regularly canvasses industry professionals from up and down the supply chain to gauge their expectations for the weeks and months ahead, and without fail, many of the people we speak with point to SuperZoo as an important bellwether. This year is no exception, and all indications are that most attendees—whether they are retailers, distributors or manufacturers–came away with a positive outlook.
Not only did the show see an obvious uptick in the number of exhibitors, but the aisles seemed more crowded with retailers than at any other time in recent memory. What’s more important, exhibitor after exhibitor noted that buyers are taking an aggressive approach as we head to the end of 2012.
This year’s SuperZoo also proved to be a great place to see the hottest product trends. Of course, grain-free foods and treats were front and center at many booths, as were products geared specifically for aging pets. Not surprisingly, natural products were also represented in force, with everything from natural cat litters to eco-friendly toys continuing to become more prevalent among the market’s offerings.
In addition to providing some insight into what’s to come for pet product retailers, SuperZoo has also become something of an indicator for the grooming industry as well, with the addition of the Groomer’s SuperShow. This year, the portion of the trade show devoted to grooming products and competitions was robust, with seemingly more exhibitors and competition spectators in attendance than ever. Once again, the highlight of the Groomer’s SuperShow was the Cardinal Crystal Awards presentation, honoring stand-out members of both the competitive and retail grooming industry. The event was hosted by Pet Business’ sister publication Grooming Business magazine, Cardinal Laboratories and the World Pet Association.
Of course, prognosticating based on the results of a single trade event is not a precise science, and there are plenty of forces that can derail a strong showing from the pet industry. But hopefully by the time Thanksgiving rolls around and with the national election behind us, SuperZoo will once again prove to be something of a crystal ball for the industry’s coming fortunes. And if that is the case, the future is looking super, indeed.