The 10th anniversary of Global Pet Expo (March 12-14 at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, Fla.) will mark the show’s biggest year ever. More exhibitors are registered in 2014 than any year prior, and buyer attendance is expected to be at an all-time high. In the decade since the American Pet Products Association (APPA) joined forces with the Pet Industry Distributors Association (PIDA) to create Global Pet Expo, it has become the largest annual gathering in the pet industry and most efficient event for buyers, distributors and manufacturers to do business. As we reflect upon the past and look toward the future, we are excited at the diverse offerings and new innovations Global Pet Expo continues to deliver to our expanding industry.
When Global Pet Expo debuted in 2005, the show boasted impressive numbers and set the course for unprecedented growth in the industry. The event has grown 65 percent in size and is now ranked by Trade Show Executive magazine as one of the top 100 trade shows in the nation. Here is a brief timeline of Global Pet Expo’s evolution:
2005—Global Pet Expo debuted on March 13 at the Orange County Convention Center.
2006—The first ever Excellence in Journalism and Outstanding Contributions to the Pet Industry Award was presented to Dr. Marty Becker and Steve Dale. It has continued as an annual tradition and coveted award.
2007—Buyer attendance jumped 26 percent, and Tradeshow Week magazine named Global Pet Expo one of the 50 fastest-growing trade shows of the year.
2008—The 4th Annual Allen Levey Golf Tournament, a popular pre-show event, was held at Torrey Pines just before the U.S. Open.
2009—Global Pet Expo outgrew its convention space in San Diego and moved full-time to the Orange County Convention Center, one of the few places in the country large enough to accommodate the show.
2010—The Natural Pet Section debuted in response to the growing trend of natural, organic and holistic pet products. Modern social media platforms were also added to enhance communications leading up to and during the show, and Global Pet Expo TV, a news platform highlighting the day’s activities, was born.
2011—For the first time, the New Products Showcase “Best in Show” awards were announced during a special ceremony on the show floor.
2012—The Retailer Excellence Awards were launched to honor deserving independent retailers in a variety of categories.
2013—For the first time, NBC’s Today Show broadcasted live from the show, providing a national spotlight.
This year’s Global Pet Expo promises to be the best ever. Once again taking place at the expansive Orange County Convention Center, the show caters to today’s industry professionals with a comprehensive presentation comprising all sectors, categories and brands, both large and small. With nearly 18 percent of exhibitors coming from abroad and buyers from 72 countries, the show also provides a truly international experience.
Global Pet Expo’s popular and ever-growing New Products Showcase will feature more than 800 products incorporating the latest and greatest products for today’s pet owner.
The layout of the floor will be easy to navigate, with its special sections clearly identified for efficiency. The Natural Pet, The Boutique, and Everything Aquatic sections will have more booths than ever, and the What’s New! section will feature more than 150 first-time exhibitors.
A mobile site and dedicated social media feeds on Twitter and Facebook, displayed on screens throughout the convention center, will provide information on show activities in real time on modern platforms, conveniently helping exhibitors attract attention to their booths, while allowing attendees to prioritize and manage their schedules.
The Global Pet Expo Academy speaker series features experts offering helpful business-building strategies, ideas and tips. This year, we’ve added eight 15-minute mini sessions modeled after the famous “TED Talks,” which will provide actionable advice that can improve your business.
We are proud to announce that lifestyle designer Kathy Ireland, of kathy ireland Worldwide, will be speaking at the third-annual APPA Professional Women’s Network Breakfast on Friday, March 14. Ireland will be sharing her experiences as an influential and successful entrepreneur and CEO.
We look forward to celebrating our 10-year anniversary with you at the best and biggest Global Pet Expo ever. See you in Orlando.
Andrew Darmohraj is executive vice president/COO of the American Pet Products Association.