Global Pet Expo 2018 wrapped its 14th show with record-setting size during the three-day industry event, according to Andrew Darmohraj, executive vice president and COO of the American Pet Products Association (APPA). Global Pet Expo, presented by APPA and the Pet Industry Distributors Association (PIDA), had a show floor spanning 352,300 net square feet of exhibit space to accommodate the growing number of attendees and booths.
Global Pet Expo, where the pet industry met “All Under One Roof,” experienced growth in the number of exhibiting companies with 1,164, up 3 percent from 2017, with 272 first-time exhibitors making their debut at the show. The show floor also expanded with 3,523 booths, a 2.5 percent increase over last year’s show. Total buyer attendance was 6,508, representing 77 countries from around the world. More than 2,100 buyers attended Global Pet Expo for the first time, which is a 26 percent increase from 2017.
“As the premier industry trade show, it is of the utmost importance to Global Pet Expo officials that we continue to expand the offerings and enhance the trade show experience for attendees each and every year,” Darmohraj said. “And we’re excited to announce the show floor will be even bigger and better than ever at the 2019 show.”
This year’s Global Pet Expo offered new educational and networking opportunities and an increased social media engagement. For the first time, mini educational sessions took place in the New Products Showcase. And the debut of aquatic seminars in the Aquatic Lounge on the show floor were a welcome addition for members of the aquarium industry.
Overall, the 2018 expanded Academy was a huge success, according to PIDA, attracting nearly 1,800 attendees, up 12.5 percent from last year. The Academy, managed by PIDA, featured 20 speakers offering 35 hours of retailer education on topics such as social media marketing, competing with online retailers, merchandising tips, customer service solutions and the hottest topics in employment law.
Social media engagement was also at an all-time high, as the Show employed the latest trends to reach thousands of users. Compared to last year, 25 percent more people were retweeting, mentioning and hash-tagging about Global Pet Expo 2018 on Twitter, while on Instagram, the #GlobalPetExpo hashtag was used nearly 10,000 times. New for this year, Global Pet Expo took advantage of the growing popularity of Instagram stories by posting its own, while more than 100 people mentioned the show in their Instagram stories. Global Pet Expo also received over 1,000 Facebook live views, and the Show’s Snapchat filter was seen by more than 5,000 people.
Global Pet Expo featured more than 1,000 entries in the 30,000 square-foot New Products Showcase, as more buyers turned out than ever before, casting twice as many votes for their favorite products. Now in its eighth year, the New Products Showcase “Best in Show” awards ceremony took place on the Show Floor where awards were handed out to Best in Show, second and third place winners across nine categories. Petronics, Inc. took home the top prize in the Cat category with its new “Mousr” and Aquapaw, LLC took home the top Dog category award with its new “Aquapaw Pet Bathing System.” With more entrants and more votes cast than ever, buyers narrowed down top picks to determine the winners. Here’s a full list of the New Products Showcase winners.
This year also marked a commemorative year for both associations as they celebrated milestone anniversaries, APPA’s 60th and PIDA’s 50th, at a special reception for their members held during Global Pet Expo.
“It is remarkable to think that this organization, founded by a small group of distributors meeting in Chicago in 1968, continues to provide value to distributors, their suppliers and customers all these years later,” PIDA President Steve King said. “We are very proud of our legacy of service to the pet industry and look forward to helping our members thrive as they face future challenges and opportunities.”
Similarly, APPA was founded by a group of 17 companies in 1958, and six decades later consists of over 1,200 domestic and international pet product manufacturers, importers and livestock suppliers, representing both large corporations and growing business enterprises.
“As we’ve looked back at how the association got its start with just a few key players in such a small industry at the time, it’s amazing to see the progress we’ve made that has led us to where we are today, part of a $69 billion industry,” said Bob Vetere, president and CEO of APPA.
During Global Pet Expo, APPA released its annual pet industry spending figures, announcing a record-breaking $69.51 billion in pet spending for 2017, up from $66.75 billion in 2016. Estimated spending for this year is $72.13 billion; another 3.7 percent growth.
Global Pet Expo is open to independent retailers, distributors, mass-market buyers, and other qualified professionals. It is not open to the general public. The 2019 Global Pet Expo will take place Wednesday-Friday, March 20-22, 2019, in Orlando, Florida, at the Orange County Convention Center.
“The level of attendee and exhibitor engagement was fantastic this year, creating such high energy and buzz throughout the show, making it the most successful Global Pet Expo to date,” Darmohraj said.