A strong Winter Las Vegas Market, fueled by robust traffic and order writing gains as well as excitement surrounding two IMC initiatives – the soon-to-be-completed Expo at World Market Center and the recently announced launch of a new digital platform for the industry – opened the furniture industry’s first market of the new decade and ended the gift and home industry’s busy January schedule on a high note.
“Las Vegas Market has hit its stride,” said Bob Maricich, IMC’s chief executive officer. “The excitement and buoyancy felt throughout the week cemented our position as the premier market venue for the West. The gift, home décor and furniture industries rely on Las Vegas Market for discovery of new products and innovations to build their businesses. News of IMC’s continued investment in our physical and digital markets created excitement that will carry throughout the year.”
Positive Reactions from Buyers and Suppliers
Las Vegas Market leaders across the gift, home décor and furniture spectrum experienced successful – and in some cases record-breaking – markets, citing traffic and buying gains as well as added product interest.
“We’re Las Vegas loyalists and have been here since day one. We were one of the first showrooms that opened in Building C, and have never left,” said Garry Schermann, senior vice president of sales at gift exhibitor Creative Co-Op. “We’ve never had a better show than we had this Market. The buyers have come out in force. It’s not just our loyal customers, but so many new buyers – especially international – that have come to the market.” Schermann reported orders placed by buyers from the Americas, Europe, Asia and Oceania at market.
Steady foot traffic was also evident in the home décor showrooms. Four Hands reported that in the first two days of Market, it scanned badges of more than 4,200 buyers who were a mix of existing customers and new prospects. “We have been at Las Vegas Market from the beginning and being a part of the Market has been great for Four Hands, not just as a brand but as a destination and designer resource. I think our success has a lot has to do with the popularity of Las Vegas Market but also speaks to how on-point our brand is with the current trends,” said Nicole Petropoulos, Las Vegas Market showroom manager.
A seven-percent increase in designer attendance made a significant impact in the home categories. In furniture, exhibitors reported increased interest from West Coast designers. “This Market gives face-to-face exposure with designers who wouldn’t typically shop our product,” said John Pigg, vice president of sales for the North Carolina-based furniture brand Vanguard Furniture, which saw exponential year-over-year growth in buyers.
“Market has been great and there has been a lot of energy. Our existing customers are ordering new lines and ordering heavier,” said Joanne Rackow, founder of gift agency Joanne & Company. “Now that we have only one showroom, we are able to do more marketing. Our designer stepped-up our merchandising with new lifestyle vignettes, which created more of an experience for retailers. We also spent more on props and furniture and posted on Instagram. We hosted a party and had giveaways, which created a fun buzz. We support shop small and want retailers to have a boutique experience when they come into our showroom.”
Buyers also reported a great Market, noting an increase in product introductions and an overall positive shopping experience.
“This was the best-ever Las Vegas Market!” said Elaine Haskey, upholstery buyer for Steinhafels Furniture of Waukesha, Wisconsin. “Sometimes, the products are a repeat of High Point Market introductions, but this time there was so much newness throughout, and we ended up committing to lots!”
“Las Vegas Market continues to amaze us,” said Greg Greeson, owner and furniture and home décor buyer for Collectic Home of Austin, Texas. “The superlatives here include the ease of getting to and from the World Market Center, the variety of accommodations available in Las Vegas, the dining and entertainment possibilities, and of course, the convenience of cross-category shopping at one Market and visiting all of our vendor showrooms in such close proximity to one another. We set a record this Market by visiting 75 showrooms in just two-and-half days. I have more than 500 photos on my iPhone as proof!”
“My mind is blown,” said Chrystal DeCoster, gift buyer for Western Stars Gallery of Lyons, Colorado. “We are making great connections, considering some investments, and taking things to the next level!”
Preview of What is to Come Felt Across the Market
The nearly completed Expo at World Market Center Las Vegas greeted attendees as a visible signal of forthcoming updates to the physical Las Vegas Market experience.
The Pavilions at Las Vegas Market, which have contained the gift and home temporaries for the last 15 years, will be torn down in February as The Expo takes shape as the new home for those exhibits beginning in July 2020.
Longtime Pavilions exhibitors are looking forward to The Expo with the conviction that it will enhance their businesses moving forward.
“I think the new facility will pull traffic from all three buildings and bring more buyers to our booth,” said Kristina Tressler, director of operations for South Bend Chocolate. “We’ve been in the Pavilions for 11 shows and believe that the flow between The Expo and the rest of campus will help bring buyers who otherwise wouldn’t see our products.”
“I believe The Expo will do wonders for my business,” said Carlos Arias, founder and CEO of Inspired Peru. “I imagine we’ll have much better exposure from buyers who only shop in the showrooms due to the time it takes to shop the Pavilions. We’re very excited and expect an amazing experience next summer.”
Against the background of the under-construction Expo, IMC presented its commitment to digital innovation and showcased its new standalone digital division, IMC_di, to its Western customer base. Hundreds gathered in the Grand Plaza Courtyard for the Market Kick-Off Party, which included performances by Cirque du Soleil and previewed plans for a new e-commerce platform, which will connect buyers and sellers digitally year-round as an extension of IMC’s physical markets. For more information about IMC_di, visit www.imcenters.com/IMCdi.
Market-Exclusive Programming Highlights Winter Market
Winter Market also featured a slate of Las Vegas-only events, educational seminars, industry celebrations and networking receptions. Highlights included 15th annual Las Vegas Market Design Icon Award, which recognized award-winning interior designer Martyn Lawrence Bullard; Oprah’s Favorite Finds – Live!; the Business of Design™ Conference Jan. 2020; the “Learn and Earn” Buyer Breakfast Roundtables in collaboration with various professional associations; the Mid Mod Mix Up Bus Tour; and Stars in the Kitchen featuring Kelly Hansen, lead singer of Foreigner.