GLOBAL PET EXPO 2024…Innovation in Motion!

GLOBAL PET EXPO 2024…Innovation in Motion! Global Pet Expo, the Pet Industry’s premiere event, is back to near “normal”. The exhibitor count is up from 2023 and should reach 1136 (+11% vs 23) by showtime. This is lower than the 1173 peak in 2019 but it is still more than enough. Live events are critical in the Pet Industry because of our attitude towards Pets and Pet Products. Pets are an integral part of our families, and we now increasingly personify them. Pet shows are primarily focused on Pet Products. Studies have shown that over 60% of consumers prefer to make initial buying decisions on Pet Products in person. This makes Pet Products 2 nd  only to fresh groceries in this behavior. This preference applies to all Pet Products buyers, not just consumers. The retailers and distributors attending GPE and SuperZoo want to see and touch a new product before they buy. Live shows are not just important, they are critical to the continued growth and strength of the Pet Industry. The Pandemic crisis is over, but it has been replaced by a new worry – strong inflation. You will see evidence of its impact in the makeup of exhibitors at GPE 2024. Consumers are looking for Value (Quality + Price). One way to get it is through Private Label products. GPE 24 has over 120 companies actively soliciting EOM customers. Foreign companies are especially capable of EOM, so their booth share has surged to 36%. The previous peak was 25% in 2019. These trends have also affected individual product categories. Now, let’s take a brief look at what awaits attendees of GPE 2024. As we said, the show is smaller than the 2019 peak, both in square footage (-2.5%) and number of exhibitors (-3.3%) but there is still more than enough to satisfy the needs and wants of every buyer that attends. Here are some relevant facts. 1110 Booths – assigned as of 2/16 but, with commitments the final count should be 1136 344,000 sq ft of exhibit booth space (Not counting the 45,000 sq ft new product area) 20 x 10 is again the most popular size – 411 (36.2%), but 10 x 10 is a close 2 nd with 389 (34.2%) Booths are smaller – the average size is 303 sq ft, -4% from 2023, largely due to the 10.9% increase in exhibitors. Size matters – Booths 300 to 800 sq ft (25%) occupy 41% of the space. Those with 1000+ sq ft (5%) cover 24%. Will you see any new exhibitors or is it the usual group? There have been 8 live pet trade shows from 2019>23 – 4 GPEs and 4 SZs. There are 1110 exhibitors at GPE 24 but It took 3305 companies to fill all 9 shows. Of the GPE 2024 exhibitors: 167 (15%) – Did all 8 other shows 692 (62%) – Did GPE 2023 328 (30%) – Are new to GPE (at least from 2019>23) 267 (24%) – Did NO other shows from 2019>2023 The percentage of exhibitors new to GPE this year is slightly above “normal”. There is definitely plenty of “New” to see. Special “Floor Sections” at GPE account for 34.5% of Booths, up from 32.8% in 2019. This was due to the addition of Suppliers. The primary comparison of GPE 2024 to previous years in this and other areas will be by share of booths. Natural – 201 Booths. The number of booths in this section is again at an all-time high. The share is down slightly from 2023 but +25% vs 2019. This reflects the strength of the natural trend in our whole society. Boutique (Modern Pet) – 27 Booths. The booth share is even with 2023 but down 55% from 2019. Boutique is essentially the opposite of Natural and more discretionary in a country that is increasingly focused on “needs”. Aquatic – 18 Booths. The popularity of this category stabilized but the booth share is down 56% from 2019. 1st Time Exhibitors – 99 Booths. The share continues to trend down but most of the 328 exhibitors who didn’t exhibit at GPE (at least from 2019>2023) chose the regular floor or another special section. GPE is a “must do” for new companies and New – products and companies are a major focus of GPE. Supplier – 47 Booths. The APPA added this section in response to the growing popularity of EOM products. International – The big news is the foreign surge. There are 406 exhibitors (36%) from 35 countries outside the U.S at GPE 2024. GPE is truly GLOBAL! There are large numbers of exhibitors in the “regular” floor space who would qualify for inclusion in these sections. You need to “work” the whole show to ensure that you get a full view of the product categories of interest to you. I will again be creating a GPE Exhibitor Visit Planner that allows attendees to plan their floor time by targeting the exhibitors with products of interest. The GPE 2024 SuperSearch will be made available by March 4th and be regularly updated with last minute changes. Now, let’s take a look at the results from this year’s research on exhibitors’ product offerings. 1st, we’ll Compare Exhibitor Types– By function: By Animal type (Numbers are based on booths assigned by 2/16/24) Results were mostly negative as only 3 categories gained share from 2023. Dogs Still Rule – They are up to 84.9% of all booths. 6 out of every 7 booths are selling dog products. Cats had the biggest gain of any animal, now offered by 59.9% of exhibitors. Up from 40% back in 2014. Fish/Aquatic – This category continues to lose share and is down 51% from 2017. Other Animals – Horses were stable. All others lost share. The biggest drop was in Birds, -1.7%. Business Services – Inflation continues to drive the popularity of private label/OEM products. The huge lift in count and share reflects the changing needs in the industry. BTW, there were only 8 exhibitors in 2014. Distributors – Their share fell below 1% for the 1 st The supply chain is shortening for many categories. Gift/Gen Mdse – A big drop after a slight lift in 23. It has been generally declining since peaking at 7.8% in 2016. Dogs and Cats are still the undisputed royalty of Pet. Because of their huge impact on the industry. I have divided the products designed for them into 33 subcategories. Let’s see how this year’s GPE Top Ten (by booth count) are doing. All have more booths than 2023, but the ranking  changed for 7 – 3 up & 4 down, including the 1 st change in the top 4 in years. The biggest share gain was by Toys, while Treats had the biggest loss. Treats are still #1 although their share fell by -1.3%. Their priority is reflected in their frequency – 1 in 3 booths offers treats. Many supplements are in treat form and have helped maintain treats at the top. Toys – With a big increase in booths, Toys moved up to #2. This is directly tied to the huge surge in Chinese companies. 246 exhibitors (21.7%) – 1 in 5 booths, are now based in China. OTC Meds/Supplements/Devices – A slight gain in booths but a -1.1% drop in share. They are down 5.1% in share from their peak in 2022. However, in 2014, their share of boot was only 11%. Collars, Leads & Harnesses – They held the #4 spot and their share has been stable since 2019 after falling from 22.1% in 2018. In 2016, they also had a 22.1% share which earned them the #2 ranking. Feeding Acc. They held on to #5. Their share surged in 23 & held in 24 with the return of foreign exhibitors. Food remains a priority as Pet Parents focus on nutrition, health and wellness. However, almost all is USA made. Beds/Mats – Fell from #6 to #7. Their share has improved in 23 & 24 with the influx of Far East exhibitors. Grooming Tools – They moved up from #10 to #8 and reached a record share. Once again, Chinese companies are a primary source for this product category. Waste Pickup – They fell from #8 to #9 largely because of the huge surge by Grooming Tools. Carriers/Crates – Fell from #9 to #10 but set a record share, due to the continued increase in Chinese exhibitors. Pet Parents’ concern for the overall health and wellness of their “pet children” remains a big priority but the impact of strong Petflation has pushed the “value” of Private Label products to the forefront. Their EOM capabilities plus the end of travel restrictions has caused an unparalleled surge in foreign exhibitors. They now occupy over 400 booths (36%). In pre-pandemic 2019 they had 295 booths (25%). You first see the impact at the animal type level. In EOM, Dog & Cat are where the $ are and both reached a record booth share in 2024. Some product categories are also showing an elevation in share including Toys, Bowls/Feeders, Beds, Carrier/Crates and Grooming Tools. The last chart details the specifics for all 33 of the Dog/Cat product categories that I defined. Of note: All the data inputs for this report and the SuperSearch tool come from a review of the GPE online exhibitor product listings AND visits to over 1300 websites. They’re not 100% accurate, but pretty close. Which categories are of interest to your business? GPE 2024 is about innovation and fulfilling needs. There are products, services and education to fulfill every need and…want. There is also an abundance of “new” – both in products and the 260+ exhibitors who are new to Pet Industry shows. However, to reap the benefits, you need a plan. Exhibitors must showcase the “right” items. Attendees need to strategically analyze their data, determine what they need to improve their business and develop a plan to find the products to fulfill their needs. Then…execute the plan. If they do nothing else at GPE, attendees will have 1 minute and 10 seconds to spend at each booth. You definitely need a plan! The GPE 2024 SuperSearch will be available the week of March 4th. It can help. Try it out. Good luck in Orlando!