GLOBAL PET EXPO 2017: “The Show that means Business” is coming soon!

Every Pet Parent knows the joy and fulfillment that comes as a result of their companion animals. Plus, the folks at HABRI have taken this a step further. They continue to compile mounds of evidence that definitively proves that companion animals do improve our physical and mental health. We are all extremely lucky to be involved in an industry that works to improve the quality of life of both companion animals and people.

However, as this year’s GPE so rightly points out, the Pet Industry is also about business. The GPE evolved from the APPMA. That first show took place in 1958, with 17 exhibitors occupying 30 booths. This year’s GPE will showcase the wares of over 1158 exhibitors occupying more than 1164 separate booths. If that increase seems impressive, consider this. The US BLS dug into their archives and I was able to calculate that Total Pet Spending (All 4 Segments) in 1960 was $1.08B. In 2015 it reached $67.75B. Let’s put this huge increase in perspective. Adjusted for inflation, Pet Spending has increased at an annual rate that is 78% faster than Total U.S. Income and twice as fast as Total Consumer Spending..

This growth has attracted some attention and a “little” competition. Pet Products are now sold in over 200,000 U.S. retail outlets, plus the internet. Moreover, the combined exhibitor list from GPE 2016-17 and SuperZoo 2016 totals over 1900 different companies. About 25% of all show exhibitors don’t return the following year and every year they are replaced with new “entrants”. Without a strategic plan and a strong business focus , pet companies can and do fail. This rule extends beyond “startups”. Existing companies – manufacturers, distributors and retailers are not immune. So… TAKE CARE OF BUSINESS! And the place to do that is… GPE 2017. Let’s take a look at what awaits you in Orlando.

First, some 2017 GPE “booth” facts: (As of 2/20/17, 99+% of the booths were taken. A handful await final commitment.)

  • Over 1164 booths – up 3.9% from 2015
  • 350,000 sq ft of exhibit floor booth space (Not counting the new product area) – up 5% from 2015
  • 10 x 10 is still the most popular size – with 422, in fact 70% of the booths are 20 x 10 or less.
  • But Booths are 2% larger than 2016 – the “average” booth is over 300 sq ft (30×10)
  • Size matters – Booths 300 to 800 sq ft (25%) occupy 41% of the space. Those over 1000 sq ft (4%) cover 26%.

Will you see any new exhibitors or is it the usual group? The “usual” group is definitely there (773 from 2016) but…

  • 391 (34%) of the GPE 2017 Exhibitors did not exhibit at GPE 2016 (1 in every 3 Exhibitors this year was not at GPE 2016!)
    • In fact, 325 (28%) of this year’s GPE exhibitors didn’t exhibit at either GPE 2016 or SZ 2016

There are Specially Designated “Floor Sections” at GPE. Here is a brief review.

  • International – Now separate pavilions for 4 countries – China, Taiwan, Great Britain and Canada, Total: 78 This is up 50% but is only about 1/3 of the 200+ exhibitors from outside the U.S. GPE is truly GLOBAL!
  • Natural – 151 Booths: Up 29 (24%) “Natural” is still a “magic” word to the “ultimate” buyers – the consumers.
  • Boutique – 52 Booths: Up 1 (2%) The section is “stable”, but down 20% from 2014. It is also much smaller than SuperZoo’s Rodeo Drive. A big factor may be the higher percentage of Retail Pet Stores among SZ attendees.
  • Aquatic – 51 Booths: No Change. GPE has a long standing commitment to be the “go to” show for Aquatics.
  • 1st Time Exhibitors – 136 Booths: The Section is full but only includes about half of the 265+ 1st Time exhibitors at the show. If you want to get firmly established in the U.S. Pet Industry, you “must” do GPE. Every year, a major focus of Global Pet Expo is on “new”…both in products and in exhibitors.

A word of caution: These are specially targeted sections. However, as we have seen, 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 insure that you get a full view of the product categories of interest to you.

To facilitate show planning for attendees, in 2015 I developed a search tool for GPE and SuperZoo . Using Super Search, attendees are able to plan out their floor time by targeting the exhibitors with products that they are interested in seeing. Up to 5 product category searches can be run concurrently and the results are available in alpha or booth# order. The GPE 2017 Super Search will be published on 2/28. Now, let’s take a look at the results from this year’s research on exhibitors’ product offerings.

First We’ll Compare Exhibitor Types – By function: By Animal type

  • Dogs Rule – 84% (5 out of every 6 booths) are selling dog products.
  • Cats are making a moveIn 2017, Cat Products surpassed 50% of exhibitors. Up from 40% in 2014.
  • Fish/Aquatic is still positive. The other animals, especially reptiles and small animals are losing space.
  • Business Services – This can range from POS systems to private label manufacturing. The growth is huge and reflects the growing business needs of attendees.
  • Distributors – The count is less than half of SZ, but growth reflects GPE’s increasing appeal to independents.

Dogs and Cats are the undisputed royalty of Pet. Because of their huge impact on the industry. I have divided the products designed for them into 32 subcategories. Let’s see how this year’s GPE Top Ten (by booth count) are doing.

  • Treats are still #1 and expanding their lead. Nearly 1 of every 3 GPE booths is selling dog and/or cat treats.
  • OTC Meds/Supplements continue strong growth. 212 Booths: Up 99 (88%) from 2014. Many are in treat form.
  • Food and even Feeding Accessories both showed strong growth, gaining in both Booth Count and share.
  • Toys – It’s not all about health and nutrition. There is still room for fun. Toys moved into a tie for the #2 spot.
  • Apparel fell 2 spots in rank and is losing exhibitors. The count is down 10% from the peak in 2015
  • Collars & Leads – Stable in count but losing share. The numbers are actually buoyed up by wellness products.
  • Beds/Mats gained slightly in count but fell in rank and slightly in share.
  • Carriers – Took advantage of the drop in Clothes to move up in rank. Soft-sided carriers were a big factor.
  • Grooming Tools – The Service Segment is strong. Tools entered the top 10 last year and continue to grow.

U.S. Consumers are more nutritionally focused and are transferring this attention to their companion animals. Super Premium Foods and Treats, Health & Wellness related products from Supplements to specialty feeders and even health related collars are filling the internet, more and more retail shelves, consumers homes…and of course, GPE Booths. Except for the strong, “fun” move by Toys, in 2017 the trend is function over fashion.

The last chart details the specifics for all 32 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 1100 websites. They’re not 100% accurate, but pretty close. Changes of special note from 2016 are highlighted.

Which categories are of interest to your business?

In addition to being bigger, the show staff works hard to make each GPE better, including enhanced educational offerings and of course…the New Product Showcase. In combination with the excellent work being done on SuperZoo, we have 2 “must attend” U.S. Pet Industry Shows. Thank you, APPA, PIDA and WPA!

Taking Care of Business – Time is Money. If they do nothing else, attendees can spend 1 minute and 14 seconds with each exhibitor. To have a successful show, everyone needs a plan. Exhibitors must provide accurate, advance information on their product offerings and showcase the “right” items in an impactful manner. 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 business needs. Then…execute the plan. Taking Care of Business requires planning and hard work. The GPE Super Search tool will be released in my upcoming post on 2/28/17. I believe that it can help. Good luck and I hope to see you in Orlando!