GPE 2018 – It’s “All Under One Roof” and Coming Soon!

This year’s theme, “All Under One Roof” is not only accurate, it reflects one of the strongest trends in the evolution of the U.S. retail market in the last 40 years – One Stop Shopping. We saw it first in the late 70’s as Grocery stores began to expand in size by radically increasing their GM departments, eventually adding, delis, coffee shops and pharmacies. They became today’s Supermarkets. Discount stores also saw an opportunity. They added a full grocery department and doubled in size to become today’s SuperCenters and Warehouse Clubs – the highest volume retail outlets in history.

What is behind this “one stop shopping movement”? It is the U.S. consumer. 3 factors drive their buying behavior:

  • Value (Price + Quality)
  • Convenience
  • Selection

One Stop Shopping answers all 3 of these consumer needs. You can also see why internet sales have taken off. Driven by the internet, non-store retailers passed the SuperCenter/Club channel in March of 2016. They only trail Supermarkets, but not for long. The internet will become the #1 retail channel in America because it is nearly impossible for a brick ‘n mortar store to beat a well-run “virtual” store in the 3 key areas affecting consumer buying behavior. To compete, traditional store retailers need to offer an online option, a personalized experience and when possible, services which are unavailable through the internet. This is especially true in our industry because Pet Parenting is very personal.

So how does all of this relate to GPE 2018? It is not just consumers, but buyers at all levels that are strongly impacted by these 3 factors. By putting all the key companies “Under One Roof”, GPE insures that the buyers are likely to be satisfied.

The presence of so many competing companies from around the world insures that they will get a great value. Having them all in one place allows the buyers to easily see the products up close and personal. Finally, where could they find a bigger selection? Ex: There are over 360 exhibitors offering Dog and/or Cat treats. However, “All Under One Roof” isn’t just a benefit for attendees. The exhibitors can see their competition but more importantly, the attendees include buyers from the smallest independent pet stores through the largest retail chains in all channels. The opportunity is there for everyone – and it’s “All Under One Roof” at GPE 2018. Let’s take a look at what awaits you in Orlando.

First, some 2018 GPE “booth” facts: (Note: 2/20/18 – 98% of the booths are assigned or committed)

  • 1185 booths – up only 1% from last year but an incredible 16.5% from 2014
  • 358,000 sq ft of exhibit booth space (Not counting the 30,000 sq ft new product area) – up 23.6% from 2014.
  • 10 x 10 is still the most popular size – with 435, in fact 70% of the booths are 20 x 10 or less.
  • But Booths are also slightly larger than 2017 – the “average” booth is over 300 sq ft (30×10)
  • Size matters – Booths 300 to 800 sq ft (26%) occupy 41% of the space. Those over 1000 sq ft (4%) cover 25%.

Will you see any new exhibitors or is it the usual group? The “usual” group is definitely there (807 from 2017) but…

  • 348 (30%) of the GPE 2018 Exhibitors did not exhibit at GPE 2017 (1 in every 3 Exhibitors was not at GPE 2017!)
    • In fact, 289 (25%) of this year’s GPE exhibitors didn’t exhibit at either GPE 2017 or SZ 2017

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

  • International – Separate pavilions for 4 countries – China, Taiwan, Great Britain and Canada, Total: 84 Booths. However, this is only about 28% of the 299 exhibitors from 28 countries outside the U.S. – GPE is truly GLOBAL!
  • Natural – 144 Booths: Down 7 (-5%) but booths are larger as “Natural” still has a very strong consumer appeal.
  • Boutique – 51 Booths: Down 1 (2%) The section is “stable”, but down 22% from 2014. Fashion still has a strong appeal but Pet Parents’ priorities have shifted more to function, health and wellness.
  • Aquatic – 58 Booths: Up 7 (14%). GPE has a long standing commitment to be the “go to” show for Aquatics.
  • 1st Time Exhibitors – 144 Booths: The Section is full but only includes about 40% of the 348+ 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, if you “do the math” you see that 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.

Once again I will be creating a GPE Exhibitor Visit Planner that allows attendees 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 2018 SuperSearch will be made available on February 27th. 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 (Numbers are based on assigned booths as of 2/20/18)

  • Dogs Still Rule – 84% (5 out of every 6 booths) are selling dog products.
  • Cats continue to move upIn 2018, Cat Products were offered by 54% of exhibitors. Up from 40% in 2014.
  • Fish/Aquatic – This category took a down turn after 3 years of increases.
  • Other Animals – Reptiles came back after a bad 2017. However, the other animals are showing a slow decline.
  • Business Services – From POS systems to private label manufacturing, the continued growth reflects the growing business needs of attendees.
  • Distributors – A big lift, reflecting GPE’s increasing appeal to independents.
  • Gift/Gen Mdse – The drop in this category reflects the increasing priority of health & wellness over boutique.

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. 1 in 3 booths offers treats. (Many supplements are in treat form.)
  • OTC Meds/Supplements/Devices continue strong growth. 241 Booths: Up 128 (113%) from 2014.
  • Food and Feeding Accessories both flattened out. While still strong, they may have plateaued.
  • Toys – It’s not all about health and nutrition. There is still room for fun. Toys maintained the #2 spot.
  • Apparel – The growth in this category is being driven, not by fashion but by therapeutic devices like vests.
  • Collars, Leads & Harnesses – Gaining a little ground. The numbers are actually buoyed up by wellness products.
  • Beds/Mats are still a strong #6, but their growth seems to be on hold.
  • Grooming Tools and Shampoos – You see the growing strength of the Grooming Segment as Shampoos knocked Crates and Carriers out of the top 10.

The health benefits of Super Premium Foods brought that category to the forefront of the industry. Pet Parents’ concern for the overall health and wellness of their “pet children” is also behind the current biggest trend. It is helping to drive the growth of 4 top 10 categories – apparel, C&L/Harnesses, treats and Meds/Supp/Devices – and it’s not slowing down.

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.

Which categories are of interest to your business?

GPE 2018 does have it “All Under One Roof”, including enhanced educational offerings and of course…the New Product Showcase. However, to reap the benefits, you need a plan. Exhibitors need to effectively 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 business needs. Then…execute the plan. This is hard work and if they do nothing else at GPE, attendees have a “whopping” 1 minute and 13 seconds to spend with each exhibitor. The GPE 2018 SuperSearch tool will be released in next week’s post. I believe that it can help. Try it out and…Good luck in Orlando!