SuperZoo 2017 is not a gamble…. It’s a Sure Winner!

SuperZoo 2017 is only a month away. While it is held in Las Vegas, attending or exhibiting at SuperZoo is no gamble. It’s a sure winner. Along with Global Pet Expo, SuperZoo is a “must do” if you want to be a player in the U.S. Pet Market.

As we have noted before, there are slight differences in the two shows. GPE essentially started the U.S. Pet Industry 59 years ago with their first trade show put on with 17 exhibitors and 30 total booths. It still definitely has a larger worldwide following with over 200 exhibitors from outside the U.S. Of course, the “big guys” all attend but so do the “little guys” as it has welcomed a huge number of Independent pet store attendees into the fold.

SuperZoo has grown tremendously from its roots as a regional trade show for independent Pet Stores. Independents are still its largest share of attendees, but it has also broadened its scope with an emphasis on the fast growing grooming services segment. However, make no mistake. All the “big guys” will be there too and its worldwide impact is also growing as over 100 exhibitors are from outside the U.S.

Let’s take a closer look at what you will see at SuperZoo 2017 compared to last year. Before we get started we need to take note of a “behind the scenes” trend that had an impact on the exhibitor count at this year’s show. As we all know, both GPE and SZ are now huge. Apparently, the SuperZoo exhibitors felt that they needed bigger booths to capture the attention of attendees so they upgraded in size…by almost 20%. The SuperZoo staff managed to add 17,000 more square feet of booth space but that was not enough. They needed floor space which simply was not available in the convention center. This resulted in a drop in exhibitor count and a big unfulfilled waiting list. They have remedied this situation for 2018 by moving the show to a different date when additional floor space is available. However, when we look at the various exhibitor categories we should place greater emphasis on changes in share of space rather than just count. This will give us a better read on trends. Let’s start with some overview numbers then a look at floor sections:

  • Exhibitors: 1079; Down 123 (10.2%) from 2016
  • Booths: 1034; Down 130 (11.1%) from 2016
  • Booth Sq Ft: 262,000; Up 17,000 (6.9%) from 2016
  • 432 SZ 2016 Exhibitors (35.9%) aren’t at SZ 2017
  • 309 (28.6%) are new. They didn’t do SZ 2016
  • 481 SZ Exhibitors weren’t at GPE 2017

  • The key number to remember in this chart and others is -10.2%. Any drop in exhibitor count less than -10.2% and of course, any increase in count will actually result in an increased “share” of SuperZoo Space.
  • The drop in number of booths came from booths under 400 sq ft and especially those 10 x 10 or smaller – down 108.
  • The Special Sections absorbed the entire loss and more. Last year they were the biggest driver of growth with an additional 140 booths and passed 50% of the floor space for the first time. In 2017 they gave it all back. Smaller companies took the brunt of the “hit” as they typically occupy booths that are 10×10 or less.
  • Every special section lost exhibitors. However, the two most impacted were Rodeo Drive and Critter Alley/Aquatic.
  • The Natural Section lost 43 exhibitors but still reflected the strength of this segment maintaining almost a 20% share
  • Groomers and 1st timers lost a few booths but actually gained share which also reflects the priorities of the show.

Now let’s look at the Exhibitors by type, including animal.

  • All segments loss exhibitors but most were relatively stable in share considering the overall drop in exhibitors.
  • There is one exception, Gifts and General Merchandise. There are 45 fewer exhibitors (-32.4%) resulting in a 2.9% drop in share. This is undoubtedly related to the decrease in Rodeo Drive exhibitors.
  • Exhibitors featuring Reptile or Equine Products also decreased but the loss in Share was not severe.
  • Dogs and Cats are the Royalty of the Industry and even with reduced numbers; they gained in share – especially cats.

Let’s take a closer look at the “royalty”. Here are the top 10 Dog and/or Cat Categories at SuperZoo 2017.

  • You see the strength of Cat and Dog products as 6 of 10 had an increase in exhibitors despite the 10% overall drop.
  • Treats are still #1 and growing stronger. They now have 33% more exhibitors than #2, Collars & Leads.
  • Collars & Leads showed surprising growth. Much of this was due to special function products rather than fashion.
  • Food had the biggest growth which is undoubtedly related to the strong movement to super premium foods.
  • Meds/Supplements also remains strong and is pushing Collars & Leads for the #2 Spot.
  • Grooming tools is a surprise, but the drop comes 1 year after a spectacular 34% increase so it may just be stabilizing.
  • With the show’s emphasis on grooming, Shampoos is not a surprise. They edged out carriers for the #10 spot.

Make no mistake. SuperZoo 2017 is still huge and offers a wide choice of exhibitors across all the Product Categories. Remember just 2 years ago the Exhibitor count was under 1000. The impact from the decrease in small booth exhibitors was born by the Special Floor Sections, especially Rodeo Drive and Critter Alley/Aquarium Terrace. The exhibitor types and product categories actually remained relatively stable in share. The biggest gainers were Dog and Cat Products, especially Food , treats and Meds/Supplements. However, only 5 of 32 Dog and Cat Product Categories lost any share and those losses were minor. The most significant loser in the exhibitor type section was Gifts/General Merchandise.

Finally, there are a few Dog/Cat categories outside the Top 10 with significant movement in Exhibitor count.

  • Electronic – Up 34.6%. This long anticipated trend in “electric” products may be taking off and helping to drive:
    • Containment – Up 11.1%
    • Collars – Up 2.5% (Remember, the overall exhibitor count was down 10.2% so up 2.5% is significant)
  • Waste Pick up – Up 10.6%; The number of exhibitors in this category is up 35.9% in 2 years.
  • Outside Houses/Kennels – This category had a big decrease in exhibitors – Down 26.3%.

The chart below details the specifics for all 32 of the Dog/Cat product categories that I defined for the Super Search Exhibitor Visit Planner.  (Note: The SZ 2017 Super Search will be released in early July.) All the data inputs for this report and the Super Search were derived from reviewing the SuperZoo online exhibitor product listings AND then validated by visits to over 1000 websites and numerous separate internet searches. They’re not 100% accurate, but pretty close.

Changes of special note from 2016 are highlighted. Which categories are of interest to your business?