• Thomas Russell

High Point Market Authority reports drop in April buyer attendance

Overall registrations fell 5% compared with April 2016

HIGH POINT – The High Point Market Authority reported 75,000 registrations for the April High Point Market, down about 5% from the previous April figure of nearly 79,000. This represents the number of people who actually request badges to access various buildings at market.

While it did not provide a specific number of attendees, the Market Authority said actual buyer attendance was down 2.6% compared with last April. That figure does not include exhibitor or sales representative attendance.

“2017 arrived with lots of optimism, and there’s lots of data supporting a strengthening economy, but it is still a challenging environment for many brick-and-mortar retailers,” said Jeff Scheffer, chairman of the High Point Market Authority and president of Universal Furniture. “It’s a consolidating industry, so it wasn’t too surprising to see our retail attendance – and thus our overall market attendance – dip slightly.

"That said, I’ve heard nothing but positive comments about April. We were pleased to have increased traffic in the Universal showroom, and I’ve heard from other exhibitors who have had similar experiences. There was a high level of energy and enthusiasm going in, and that carried on through market and even now afterward."

The figures contrast with what officials said was an increase in overall international buyer attendance as well as a collective 32.6% increase in interior designer attendees from 2012 to 2017.

“The Market Authority has been at work over the past 10 years to make the trade show more designer-friendly,” said Tom Conley, president and CEO of the High Point Market Authority. “We’ve noticed exhibitors adjusting their business models to be able to work with both retailers and designers. This has helped tremendously and been well-received by attendees, and the data reflects that.”

Thomas RussellThomas Russell | Associate Editor, Furniture Today

I'm Tom Russell and have worked at Furniture/Today since August 2003. Since then, I have covered the international side of the business from a logistics and sourcing standpoint. Since then, I also have visited several furniture trade shows and manufacturing plants in Asia, which has helped me gain perspective about the industry in that part of the world. As I continue covering the import side of the business, I look forward to building on that knowledge base through conversations with industry officials and future overseas plant tours. From time to time, I will file news and other industry perspectives online and, as always, welcome your response to these Web postings.

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