STAMFORD, CONN. — The American Pet Products Association (APPA) and Pet Industry Distributors Association (PIDA) have crunched the numbers for its 16th annual pet industry trade show, Global Pet Expo, reporting strong attendance and offerings despite uncertainty posed by the COVID-19 outbreak.

The show, which ran Feb. 26-28 in Orlando, Fla., covered 354,000-square-feet of the Orange County Convention Center, attracted 6,041 buyers, and featured 1,066 exhibitors across 3,541 booths. In addition, the coveted New Product Showcase section stretched 45,000 square feet across the show floor.

Twenty-two percent of buyers who attended Global Pet Expo 2020 represented the international pet community from 78 countries outside of the United States. Attendance from the US was up 6% compared to last year’s show, driven largely by an increase in representation from the West Coast, and attendance of mass market buyers in the US was up 17%.

“With more than 20% of buyers registered coming to Global Pet Expo for four or more years consecutively, it demonstrates the vital role this trade show plays for pet retailers. It should also be noted we had 222 first-time exhibiting companies, recognizing Global Pet Expo as an exceptional opportunity for new entrepreneurs and businesses entering the industry,” said Anthony Darmohraj, executive vice president and chief operating officer of APPA. 

Steve King, chief executive officer of APPA, added, “The pet industry is thriving and that is a direct result of passionate pet owners whose wants and needs for their pets continue to drive innovation. Our demand for pet products and services very much mirrors those in our own lives, wanting the very best to care for our pets. I’m certain that the level of ingenuity in products we see at Global Pet Expo each year will continue to amaze and inspire attendees for years to come.”

A travel ban issued to limit the spread of coronavirus impacted the attendance of exhibitors and buyers form certain Asian countries.

“The ways in which COVID-19 has changed the world are still unfolding. And while it wasn’t quite business as usual, we are extremely proud of the Global Pet Expo team for their tireless work to not only adapt to the changing landscape but pull off a safe and productive event with unparalleled show experience,” Darmohraj said.

Global Pet Expo Academy, a series of educational seminars, drew a record number of 2,000 attendees in 2020 spread across 46 total hours of sessions throughout the show. The Academy program featured 15 speakers on various pet industry topics, such as pet nutrition trends, an update on the hemp-CBD landscape, social media tactics, marketing strategies, retail tips and more.

“We’re proud to offer free access to these first-class educational programs,” said Celeste Powers, president of PIDA. “This is the opportunity of the year to learn from many of pet retailing’s best-known authorities on a wide array of business-building topics. By providing retailers with this important education, it’s our goal that this information will not only deepen their knowledge, but also put their businesses on the road to success in 2020 and beyond.”

APPA also released its latest pet industry spending data during the show, which estimated 2019 industry sales at nearly $100 billion. Pet food and treat sales drove a majority of total revenue at $36.9 billion.

Global Pet Expo 2021 is set for March 24-26 at the Orange County Convention Center.

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