An increase in retailers in need of 4th quarter inventory resulted in strong order writing and record-breaking show sales for many exhibitors at the summer 2009 New York International Gift Fair(NYIGF), which ran August 15-20, at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center and Passenger Ship Terminal Pier 94. The semi-annual Fair drew over 31,000 people from 50 states and 85 countries - representing a 5.6% increase in overall attendance - and presented 2,800 exhibitors in 511,000+ net square feet of exhibit space.
"There was a positive 'vibe' on the exhibit floor, which translated into a renewed sense of optimism for buyers and exhibitors alike," said Dorothy Belshaw, NYIGF director and GLM senior vice president. "We heard repeatedly that NYIGF was the best show of the summer season, because of order-writing as well as overall attendance gains."
Buyers from across the country visited New York - the last of the summer gift and home markets - resulting in significant attendance growth for NYIGF. As part of overall regional, national and international gains, there were exponential increases in attendance from the southeast, southwest, and west coast of the United States, topped by a 90% increase in buyers from Florida. Rounding out the top five states in terms of attendance growth were: Minnesota at 70%; Washington at 55%; California at 40%; and North Carolina and Ohio, both up 35%.
"The August gift fair proves that things are getting better," said JoAnne Grazzini of BedHead Pajamas. "While this is always a good show in any economy, we had a record-breaking day this week. We had new business from new stores, and very high quality buyers."
International attendance also was up, with an increase of 88% from Canada and more than 50% gains from both Australia and Brazil. This growth mirrored gains in international exhibitor participation at the summer market, with expanded participation from both Japan and Germany, the addition of India, South Korea, and Spain and the return of the Italian Trade Commission.
Other positive changes for the summer market included the strategic re-positioning of several divisions and new partnerships with member-based organizations. The relocation of EXВ·TRACTS (now between General Gift and At Home featuring Home Textiles) at the Javits Center and the incorporation of STUDIO into the Javits Center, alongside Accent on Design, stimulated cross-category sales and buyer-friendly synergies between divisions. At Pier 94, At Home featured a consolidation of all hard lines, and the debut of a partnership with ASID (American Society of Interior Designers) which sparked attendance from professional interior designers.
NYIGF extended its commitment to promote "green" within the gift and home industry, by partnering with GREENRetailer to launch the first semi-annual Eco Choice Awards. Three products from some 175 displayed in NYIGF's SustainAbility: design for a betterworld exhibit, were voted tops by retailers in three categories. Vanishing Creatures Chocolates by Vanishing Creatureswas named "Most Innovative"; Gold Bar Pillows by Lulan Artisans was named "Most Sensitive Use of Materials"; and Beach, Woods and Park dog bath products by lani-dig your dog was named "Most Sellable". A complete list of winners will appear in the Fall issue of GREENRetailer.