ASD Las Vegas Attracts Varying Mix of Traffic and Energy

March 29, 2012

In an economy that hasn’t exactly been kind to the retail sector, ASD Las Vegas proved that being the country’s largest consumer goods trade show can have its upside and downside.

The upside was the show had increases in attendance; the downside was some exhibitors complained about the late March show dates.

Held at the Las Vegas Convention Center March 25-28, the biannual retail behemoth not only boasted a staggering variety of products, but also varying levels of traffic, buying activity and exhibitor optimism, depending on the category and industry segment. 

Although some areas of the show were busier than others, the event itself experienced an overall uptick in buyer participation and size, with a projected 9-percent increase in attendance, said Camille Candella, ASD group marketing director.

This year, ASD drew more than 45,000 attendees and 3,000 exhibitors occupying 680,000 square feet, while last August, 45,000 attendees and 2,800 exhibitors spanned 650,000 sq. ft. of exhibit space, she added.

“It’s looking like more people are coming out, so that’s a good sign,” Candella said. “With the economy we took a little bit of a dip but that’s also because we serve such a broad category. But if exhibitors have good product and they’re paying attention to their market, they’re doing well. Plus, I think more people are discovering this show, even though it’s been around for 50 years. They’ve realized you can come (here) and get a lot done.”

And getting the word out about the value of ASD has been a big push for Nielsen Expositions, which owns and produces the show. Strategies to grow the event and keep it viable include expanding high-growth categories, continuing a strategic hosted buyer program targeting first-time Latin American and domestic buyers and plans to make sure cutting-edge product trends are represented on the show floor going forward, Candella said.

Touted as six shows in one, ASD’s current merchandise categories include gift and home, jewelry and cash and carry, fashion accessories, toys and novelties, health and beauty and value and variety. And each category seemed to be having its own distinct show experience, depending who you asked and what industry sector they represented.

Exhibitor Minkyu Park, marketing director of Idea Design Concept, echoed several exhibitors in the jewelry and fashion accessories sections who were unhappy about the late March show dates.

“The show itself has been great, but traffic is slower than last year,” Park said. “Generally the show is held during late February or early March, but this time it’s in late March, so many of our big customers didn’t come because it’s too late for them to buy spring and summer merchandise. We’ve been exhibiting eight years, and I think it’s the slowest show I’ve been to.”

But despite timing issues, most attendees said they were pleased with the range of buying opportunities they were discovering at ASD, including attendee Dan Christian, owner of Timely Concepts.

“It seems like a lot of people are ordering and a few people aren’t doing any business but by and large the show looks good,” Christian said. “I’m finding some good finds. It makes all the difference in the world, meeting someone face-to-face, to be able to hold and feel their merchandise and look in the eyes of who you’re going to do business with rather than just talking over the phone. That’s really important.”

ASD will return to the LVCC Aug. 11-14.

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