Atlanta Market sees double-digit growth

Canada, the Northeast and the Southwest saw significant attendee increases.

Strong order writing, expanded discovery opportunities, standing-room-only events and significant participation from industry organizations brought energy to the bustling Winter 2023 Atlanta Marketstaged Jan. 10-16, 2023 at AmericasMart Atlanta.

“Atlanta Market is thriving!” said Bob Maricich, International Market Centers (IMC) CEO. “It felt like the Atlanta Market that buyers and sellers know and love. The surprise and delight of new product, connecting with new and old industry friends, engaging with programming — and even waiting for a packed elevator – were welcomed signs of a confident industry looking forward.”

Atlanta Market attendance posted double-digit growth over the Winter 2022 staging, attracting buyers from all 50 states and 56 countries. International traffic significantly increased, nearly doubling year over year with a notable 350% increase in Canadian attendees. Domestically, attendance from the Northeast grew by 40-plus % and the Southwest by 70-plus %.

The soft launch of AmericasMart’s new Casual/Outdoor Furnishings collection was a major draw at Atlanta Market this winter. Some 41 showrooms opened for their first Atlanta Market with expansive presentations for retailers and designers.

Designer Lisa Wester of Lisa Wester Interiors in Oneota, Ala. said “I enjoyed the new casual living floors. I found several interesting new vendors and was happy to see a few of my old staples there as well. It was so refreshing to see tons of fresh merchandise at Atlanta Market — it finally felt like we’ve put the pandemic behind us.”

“We were much busier than we expected for our first show in our new Floor 2 space – we had more than 600 badge scans,” noted exhibitor James Oh, Assistant Vice President of Sales for Summer Classics and Gabby. “Business was definitely happening on Floor 2 with influential showrooms like Telescope Casual, Lloyd Flanders and us together. Our new showroom is going to have an impact on the Summer Classics brand.”

Driving Atlanta Market’s attendance growth was the return of major buying groups, associations and key accounts for the first time since Winter 2020. Some 15 buying groups and associations hosted member meetings and presented programming at the Winter 2023 Atlanta Market.

Heather Smith, president The Good Toy Group, which returned to Atlanta Market after a hiatus during the pandemic, said, “Atlanta Market is our most important jumpstart to the year! As a buying group, we were able to fly or drive in from all over the country, meet and scour the market for the newest toys and fresh trends, plus connect and nurture the most important relationships we have.”

GC Buying Groups’ GCX: Start the Year Conference drew 80-plus vendors and 160+ buyers for education, a vendor showcase and multiple networking events. Janis Johnson, president and founder of GC Buying Group commented, “What a thrill to see kitchen and housewares back in action at Atlanta Market.

January’s GCX/Start the Year Member Conference was a true testament to the return of an industry, with buyer and seller energy at a pre-pandemic high. Working closely, the GC team and IMC staff delivered a well-attended event with an overwhelmingly positive vibe. From education to product previews, and a unique opportunity for social interaction among store and vendor members, the event was proclaimed a resounding success by GC and all who attended.”

Suzanne Lane of Gray Goose Cookery in Rhode Island, who attended the conference, added “Atlanta Market was a great show for us! We were happy to network with our fellow GC buying group retailers and vendors who we had not seen for several years due to COVID.”

Key accounts had a major presence at Atlanta Market with double digit growth in attendance year over year. Notable among the high-volume retailers that attended are Anthropologie, Bath & Body Works/White Barn, Costco Wholesale, Dillard’s, Kohls Dept Store, Marmaxx Group/TJX, Nordstrom, Normans Hallmark, Williams Sonoma, Zulily and many more.

John Hanna, design director and buyer for JK Home Furnishings, with seven locations in South Carolina, said, “We particularly enjoy Atlanta Market because it is our opportunity to shop for accessories and finishing touches. Our bedding, accents, florals, artwork and lighting finds from this market really take our groupings and selections to the next level. We’ve cultivated several new accounts from this visit that will make a big splash impact with our new introductions in late Winter and early Spring.”

Discovery was top of mind for retailers and designers looking for new ideas and opportunities in Atlanta Market’s 2,100 permanent showroom and temporary exhibitors. Significant and confident order writing across the market indicated buyers were engaging the full lifestyle offerings of Atlanta Market to develop compelling product mixes.

Exhibitor Mark Reaves, executive vice president of resort/souvenir brand EMI Sportswear, said he was “blown away by the traffic. This was one of our top five shows ever and we do 25 shows per year.” He reported a 30% close rate on drop-in appointments with orders from 23 different states.

Some 300-plud new permanent showroom and temporary exhibitors encouraged even more discovery for Atlanta Market buyers.

Handmade pet toy exhibitor Michael Young of Wacky Walk’r expanded from primarily pet-focused trade shows to reach a wider audience for his product. “This was our first time exhibiting at ANY gift show and it’s been fantastic. The response has been amazing and the buyers have been wonderful.” Young reported orders from a broad range of retailers from gift boutiques, pharmacies and hospitals to hardware stores and furniture stores hailing from across the United States.

Exhibitor Lauren O’Shea Logan debuted her Night Baker gourmet line to great success. “I wanted  to launch at the best market and everyone said to go to Atlanta. They were right! After this market I am officially an international brand with a presence in Canada plus 17 states.”

Beyond buying, retailers and designers were fully immersed in Atlanta Market programming. Some 20-plus events over three days drew expansive crowds looking for business-building education, inspiration and celebration.

The Summer 2023 Atlanta Market is July 11-17, 2023, at AmericasMart Atlanta. The debut of Casual Market Atlanta runs July 10-13, 2023.

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