SuperZoo 2016 is ready to “Launch” – It’s huge! Where is it headed?

SuperZoo was recently named one of the 50 fastest growing trade shows in America by Trade Show Executive Magazine. In August, you’ll see why. In response to industry demand, the WPA re-structured and increased the size of the show. The result: 200 more exhibitors (+20%). In this post we’ll take a look at the type of exhibitors and product categories that rushed to fill that space.

But before we get started, let’s very briefly address the questions that always come up.

GPE & SuperZoo – What’s the difference? Why do both?

SuperZoo’s “roots” are that of a regional pet show. This history and their focus on the Grooming Service segment generates a higher percentage of pet retailers in attendance. One result of this is that there are more distributors and business service exhibitors. The GPE is the trade show foundation of the U.S. Pet Industry so it has always been the “must go to” show and has developed a larger International representation.

However, you should always remember that pet products are sold in over 200,000 retail outlets in the U.S. and… the internet. This means that both shows have attendees from every retail channel and exhibitors and attendees from around the world.

Logistically: The average GPE Booth is 50% bigger than SZ. The 10’x10’ is the most popular size booth at both shows. However, it is a much higher percentage of the total at SZ.

Average SZ Booth is 20’x10’        Average GPE Booth is 30’x10’

Why do both? Our industry is constantly evolving and a lot can happen in 4+ months. Also, consider this. In 2016, 620 Exhibitors are doing both shows. However:

  • 520+ Exhibitors at SuperZoo weren’t at GPE
  • 486 Exhibitors at GPE aren’t doing SuperZoo

With over 1700 total exhibitors and more than 41,000 in combined attendance….both shows are clearly a “must”.

Now, let’s take a closer look at SuperZoo to see where the huge influx of exhibitors “landed”. The 2016 show has 5 distinct Themed, Floor Sections – down from 6 last year, (no separate Equine) Here’s a comparison:


  • The special sections absorbed most of the growth and for the first time exceed 50% of the booths.
  • Natural is the hottest “classification” in U.S. Consumer products. The Pet Industry is no exception.
  • The expanded space also has allowed more 1st timers to attend.
  • Critter Alley/Aquatic also grew significantly although this may just be exhibitors opting to move from the regular floor space to the special section.
  • The Grooming Service Segment is a major priority and its growth rate exceeded the average.
  • Rodeo Drive is the second largest section but remained stable in booth count and fell in share.

One thing to remember is that there are plenty of exhibitors in the “open” floor space with products that would fit into these designated special sections. Perhaps, there was no room or they have a more diverse product line and don’t want to be limited by a narrow classification or….even more likely, they got a higher traffic location. Let’s look at the exhibitors by type, including animal.


  • The increase in Business Services is incredible. It should be noted that while the bulk of these are aimed at retailers and groomers, there are some whose focus includes manufacturers.
  • Increases in distributors and Gift/Gen Mdse also reflects the high number of retailers in attendance.
  • Dogs and Cats are the animal royalty, with an exceptionally high percentage increase in cat products.
  • All other animal types were down or about even in exhibitor count and universally down in share.

Let’s take a closer look at the “royalty”. Here are the top 10 Dog and/or Cat Categories at SuperZoo 2016.


  • Treats remain #1 and are growing even more widespread across exhibitors.
  • Meds/Supplements had the largest percentage increase and is pushing Collars & Leads for the #2 spot. It should be remembered that many new Supplements are in the form of treats, driving the growth of both categories. Meds/Supp is also a big factor in the increase in Cat Products.
  • Grooming Tools moved up 3 spots due to the strong and increasing appeal of SuperZoo to Groomers.
  • Shampoos sneaked into the top 10. (Groomers again). Carriers/Crates fell from #9 to a tie for #10.

Overall you can see that the industry recognizes the importance of SuperZoo to pet retailers and the fast growing Grooming Segment with the increase in exhibitors relating to these businesses. In terms of products, the growth is all in Dog & Cat. Treats continue to maintain their remarkable run and the growth in Meds/Supplements is nothing short of spectacular. On the downside, apparel may have peaked.

Finally, there are categories outside the Top 10 that are also making significant positive moves. A few that come to mind are:

  • Wipes (Many are medicinal)
  • Training Pads
  • Monitoring Devices.

The chart below details the specifics for all 32 of the Dog/Cat product categories that I defined for SuperSearch. Of note: All the data inputs for this report and the SuperSearch tool were derived from reviewing the SuperZoo online exhibitor product listings AND then validated by visits to over 1100 websites and numerous separate internet searches. They’re not 100% accurate, but pretty close.

[box]NOTE: The SuperZoo 2016 SuperSearch Exhibitor Visit Planner has been updated as of 7/31.  



Now, back to our chart. Changes of special note from 2015 are highlighted. Which categories are of interest to your business?





SuperZoo 2016 Will Have 200+ More Exhibitors! – What’s Your Plan?

Every SuperZoo in recent years has had a long, unfilled waiting list of companies who wanted to showcase their products at “The National Show for Pet Retailers”, but couldn’t… not enough space. In 2016 this was rectified. The Floorplan was re-structured and increased. The result: over 200 additional exhibitors, a 20% increase. However, “more exhibitors” is far from the whole story. Consider these 2016 SuperZoo facts:

  • 1189 exhibitor booths as of 7/11…up from 990 in 2015…plus a few more to be finalized!
  • 245,000+ sq ft of exhibitor booths (Plus a 20,000 sq ft New Product Showcase – over 700 new items)
  • Over 25,000 attendees with more than 12,000 buyers.
  • SuperZoo University: Seminars on Retail, Grooming and Animal Health – 80 separate sessions/topics
  • Over 4 miles of aisles – just to walk the exhibit floor

Whew! This show is huge. The show floor is open for 22 hours so…..

Let’s…“Do the Math!”

 If you don’t attend any seminars, visit the New Product Showcase, stop to chat with anyone in the aisles or for food, a drink or to go to the bathroom and maintain a walking speed of 2.5 mph…

[box]…you can spend… 62 SECONDS …with each exhibitor.

Perhaps you need a plan?


As we all know, there are a lot of distractions in Vegas. However, the primary purpose for attending  SuperZoo  or any industry event must be to improve your business.

With a higher concentration of Pet retailer attendees and a commitment to groomers, there are subtle differences between SuperZoo and GPE.  But make no mistake. SuperZoo has attendees from every major retail channel and attracts both exhibitors and attendees from around the globe. Both SuperZoo and GPE are “must do” events for anyone who wants to maintain and increase their Pet Business. This year’s spectacular growth in exhibitors is a tribute to the WPA, the SuperZoo staff…and the U.S. Pet Industry.

Despite the variety of offerings to fill an attendee’s time, SuperZoo is still primarily about Pet Products – Food, treats and a vast array of Supply categories.

  • New Products are a critical element in helping to turn around the current deflation in Food and Supplies so of course, you must take the time to visit the new product area.
  • Knowledge is power so you should also sign up for any relevant classes.
  • Sometimes it’s not what you know, but who you know that matters most. This makes networking with other industry professionals a priority.
  • “Leave no stone unturned” in your quest for success. This means you need to walk the whole show.

SuperZoo and GPE are both about gathering information and making decisions to improve your business – whether they are made on the spot or put on your “must do” list.

Every business can always improve in terms of products. If you are a retailer, what sections of your store are not doing as well as you hoped and need a “facelift” or conversely, what areas are growing and need products to fill additional space? Category managers for distributors and retail chains may only be interested in targeted visits to exhibitors relevant to their “categories”. Representatives may be looking for new manufacturers…in specific product categories. Manufacturers could be looking to find distributors to handle their products or just looking to “check out” the competition. In regard to products, there is always something to see…for everyone!

So you’re definitely going to be at SZ 2016, how do you make the most of your time on the show floor?

In 2014, I designed a “tool” in Excel ,The SuperSearch Exhibitor Visit Planner to make your time on the show floor more productive. It was well received so I have updated it for every show since. “Updated” doesn’t just refer to the exhibitor list but also to the product category offerings for every exhibitor. I reviewed every exhibitor profile on the show site, but I also visited over 1100 websites and conducted numerous online searches to “validate” these offerings. It is not 100% accurate. However, it is close.

What does the SuperSearch do?…It searches for and produces a list of Exhibitors by product categories.

  • From the simplest…”just give me a list that I can look at on my phone or tablet quickly in either Booth # order or alphabetically”
  • To the most complex…”can do a simultaneous search for multiple specific product categories, allowing me to personally narrow down the initial results and see the “final” alphabetically or by booth number.

The SZ SuperSearch Exhibitor Visit Planner does both…and more…and does it quickly! Here’s what it looks like. It looks complex but is truly quite simple…Of course, you will print results in “landscape” – easier to read!


  1. In the Top section, you “design” your searches.
    • Enter a “Y” in the exhibitor search column. It turns green to indicate an “active” search
    • Enter a “1” the desired category
      1. NEW FEATURE: The corresponding cells for affected exhibitors will also turn green. This makes your final list easier to work. At each booth, you’ll know what you’re looking for!
      2. If you want to search separately for several categories, use multiple rows (multiple search results are combined into 1 list for efficiency)
      3. If you want the results to be “and”…for example, exhibitors that carry, treats, toys and beds, put a “1” in all three…in the same row. Only those with all 3 will show up.
      4. Note: If you enter something other than a “1”, the cell turns red to indicate an error
  2. Now, click on “Execute” search and it happens
  3. You can then view the results alphabetically or in booth # order by clicking on a button.

Pretty simple, don’t you think? Plus, you can personally narrow the search results by using the “U pick ‘em” feature. And of course there is also a button to clear your search criteria so you can easily begin a new search.

Ready to Start Planning?

There is a download link provided for the SuperZoo 2016 Super Search tool as well as one for the instructions. Please print out and read the instructions before you start to “play”. Yes, the instructions are 4 pages long. But before you get “turned off” about their length, take a look at some of the instructions that you have around the house…vacuum cleaner – 11 pgs; coffee maker – 21 pgs; cell phone…a novel!  After you see what the Super Search can do, your searches may grow more complex. The instructions will help you to be more efficient from the start… Note: SZ 2016 SuperSearch has been updated based on info as of 7/31/16. Exhibitor additions/changes from the 7/11 to the 7/19 version have a pink highlighted booth number. The changes from 7/19 to 7/22 are highlighted in blue. Lost 4, gained 1 (orange) since 7/22. Hopefully, this is final. 

Plan your work! Work your plan!

You will be more productive and more successful!

Download Now…And Get Started!

[button link=”” type=”icon” newwindow=”yes”] Download Instructions (PDF)[/button]

(To save the PDF to your computer Right Click the download link and select “Save Link As…”)

[button link=”” type=”icon” newwindow=”no”] Download SuperSearch SZ 2016 -7-31-16Rev(Excel)[/button]

(For the Excel file to work on your computer, be sure to enable macros/editing)