SuperZoo 2023 is only 4 weeks away. You will see in this advance look, that the Pet Industry and in person trade shows, especially SuperZoo have come back stronger than ever from the pause due to the pandemic.
Consumers’ apprehensions regarding personal contact fueled exceptional growth in Pet Products sales on the internet. However, most of these $ are coming from proven products. Buyers of all kinds, from consumers to chain store executives prefer to make in person buying decisions on new pet items. Therefore, the strong return of in person Pet Trade shows is critically important to the continued growth of the Pet Industry. You will see this demonstrated at SuperZoo 2023 with the strong influx of new exhibitors.
Currently SuperZoo 2023 has 1099 exhibitors. That is 74 more than 2022 but still 13 less than pre-pandemic 2019. Another good indication of a return to “normal” is the increased enthusiasm from the exhibitors. As of this date, there are over 200 companies on the wait list for a booth. However, they are only 5 booths left and all are reserved. The only reason that SuperZoo hasn’t blown past the exhibitor count of earlier shows is that the WPA ran out of floorspace.
So how big is the SuperZoo 2023 “house”? There are 292,000 sq ft of booths, a 32,000 sq ft New Products Showcase, with over 1000 items, and 17,000 sq ft devoted to Show Floor Education and demonstrations – 29 sessions; 22 hours. There are also 62 separate educational sessions on grooming or business subjects totaling 84 hours. This is a great opportunity for the expected 10,000+ buyers but also a challenge. They need to make a plan to take full advantage of the amazing power of SuperZoo. Total attendance including Buyers, Exhibitors, Media/Guests is expected to be 16,000+. The show will be crowded.
New is always a focus at Pet Trade shows. That also applies to exhibitors. At SuperZoo 2023:
- 446 Exhibitors weren’t at SZ 2022
- 533 weren’t at GPE 2023
- And 337 didn’t do either show
Plus, over 265 are SuperZoo 1st Timers and 224 haven’t done any other major pet show, at least from 2019>2023. Those are some strong arguments for attending SuperZoo 2023. It is definitely a “must do” for all Pet Industry participants. Now, let’s look at some specifics of what you will see there. While a big change in the booth count is important, I suggest that you focus on the changes in the share of booths. To gain share, a category in any chart must increase their booth count by more than the 7.2% overall increase. Changes in this measurement will indicate how a particular group or product category is performing relative to other groups.
First, we’ll look at the overall show floor in terms of specialized sections.
- Because they help guide attendees’ time on the huge show floor, special sections have continued to grow in size and importance. They exceeded 50% of SuperZoo booths for the 1st time in 2021. They are now up to 60%.
- Natural & Health are the unquestioned biggest trends in Pet Products. WPA combined them in 2022. They almost always go together so it makes sense to put them in one section. Natural has been the biggest section for years. They had the biggest increase in exhibitors and gained almost 1% in share.
- Specialty & Lifestyle (Fashion) again lost share, -0.3%. This section has been trending down in recent years.
- Aquatics/Animals had a huge lift in booths. This is an important section. This shows that the COVID impact is over.
- Feed & Farm continues to be important, especially with the growing “presence” of poultry in the Pet Industry.
- Groomers will always be a major focus of SuperZoo. With a 16.9% increase in booths and a 0.7% increase in share to 8.2%, a new record high, their importance is further validated.
- The International Pavilion is small and doesn’t reflect the importance of over 200 exhibitors from outside of the U.S.
- The increase in share by Emerging Brands is very important because it shows the continued strong return of new companies to the industry. In fact, 1st Time SuperZoo exhibitors occupy 1 in every 4 booths at the show.
Now let’s look at the Exhibitors by type, including animal.
- All classifications have more exhibitors and only 2 lost share – Bird & Gen Mdse/Gifts
- In terms of Animals, there are still plenty of exhibitors offering products to cover every need for Pet Parents of all animal types. However, the biggest share gains were by Dog and Fish. Fish had the biggest % gain in booth count.
- Business Services is again the big story on this chart. This segment includes Companies that offer services to improve existing businesses and those that help in private label production – ingredients, packaging or finished products. In 2015 there were 65 SuperZoo exhibitors in this category. In 2023 there are 220, 1 in 5 booths and a 238% increase, more than triple. The driver has been the ever-increasing appeal and availability of Private Label products. Private Label brands allow retailers to differentiate themselves, offer consumers more value and usually make more profit.
Let’s take a closer look at the “Pet Royalty”. Here are the top 10 Dog and/or Cat Categories at SuperZoo 2023.
- This chart shows that the overall strong showing by Cat & Dog products was largely driven by these most popular categories. Only Treats has fewer booths but there were 3 with share losses – Treats, Med/Supp & Shampoos .
- The categories are the same as 2022 but 5 moved up or down 1 spot in ranking.
- Treats & Meds/Supp lost the most in share, but they are still in the top 2 spots with 100 more booths than #3.
- Toys had the biggest gain in booths. They also gained 1.8% in share and moved up from 4 to3 in rank.
- Collars/Leads gained 0.1% in share but fell from 3rd to 4th in rank. This was due to the big increase in Toys.
- Food is the biggest $ producer and grew even stronger with a 0.4% gain in booth share.
- Feeding Accessories had a 19% gain in booths, a 1.5% gain in share and hung on to the #6 ranking.
- Beds & Mats had the biggest gain in share, +2.1%. They also moved from a tie for 8th in 2022 to 7th place in 2023.
- Grooming Tools gained 0.8% in share but fell from 7th to 8th in rank, due to the big increase in booths by Beds/Mats.
- Shampoos only have 2 more booths than 2022 so they lost share and fell from 8th to 9th in rank.
- Apparel gained 1.0% in share showing than fashion may be coming back “in style”.
SuperZoo has an Exhibitor count close to 2019 but the average booth size grew to 273 sq ft from 252 in 2019. This is another reason why the WPA ran out of space. However, new and existing Products and Services are available to fill virtually every need or want of the attendees. Plus, the continued growth of special floor sections and making them more targeted to fulfill attendees primary needs along with a massive amount of educational sessions are 2 prime examples of the WPA’s ongoing efforts to continually improve the show.
922 exhibitors (84%) focus on Dog and/or Cat. Let’s take a closer look.
There are 74 more Exhibitors at SuperZoo 2023 than 2022. Those offering Dog and/or Cat products grew by 69. The Dog/Cat share of exhibitors increased slightly from 83.2% to 83.9%. Dogs and Cats remain the unquestioned “royalty” of the industry. Here are some of the changes from SuperZoo 2022
- 24 of 33 categories increased their number of exhibitors; 7 had decreases; 2 had no change
- 21 categories increased their share of total exhibitors; 12 lost share
- Ranking changes: 6 up; 8 down; 19 no change
In terms of booth gains & losses, the Top 10 had 9 of the 23 increases. The biggest increase was 32 by the Toys category. The Top 10 only had 1 of the 8 category decreases and CBD Products had the biggest drop.
When you look at share gains & losses, the Top 10 had 7 of the 21 gains, including the biggest, +2.1% by Beds/Mats and 4 of the 7 over 1.0%. They had 3 of the 12 that lost share and the -2.4% drop by Treats was the largest and the only decrease over 2%.
The Top 10 had 2 of the 6 increases in rank & 3 of the 8 drops. However, the biggest changes were all outside of the group.
All Dog & Cat product needs are much more than covered, with a lot of choices in each. We should also note that while the overall ‘Cat” share of booths was unchanged from 2022, 3 of the 7 product categories that gained over 1% in share are cat “driven” – Litter Acc, Scratching & Furniture.
SuperZoo again showcases what is “happening” in the Pet Industry and offers a great opportunity for Industry participants, both exhibitors and attendees, to drive the growth of their businesses. It still takes effort and commitment from everyone, but SuperZoo 2023 is the surest bet in Las Vegas!
Finally, the chart below details the specifics for all 33 of the Dog/Cat product categories that I defined for the Super Search Exhibitor Visit Planner. (Note: The SZ 2023 Super Search will be available at PetBusinessprofessor.com on 7/24.)