Buyers Meant Business at Winter 2022 Atlanta Market
By the close of the Winter 2022 Atlanta Market, exhibiting brands were touting shattered sales records as attendees demonstrated their buying power, eagerly sourcing new brands, products and trends across the bustling event. Held Jan. 11-18 at AmericasMart Atlanta, the country’s leading gift, décor and lifestyle market proved to be a veritable epicenter of buying activity, hosting retailers and designers from all 50 states and 39 countries.
“Based on the reports of record-breaking sales and growth in order size, it appears that buyers found what they were looking for [at Atlanta Market]—and more!” said Bob Maricich, CEO of International Market Centers (IMC), which owns and runs the venue and its wide array of annual and semi-annual B2B trade shows.
Despite wintery weather conditions and lingering COVID-related issues, market attendance at the Winter 2022 edition outpaced its 2021 counterpart by nearly 70%, with all market verticals—gift, home and apparel—recording growth and robust attendance, especially the gift segment.
“People were here and ready for business,” said Attendee Yvette Shipley of San Antonio, Texas-based embroidery, invitation and customization shop Ibettink. “We were looking to do business with new vendors and lines, and Atlanta Market always has the ‘new.’”
Across Atlanta Market’s more than 2,000 permanent showrooms and temporary exhibits, including more than 200 that were new or expanded in January, sellers reported healthy and even record-breaking orders from enthusiastic gift, décor and apparel industry buyers looking to see, touch, feel and source product from upwards of 8,000 lines.
“This was the busiest January Atlanta Market I have seen in several years,” said Exhibitor Dan Loughman, president and CEO of Roman. “Our show sales were the highest in 17 or 18 years, with average order sizes significantly larger than in the past, and we opened dozens of new accounts. It was great to see [our] customers at market again—for some, it was the first time in two years.”
Some exhibitors took to social media to share their delight with their performance at the Winter Market.
Brad Rosenkampff, managing partner and CPO of The Link Companies shared, “Despite obvious health challenges, a few cancellations and then snow, it was a monster show—record-breaking and well beyond expectations. We are extremely excited about this amazing start of ’22.”
Augmenting strong order-writing from independent stores were key accounts and buying groups that returned to the market in force. Many high-volume buyers, from Amazon to Anthropologie, used the market to discover new brands, while the 11 buying groups that Atlanta Market hosted helped to further amplify buying activity.
“MAI Retailers’ estimated buying power is over $25 million and a quarter of our members are larger stores who came in on Sunday and stayed the whole week,” said Amanda Bollenbach, MAI executive director and owner of Daisy Day Brands in Walton, Fla. “Our stores get together and share what orders have been written, so we were essentially crowdsourcing hot product for more than 50 buyers.”
The four-day show also offered a host of engaging in-person programming and special events, including eight seminars and cooking demonstrations featuring standing-room-only crowds.
“We’re heading home with our hearts full of inspiration and our order sheets full of orders,” said attendee Meg Veno, creative director and founder of Life’s Patina Co, a mercantile, café and historic farm venue in Chester Springs, Pa. “We finally get to meet amazing vendors we follow on Instagram or have seen in magazines in person, discover totally new vendors who make incredible products and hear their unique stories, soak in all the inspiration around trends, vignettes and displays. Our hearts are full to have been able to experience Atlanta again after a year’s hiatus!”
The next Atlanta Market is set for July 12-18 at AmericasMart Atlanta.