High Point Market Holds Safe Fall Show Despite Lower-Than-Usual Attendance

November 4, 2020

Implementing comprehensive safety measures, High Point Market forged ahead with its fall show, wrapping up the nine-day expanded home furnishings event on Oct. 21.

Held Oct. 13-21 at High Point Market in High Point, N.C., the Fall Market experienced lower and more sporadic visitor traffic than in previous years. However, exhibitors reported strong order-writing thanks to serious buyers who showed up ready to do business. 

“We kicked off Market with an energetic and exciting day full of appointments and walk-ins on Tuesday,” said Amanda Kinney, co-owner of Antique & Design Center of High Point. “We had plenty of space to spread out and everyone was happy to wear a mask and stay safely distanced. The following days were slower but steady, and we still saw lots of great customers.”  

In typical years, the bi-annual B2B trade show attracts more than 75,000 participants from more than 100 countries and 2,000 exhibitors, and spans 11.5 million square feet of showroom and exhibit space. On-site attendance numbers for the fall show were not available by press time, but buyer company registration numbers were approximately 55 percent of 2019 Fall Market numbers, according to High Point Market Authority officials. Current travel restrictions played a role in the event’s traffic patterns. 

High Point

“We knew this Market would be different, but we also knew both buyers and sellers were counting on us to open since home furnishings sales are so strong right now,” said Tom Conley, president and CEO of High Point Market, which is owned and operated by International Market Centers.

Despite not knowing what to expect when coming into the event, many exhibitors said the show exceeded expectations and that they were pleased with their decision to open their showrooms for the event. 

“Given the pandemic, we didn’t know what to expect – there are no precedents,” said Russ Thomas, president of Abner Henry. “Ultimately, we’ve been extremely pleased with the traffic and the quality of the shoppers in our space.”  

Although international participation was missing from the show this year, buyers from all over the U.S. traveled to Fall Market, including from Western states.  

“Customers from Utah, Colorado, California and even Alaska visited [our] showroom for the first time,” said Todd Nabors, customer relations manager for Thayer Coggin. “While the volume of visitation has been less, the quality has been high. We have sold almost all of our showroom samples and will be working at full capacity to produce special orders through the end of 2020 and beyond.”  

Conley said that because High Point Market Authority has demonstrated its ability to execute a safe in-person show, he and his team feel more prepared to host Spring Market 2021 in April. 

“Thanks to the tremendous efforts of our state and local health partners, the exhibitors who committed to open, the buyers who chose to come, our loyal industry and community partners and service providers, and all the staff and attendees who diligently followed our safety guidelines on-site, I am elated that we were able to successfully execute Fall Market,” Conley said.  

High Point Spring Market will return to a typical five-day format, April 17-21, 2021. 


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