Summer Atlanta Market Buzzes With Optimism and Buying Activity

August 4, 2021

For many buyers at last month’s Summer 2021 Atlanta Market, returning to the biannual gift, décor and lifestyle market felt like a homecoming. Held July 13-19 at AmericasMart Atlanta, the show beat industry expectations with an uptick in out-of-region attendees, independent retailers and buying groups, along with enthusiastic reports of record-breaking sales across its home and gift collections.

“The safety measures and the graciousness of the Atlanta Market staff have left me with a smile on my face and an incredible hope for the future of our business and brick and mortar stores!” said Jorge Gonzalez, buyer and general merchandising manager for Draeger’s HOME & Market.

According to officials from International Market Centers (IMC), which owns and produces the event, pent-up demand for inventory led to aggressive buying by retailers and designers, who hailed from all 50 states and more than 30 countries, with the most notable growth in Midwest and Northeast buyer numbers.

Additionally, the show appeared to be returning to its pre-pandemic size and scope, outpacing the Winter 2021 Market by growing nearly 55% in attendance and ultimately beating IMC’s pre-market projections with more than 85% of the Summer 2019 Market turnout. By the close of business on July 14, the show had also surpassed its Summer 2020 attendance figures.

“Atlanta Market was exactly what buyers and sellers needed right now,” said Bob Maricich, CEO of IMC. “The buzz about the market quickly traveled through the industry, and the brands and buyers who did not attend were really feeling like they missed out. We’re confident that their need to be a part of Atlanta Market will accelerate the growth of the Winter Market in 2022.” 

Serious Buyers, Serious Business

Summer Market buyers sourced from more than 8,000 lines showcasing gift, gourmet, home décor, juvenile, lifestyle, personal care, stationery and tabletop, including more than 1,000 in the temporary exhibits, which doubled over the Winter 2021 staging. Additionally, the market’s more than 1,000 gift and home décor showrooms featured nearly 60 new, relocated or expanded brands. 

According to IMC officials, many retailers and designers said they had chosen Atlanta Market as their first market after a pandemic hiatus or as their first market ever for in-person sourcing. 

“As [my first day] progressed, I eased back into the comfort of walking the show and passing by showrooms buzzing with buyers,” said Tara Riceberg of Tesoro and Tweak in Los Angeles, Calif. “When I descended the last escalator, I wanted to pinch myself. I had just had the most spectacular day! It was replete with desirable objects, wonderful conversations, hugs from old friends and foundations for new relationships. It was simply everything I hope a show would be!”

The show also presented an opportunity for showroom brands to return to the face-to-face experience, with many exhibitors across all market categories reporting brisk, record-breaking sales from serious buyers eager to touch, feel and order product. 

“This was our first time exhibiting in a trade show in 18 months!” said Henry Cornell of M. Cornell. “We greatly missed the personal interaction with customers during that 1.5 years. There simply is no substitute for personally meeting customers. Atlanta is back and we’re so grateful!”

As if all that buzz wasn’t enough, the 2021 Summer Market also marked the return of at-market events organized by IMC, exhibitors and industry organizations, including a standing-room-only Market Kick-Off party, in-showroom special events, anniversaries and ribbon-cutting celebrations, and charitable fundraising gatherings.

The Winter 2022 Atlanta Market will return to AmericasMart Jan. 11–18.


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