Flooring Tradeshows during COVID-19 Update October 2020

The Executives of Word of Mouth Floors have been doing this for a lot of years. Rob, one of our co-founders (along with James) has been to ~100 tradeshows in flooring over the past twenty two years. Usually between 4 to 6 per year. Most of these have been flooring shows, but some are general Building material or Builder shows, like Canton Fair in China. Asking Rob, he has confirmed he has not been to any shows since January 2020. Early January 2020 James and Rob attended Surfaces in Las Vegas, the largest flooring show in North America. And Rob also attended Domotex Hanover in Germany mid-January (the largest annual flooring show in Europe).

They were scheduled to attended Shanghai Domotex at the end of March in China, but that show was delayed (and ultimately ran as a domestic show in China the first couple of days in September). So it is clearly an unusual year. Lots of key meetings happen at these shows and they have been missed. As posted back in April, we attended the NWFA virtual tradeshow. I applauded the association for putting in the work to put the virtual event on. They take a lot of effort and they did a nice job. I just have to say that in comparison to the usual events, it was just not as rewarding.

Here was our recap from end of April:

This brings us to today (end of October 2020). I saw a post that the Shanghai Domotex China event is a go for its regular time slot, March 24-26, 2021. I found it interesting that they are advertising that it will be expanding the exhibition floor size to over 1,000,000 sqft to accommodate increased demand. Interesting, lets see how that turns out. We are not currently planning on attending, but that could change over the next 5 months. Let’s wait and see.

The German Domotex show has a website, but it’s down for maintenance. I assume that show will not occur in January 2021. I saw one online post saying May 18 to 20th, 2021… but I have not verified if that is true. I expect that once ticket sales are available, then it is real.

Surfaces Las Vegas, normally in January, will be delayed until June 16-18, 2021. Let’s hope it is safe to attend by then. With the border between Canada and USA closed for the foreseeable future, that one also remains uncertain for us to attend.

Here is a piece of current news, it is in the home décor and furniture sectors, so pretty similar type tradeshow. It is actually a massive show called High Point, and it is the event of the year in the North American Furniture industry. Spread over multiple days (9 days I believe) the event was a go. As expected, it was running about 1/3rd capacity. Last years event (2019) was the largest ever event that have had, so numbers may read a worse than expected compared to such a busy year last year. Here is a published update fro Floor Focus:

“High Point, NC, October 26, 2020-Early estimates from the High Point Market Authority show market traffic through Monday was between 35% and 40% of what it was last fall, making turnout at the nine-day event better than expected for many exhibitors.

Taken largely from data from on-site scanners, the 35% estimate is based on attendance by individuals at market compared with October 2019. The 40% estimate is based on the number of companies here this market compared with last October, which officials said was the highest attended market in the past 12 years.

According to data provide to the market authority, attendance from the West Coast was the lowest-as anticipated-at 25% from last year, while the Midwest and Southwest were better than expected at 34%. Attendance from the Southeast, mostly drive-in traffic that included buyers from North Carolina and Virginia, was the highest at 50%, while traffic from the Northeast was 28%.

Officials attributed the low attendance from that region to quarantine restrictions in several Northeast states. In addition, North Carolina was considered by 11 states-including nine east of the Mississippi-to be a hot spot for COVID-19 cases.

Market authority officials reported that protocols-including social distancing and the wearing of face masks-received very little push back from attendees. 

Of the attendees, some 17 reported they had symptoms, and one of those was COVID-19 positive.”




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