Global Pet Expo 2015: My Suitcase Statistics And Other Notable Numbers
Sure, it’s the biggest pet trade show in North America, but what PetGuide readers really want to know is what free swag I got and how much I could actually fit in my suitcase!
After three exhausting (but toasty warm) days at the 2015 Global Pet Expo in Florida, I’ve returned armed with a ton of cool, new pet products, lots of interesting (and inappropriate) anecdotes, a wack-load of new friends and a suitcase packed to capacity with goodies and samples.
For those of you who might not be aware, Global Pet Expo is the place to be if you’re a pet retailer. Companies from around the world showcase their products and introduce upcoming trends for the year ahead. Just a few of cool products I saw were chicken harnesses and leashes, cannabis supplements for dogs, doggy rain boots and pet herbal teas. I’ll go into my top Global Pet Expo “steals” in a special upcoming video.
One of the awesome perks of belonging to the press at these kinds of events is the free pass to delectable PR breakfasts, lunches, dinners and cocktail parties. After you’ve had a taste of the usual fried fare at the conference kiosks, you learn to plan your day around these special meal times. And it was during the American Pet Products Association’s (APPA) media luncheon where the pet press learns of the latest industry spending numbers (and noms on a delicious meal). It turns out that 2014 was a banner year for the pet industry – overall spending exceeded $58 billion! Now that’s a lot of kibble!
We’re spending more on pet services such as grooming, boarding, walking, training, daycare and even spa days – this segment saw the highest level of growth in 2014. As in years past, pet parents spend the most food ($22.26 billion), followed by supplies and over-the-counter (OTC) medications ($13.75 billion) and vet services ($15.04 billion).
While all of these numbers speak volumes as to the growing trend of pets being viewed as part of the family, I also wanted to share some Global Pet Expo numbers of my own. Sure, these figures aren’t as important to the continued health of the country’s economy, but they are pretty interesting (and funny, if I do say so!). As Editor of PetGuide.com, it’s not only my job to scarf down free food, but also meet with pet industry experts and manufacturers, learn about new products coming to market, collect press kits for future use on the site… and swipe as much free swag and samples as my suitcase can possible hold! And it’s not until I get home and unpack that I actually see what goodies were scored.
Without further ado, here are my super-important facts and figures from the 2015 Global Pet Expo show… about what I could fit into my suitcase to bring home (along with some fun-to-know facts).
General Show Basics
Global Pet Expo Event: March 4-6, 2015, Orange County Convention Center (Orlando, FL)
Global Pet Expo Conference Size: over 300,000 square feet
Miles walked: about 25.8 (the MapMyWalk app wasn’t working properly, so I can’t be 100 percent sure. Next year, I’m investing in a pedometer.)
Tradeshow walking shoes: 1 pair (Skechers BREATHE EASY Memory Foam Shoes)
Blisters on feet: 7 (Memory foam my ass! I have yet to find a pair of shoes for the trade room floor that don’t leave me in pain at the end of the day)
Band-Aids used: 34
Adoptable puppies petted: 20 (Some exhibitors feature dogs from Florida Little Dog Rescue. I was late to almost every meeting I had because I couldn’t resist their cute little faces when I walked by. Must. Pet. All. Dogs!)
Shenanigans had (that can be shared with polite society): at least 10… that I can talk about. Just a few include strong margaritas, pee-your-pants-funny dinners at Tommy Bahamas, an amorous cockroach, inappropriate chicken fondling with prestigious vet and author Dr. Marty Becker, sticky mustaches, pirate eye patches, grand theft pet products (video to follow), and a fancy shark fascinator.
Official Office-Type Stuff
USB sticks: 18 (You can never go wrong with USB sticks. Plus, once the next show rolls around and I get a new batch, I give the old ones to people in the office to use.)
Pens around when I need one: 0
Sticky note pads: 4 (I always grab them when I see them at shows. I go through them like clean pairs of underwear.)
Business cards exchanged: 70 (So many new friends to text at 4 a.m. – woo hoo!)
Stuff to review: 3… with more to be shipped to the office. (I was restricted by suitcase size, but I did manage to squeeze in a Clickit Sport Harness from SleepyPod; a Can Toy treat dispenser; and a KRUUSE ActivityMat all the way from Denmark!)
Pet stuff: 12 (Oscar is one spoiled dog. He’s got 2 new hats from Rubie’s Costumes, 2 B’seen collar nightlights, a “See Me” slip-on reflective collar from Corky’s collars, a super-cute Posy handmade squeaky toy from Oo Ma Loo, and 2 packs of Rock Your Fur wipes.)
Grooming/Air Freshening products: 5 (When you have pets, you can never get enough of these products)
Poop bags: 130 (I am stocked up for the Zombie apocalypse, thanks to The Original Poopbag peeps – plus, they threw in a fancy hydrant dispenser made out of corn!)
Food: 27 sample packets and a 2 lbs box (I visited The Honest Kitchen on the last day of the show. I don’t think they wanted to ship it back, so they let me steal a bunch. I had to get creative hiding this stash in my suitcase, but totally worth it.)
T-Shirts: 2 (That are perfect for sleeping in)
Kickstarter products ordered: 1 (My “Puppies are Dicks” book arrived! I got it mailed to my U.S. hotel room because shipping to Canada is way too expensive.)
Human swag: 2 (this doesn’t include food/drinks. I brought home a WiFi TP-Link that I have no idea how to use and a hard-cover signed copy of my friend Nikki Moustaki’s book “The Bird Market of Paris.”)
Reusable bags: 10 (These come in handy for groceries and shopping in general. I especially love the one I got from Dog is Good – very swanky!)
Weight of suitcase: 50 lbs. (I had to partake in some mad-dash scrambling to make it under the weight limit.)
Weight of carry-on: 30 lbs. (This is a testament to the durability of my computer bag and the strength of the airline steward who had to lift it up into the overhead compartment. Well done, sir… and thanks for so nice about it.)
Total weight of press kits, swag and other items: 80 lbs. (I need to bring an extra suitcase next time… or a Sherpa.)
I’m still getting over my show lag, as it takes a few days to get back to my regularly scheduled work routine. But I can’t wait until the 2016 Global Pet Expo – and I’m going to bring an extra suitcase, just in case.