Based on an extensive industry survey, International Market Centers has updated its summer 2020 market schedule. IMC is postponing markets until August, with its next Atlanta Market running August 13 to 18 and Las Vegas Market running August 30 to September 3.
IMC surveyed its buyer and supplier network, which includes more than 180,000 retailers and designers, and almost 6,000 manufacturers and sales agencies across the gift, home furnishings and apparel industries. In responding to the survey, retailers expressed an immediate need for inventory, a preference for buying new product from existing vendors and an intent to source both at physical markets and on digital platforms. Survey results also demonstrated that COVID-19-related concerns about travel and market attendance will decrease over time with key health and safety concerns addressed.
The study also indicated that many potential market participants appreciate the utility of digital tools that can help them in preparing for and sourcing from in-person markets. Although they do not see digital markets as a viable replacement for physical markets, buyers are interested in tools that will allow for additional brand discovery and more efficient at-market purchasing, noted IMC.
In the updated schedule, Atlanta Market will run from August 13 to 18, with temporaries running from August 14 to 17. Las Vegas Market will run from August 30 to September 3, with temporaries, staged for the first time in the Expo at World Market Center Las Vegas, running from August 30 to September 2.
With the changes, Atlanta Market will be the first show of the gift and home industry’s summer market season and Las Vegas Market will offer the advantage of running concurrently with the National Hardware Show, which runs September 1 to 3 at the Las Vegas Convention Center. Both markets will feature new show layouts that will enable social distancing and traffic control. In line with buyer sentiment, neither market will host at-market social gatherings during their summer editions. All programming and trend features will assume a digital format and run before and after market.
An IMC COVID-19 response and remediation task force is developing thorough and detailed protocols for market production designed to ensure the health and safety of all those attending market, the company noted. Dr. Carlos del Rio, chair of the Department of Global Health and Professor of Epidemiology at the Rollins School of Public Health and Professor of Medicine in the Division of Infectious Diseases at Emory University School of Medicine is vetting all back-to-business operating plans to verify efficacy and identify best practices.
IMC planned safety procedures include the required use of personal protective equipment, temperature monitoring, social distancing, occupancy control and hand sanitizing/cleansing as well as significantly enhanced housekeeping protocols for cleaning and disinfecting facilities. IMC is collaborating with hotels and food and beverage partners to confirm and communicate special protocols. It is planning new pre-registration requirements to enable contactless market entry and preparing arrival and departure strategies to facilitate social distancing. IMC will communicate comprehensive details regarding onsite health and safety protocols in advance of each market and will update them regularly at www.togethersafely.com.