Own a pet? Want to have some fun? Buy a pet store, then plan to attend an event in Las Vegas called “SuperZoo”. This year’s show was held September 11-13 at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center. SuperZoo is one of the fastest growing trade shows in the country, with products and accompanying educational sessions for pet retailers.
Every pet you can imagine – from chickens to horses — receives attention at this event spnsored by the World Pet Association. According to IBIS World Reports, dedicated “pet parents” in the U.S. will spend $52.87 billion on their animal companions this year, in many cases foregoing their own personal expenditures in favor of buying an ever widening array of products, supplies and services for their pets.
Superzoo 2012 increased booth space by 18 percent over 2011, selling space to 871 exhibiting companies. Only a few years ago, Superzoo was proud to list attendance at 3000 visitors; this year, the expected attendance was 12,000.
Walking the show floor last week meant running into live animals and as well as brand new products introduced at the show. A number of those products are shown in the accompanying video which is longer than normal….but then the videographer is a dedicated pet owner.
In a preshow press release, the SuperZoo folks said, “Among the attention-getters this year are all-natural, earth-friendly organic products; high-tech innovations that include computerized ID tags, automatic doors, programmable feeders and touch-activated toys; pet seatbelt systems; travel accessories, and mobile services for aging seniors and their pets. Pet fashion also continues to trend with this season’s collections including faux mink coats, designer jackets, Halloween costumes, holiday attire and upscale leather carriers – all captured in true high-fashion style in SuperZoo’s Rodeo Drive neighborhood.”
I’m sure the press release was accurate, but my journey also included a help-wanted bulletin board for pet industry jobs, slipcovers for dog-occupied back seats, a book called, “It’s a Dog’s World”, pet calendars, a radio station featuring all animal-focused programs called “Animal Radio”, a breath spray “for the kissable dog”, downloadable e-books on favorite dog breeds and dog biscuits that promise “intestinal support” with an ingredient called “arabinogalactan” and the “Doodle SnuggiePuppie”, a stuffed animal that has a battery-operated heart beat and a small warm heating pad to play companion to new puppies. With more than 800 exhibitors, every show visitor was bound to come home with different stories. Some folks got autographs from José Canseco; others pointed their cameras at Holly Madison who was introducing her own line of pet products.
In addition to the trade show, SuperZoo also had its own university with targeted tracks on Business Development, Animal Wellness and Technology/Internet. Another show feature was grooming competitions. Groomers from as far away as Italy, India and Japan competed in world renown grooming competitions — from classic to “high-fashion” to philanthropic — and a chance to win the first-place jackpot prize of $10,000, the largest one-time purse in any competition.
A tiny stuffed teddy bear give-away announced next year’s show dates: July 23-25 in Las Vegas.