Shopping on the Down Low

Anybody want to buy a watch? This is the kind of huge display one encounters in the jewelry section of the ASD Market Week trade show.
Photo by Diane Taylor

“How do I get a badge?” is the question lots of locals ask after they have heard of the bargains at the twice-a-year ASD Market Week trade show. This business-to-business show is basically a wholesale show for folks in retail businesses who want to buy inexpensively and sell at a profit, but occasionally “friends” of retailers have the opportunity to attend…and they buy a few “cash and carry” items at wholesale prices.

We’re told the average business-to-business retail buyer spends $82,500 per show. That same buyer might attend educational sessions such as “Dispelling Millennial Myths: What the New Generation of Shoppers Actually Wants from You”, “Where Oh Where is My Inventory?”,”Double Your Brick and Mortar Foot Traffic”, “Understanding How to Sell Online and How to Automate Your Business” or “Hurricane Pop-Tarts: Weather’s Astounding Impact on Your Store”.

The name of this trade show has changed over the years. I first knew it as the ASD (Associated Surplus Dealers)/AMD (Associated Merchandise Dealers) show, then it became just the ASD Las Vegas show and now ASD Market Week. The Associated Surplus Dealers name has also been replaced. Now the initials ASD are said to stand for “Affordable Shopping Destination”.

Toys occupy an important part of the north hall of the Las Vegas Convention Center during the ASD Market Week show.
Photo by Diane Taylor

ASD Market Week, this year held from July 30-August 2, is called a consumer products show, meaning that the 2700 exhibitors showcase products that consumers might find at amusement parks, book stores, convenience stores, department stores, discount stores, dollar stores, drug stores, variety stores, gift stores, etc. Some 45,000 people from 80 countries were expected at the most recent ASD Market Week. However, one of the exhibitors I talked with said he thought attendance was down due to the emergence of online direct-to-consumer shopping.

I can’t imagine how long one might spend at this show to see everything. The show occupies every foot of Las Vegas Convention Center space. Attending this show is somewhat of a “down low” experience because of the availability of so many very low priced items and because the kinds of fabulous booths one sees at other trade shows are not part of this show. This is a show where buyers contact a booth employee who has a note pad and the buyer walks quickly through the booth saying, “I want three of these, two of these, 12 of these” and so forth. Yes, some items are high-end, but many items are inexpensive commodity items. As we see in the attached video, one of the designer booths I visited was selling last year’s designs at a discount, only to be introducing this year’s designs at the upcoming MAGIC show.

ASD Market Week features a wide variety of products including souvenirs, automotive accessories, travel accessories, gifts, handicrafts, consumer electronics, fashion accessories, house and garden, apparel and footwear, pet products, outdoor products, beauty products, toys & novelties, general merchandise, smoke accessories and jewelry.

The show returns to the Las Vegas Convention Center March 11-14, 2018.

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