Top 10 Trade Shows 2015: Gift and Homewares

Monica Orrigo
September 24, 2015

Trade show season for 2015 is almost over, and it’s time to review and start looking forward to next year. If your wholesale business is looking to make a last sales push before 2015 comes to a close, or get a jump start on 2016, now’s the time to make trade shows part of your plan. There are hundreds of trade shows to choose from across America in the apparel, homewares, gift, and many other specialized industries. For the purposes of this article, we’ll be focusing on ten of the largest wholesale home and gift trade shows 2015 that we think could be important to your business.

Types of Wholesale Trade Shows

Wholesale trade shows generally fall into two types – national shows in dedicated market centers, and individual/regional events in convention centers in major cities. The national shows, such as those at Dallas Market Center and Atlanta Market Center, are usually held each season (these market centers are often also open all year round with permanent showrooms). Regional trade shows are held across the country, and there are hundreds to choose from in cities large and small. Regional shows tend to be held less frequently––typically twice a year.

Top 10 Trade Shows 2015

At the biggest national trade shows in Dallas, Atlanta, Chicago, New York and Los Angeles, September is Fall Market time. Most of the national trade shows for 2015 have already been held – the one remaining as of the time of this writing is Los Angeles, to be held the last week of September 2015. The next round of national trade shows will be the winter shows, typically held in January or late February. Here are some of the top shows that should be on your radar:

1. Los Angeles Markets:

The LA Markets are the biggest trade shows on the west coast, combining more than 10,000 product lines, 150 showrooms and three venues into one really big gift and home market. California Market Center, the LA Mart and the California Gift Show at the Los Angeles Convention Center will combine forces for the LA Fall Market, scheduled to take place September 27–29. If you plan to sell into major markets on the West Coast, then these shows could be an important part of your national trade show strategy. The LA Markets take place four times a year in Fall, Winter, Summer and Spring.

2. Dallas Total Home and Gift Market:

The Dallas Fall gift and home market also recently wrapped. The Dallas Markets are held four times a year in January, March, June and September at the Dallas Market Center. At the Total Home and Gift Market, more than 20,000 gift and home décor lines are exhibited. Dallas Market Center does not publish attendance numbers for its individual markets; however, Dallas Market Center as a whole is visited by 375,000 people each year including more than 75,000 buyers from all 50 states and 85 countries, making Dallas a don’t-miss opportunity for wholesale businesses.

3. Atlanta International Gift and Home Furnishings Market:

Atlanta’s Fall Gift & Home Furnishings Market and The Atlanta Gourmet Market® held September 16-18, 2015 just wrapped up. But never fear, with multiple markets each year as well as permanent exhibition space, it’s never too late to register for the next one. The Atlanta Gift and Home Markets are held 4 times a year in January, March, July and September. The January and July markets are the largest of the Atlanta Markets, with upwards of 70,000 attendees. The Gift, Furnishings and Holiday Market, held in March, is one of the biggest holiday-oriented markets in America, the September Market features Gourmet products, and January and July feature a concurrent Area Rug show.

4. Chicago Merchandise Mart:

Calling it a trade show is a little bit of a misnomer, because the Chicago Merchandise Mart is more of a permanent exhibition space featuring thousands of product lines and receiving more than 20,000 visitors a day, every day of the year. Located in what was once the largest building in the world, Chicago Merchandise Mart is also home to a number of events, including what is known as the Chicago Market, a quarterly trade show for gift and home wholesalers. The Chicago Gift Market at the Chicago Merchandise Mart is the largest gift and home wholesale tradeshow in the Midwest. The Fall 2015 Chicago Market, also known as the Casual Market for outdoor and home, was held from September 16- 19, 2015.

5. NY NOW:

With more than 25,000 buyers and more than 2,500 exhibitors, the NY NOW markets – held twice a year at the Javits Center in New York City – are among the largest temporary exhibition gift and home trade shows in the United States. NY NOW is held in Winter and Summer, typically in late August and early February. In 2016, the winter show will be held January 30 to February 3. For more on NY NOW, see this blog post.

6. Las Vegas Market:

The Las Vegas Market for furniture, home décor and gifts is held twice a year in January and August. The Las Vegas Market has become one of the biggest furniture, home décor and gift markets in the Western United States, and the biggest show in the desert Southwest, with a heavy concentration of buyers who do not attend markets on the East Coast. Las Vegas Market bills itself as the fastest growing wholesale market in the US, with more than 2,700 exhibitors at its Summer 2015 Market.

7. SFMarket - San Francisco International Gift Fair:

The SFMarket (formerly San Francisco International Gift Fair) recently rolled out a new name and rebranded itself at its August 2015 market. SFMarket, as it is now known, is held twice a year at San Francisco’s Moscone Center. It highlights Northern California lifestyles and companies, and in a typical year attracts more than 10,000 attendees and thousands of product lines.

8. Denver Markets at the Mart – Rocky Mountain Gift Shows:

The Rocky Mountain Gift Shows are held in February and August. This event is the Rocky Mountain region’s premier wholesale buying event for the gift, lodge, home, jewelry, resort and related industries and is open to both temporary and permanent exhibitors. The February market attracts more than 3,000 attendees, while nearly 2,000 attend in August.

9. Seattle Gift Show:

Seattle Gift Show takes place at the Washington Convention Center in downtown Seattle twice a year, in January and August. Seattle Gift Show is the Pacific Northwest’s largest wholesale market, combining the permanent showrooms of the Pacific Market Center during Seattle Market Week, which provides exhibition opportunities to more than 10,000 product lines.

10. Boston Gift Show:

Boston Gift Show is held once a year in the spring – typically April – at the Boston Convention and Exhibition Center. The Boston show is on the smaller side, but has a significant focus on products made in New England and souvenir items, as well as gift, home and accessories. If your business is in New England, or you want to sell your products there, this is an important show to attend. Obviously, with only 10 to choose from, we had to leave out a lot of great trade shows 2015 – Gatlinburg, Philadelphia and Minneapolis to name just a few. The best way to choose the right trade show for your products is to look not just at numbers and attendance, but also your target market, positioning and business strategy. Do you have a question about trade shows or a show you think shouldn’t be missed? Let us know about it in the comments. For more top trade shows across 16 different industries, as well as dates, locations, and attendee/exhibitor stats, download our 2015-2016 Trade Show Directory here.