Almost every day I hear from someone who observes that changes under way since the pre-COVID days, which would have taken five years to evolve, are now being executed in five months or less.
Whether it’s e-commerce, buyer-seller interaction, work flow, global supply or even product introduction cadence, almost no aspect of the business today is immune from examination and reinvention. The just-concluded summer market season offered ample evidence of this as myriad companies across the industry utilized virtual tours in conjunction with, or as a replacement for, in-person exhibition of new products.
Those changes will also be in evidence this month and heading into next month’s High Point Market. September’s Premarket, historically a case-goods-centric event and almost exclusively utilized by furniture manufacturers, saw more than 260 exhibitors on hand, including accent, décor, wall art and lighting suppliers. By comparison last fall’s Premarket drew about 100 exhibitors, virtually all of them furniture companies.
This dramatic increase at Premarket reflects two important developments. The first is the lengths people will go to get in front of retail customers in person. The second is the recognition that many retailers are still reticent to travel and attend what they perceive as potentially crowded