Global Pet Expo is one of the largest pet-related trade shows. It is held annually in Orlando, Florida, and is a must-visit for any pet business owner. It is where shop owners, suppliers, vendors and others can connect under one roof. The American Pet Products Association and the Pet Industry Distributors Association together present Global Pet Expo.
The numbers from Global Pet Expo are pretty impressive:
- 6,761 qualified buyers
- 1,130 exhibitors
- 3,437 booths sold
- 16,646 total show attendance
Anyone wearing a FitBit is sure to report walking miles each day, due to the extensive size of the Orange County Convention Center where it is held. Pet Product News reports that the show comprises 343,700 net square feet of exhibit space, which was 24,000 feet larger than the previous year's show.
Global Pet Expo always includes a handful of celebrities (albeit celebrities in the pet space) to encourage attendees to gather at certain areas throughout the exhibit floor. This year's celebrities included Brandon McMillan, host of the CBS TV show Lucky Dog, M*A*S*H actress Loretta Swit and My Cat From Hell host Jackson Galaxy. Even animal advocate Jill Rappaport has been a guest at past Global Pet Expo shows. There are usually also clusters of puppies and kittens to snuggle—all up for adoption.
My first time attending Global Pet Expo was in 2017, one year after I'd launched my online store Pawsome Doggie. Thanks to the connections I made at the show, my store is able to offer doggie housewares, including animal-themed aprons, towels and linens and dog breed doormats, as well as dog sports team gear from the NFL, MLB and NCAA. I can't imagine running my business without attending Global Pet Expo at least once.
Every year Global Pet Expo has a new products showcase. It's exactly as it sounds—new products put out in a specially cordoned-off area of the show floor. It is seriously guarded. If you try to snap a Smartphone photo, expect security to descend. You are able to vote on these new products.
Some of the products seem like head scratchers (cannabis for dogs?) or at least they did to me. Some seem familiar—you may have seen a few on Shark Tank.
I've put together a slideshow of some of my favorite winners from the 2018 Global Pet Expo. Some of these products are legit winners from the new products showcase. Some are simply winners in my book because I think they're super cute and clever.
Full disclosure: As a dog owner I've focused my attention on dog products. Next year—or if I attend the other big pet trade show called SuperZoo in June—I'll be sure to focus my attention on more products for cats and other non-canine pets, and write a follow-up article with those items featured.