During the month of March, the CHHMA conducted a survey with vendors (manufacturers & sales agents) within the Canadian hardware & housewares industry to solicit feedback on the number of online (virtual) trade and dealer shows that have taken place over the past 12 months as well as plans and views towards attending shows in person again.

Fifty-seven vendors responded to the survey, and we thank them once again for their participation.  The valuable input will hopefully lead to efforts to improve both virtual and in-person shows in the future.

The CHHMA has also forwarded the survey results to a number of retailers and show organizations.

If you have not received a copy of the Survey Results, click here to download a copy.

Survey Highlights:

  • Problems did exist for virtual shows.  For example, 51.8% of respondents found no virtual trade/dealer show they participated in to be a worthwhile experience.  
  • And what were the most common problems with virtual shows: low booth visits/poor attendance (57.1%); followed by a lack of interaction/engagement with dealers/customers (39.3%); not effective use of time & resources/poor ROI (19.6%); difficult booth set-up/short time-frame to set up booth (17.9%); and low order volume/show orders (10.7%).
  • Despite problems with virtual shows, just over 60% of respondents continued to participate in the shows this year to display support for their customers (seen as a cost of doing business) plus hope that the functionality of virtual shows will improve.
  • Similarly, 58.9% of respondents, despite the array of problems with current shows, see a future use for virtual shows or at least with their software platforms.  
  • Top suggestions for how virtual shows could be improved include: improving customer interaction through video chats; improving notification/identity/metrics of booth visitors; incentives/requirements for dealers to attend booths; and reducing participation costs.
  • Why vendors think virtual show technology/platforms have a use in the future once some of the kinks are worked out include: the ability to allow dealer staff who are unable to travel at the time to participate during physical shows; allow organizations that conduct multiple shows during a year to hold both in-person and virtual shows; and are effective tool for reaching a larger variety of customers.
  • In regards to participating physically (in person) at shows later this year or during the first part of 2022, optimism remains low right now with 69% of respondents saying no (42%) or they are unsure (27%).  
  • In regards to the National Hardware Show scheduled for October 21-23 in Las Vegas, for example, uncertainty persists: 39% of respondents say they remain unsure about attending while another 39% say they are definitely not attending; 14% said they will be walking the show and 7% will be exhibiting in the show.  Reasons over not attending are primarily COVID-19 related unsurprisingly with 38.1% concerned over the virus itself/not vaccinated yet and 35.7% due to travel restrictions (government or corporate).      

If you have any questions or comments regarding the survey and results, please contact:

Michael Jorgenson
Marketing & Communications Manager
416-282-0022 ext.134.