Oct. 7, 2021

Neocon & Casual Show Recap

NeoCon2021

The Stump team attended both the September 20-23 Casual show and the October 4-6 Neocon show in Chicago's famed Merchandise Mart. After a long, COVID-induced pause, we found both to be upbeat despite mixed traffic.

Casual

First, observations on the Casual show held in late September. Outdoor furniture is a booming category as homeowners increasingly want more and better outdoor venues as they continue to spend more time at home. As we walked the show, we saw an increased focus on patio sets that echoed interior styling and set ups, making it easy to imagine the flow from the inside out.

The Casual show departs for Atlanta in 2023 and several contract players have relocated outside of the Mart, while others have indicated they are exiting soon. These showroom challenges are confronting all furniture segments, particularly in the COVID era. Given the impending departure of the show from the Mart, continued COVID concerns, and the premarket show event just weeks before, we felt traffic was anemic.

Neocon

After several months of delay, contract and commercial furnishings companies finally had the opportunity to showcase products and visit with customers at Neocon this October. We saw a lot of “nook” telephone booths for quiet spots and a focus on private seating for small groups. Color is also returning to the office environment as corporate facility managers are trying to create a comfortable setting for workers to safely return to the office. We felt traffic was certainly dampened compared to pre-pandemic levels, but overall, it was upbeat and fairly well attended.

Mergers & Acquisitions

Mergers and acquisitions were a prominent topic at both shows as we spoke with industry CEOs. Large companies clearly voiced a desire for add-ons, and growth was on everyone’s mind. We also heard many of the big players talking about reinvestment into domestic production and a tilt to a “made in North America” story.

This includes Mexico, which is emerging as a strong low-cost manufacturing alternative given the supply chain headwinds that continue to impact Asia.

Key areas of M&A focus include:

  • Home office – it seems clear that a hybrid model of work-from-home and in-office is here to stay, which will continue to create an emphasis on home office products.
  • E-commerce – this trend continues to reshape traditional purchasing behavior as consumers continue to adapt to making purchases online. For office, this means more sophisticated space planning software and further disruptions to the office dealer structure.
  • Soft seating made in North America – there is strong interest and growth in domestic upholstery capabilities and an interest in reshoring upholstery for better lead times and pricing.

Interested in buying or selling a business?

The Stump team will be in High Point next week and BDNY three weeks after that – give us a call if you would like to set a time to meet. We look forward to helping you achieve your goals.

Related News

Spring High Point Market - April 2016
Market

Spring High Point Market - April 2016

The High Point Market continues to be a “can’t miss” show for residential furnishings. This year was no exception, and exhibitors felt that traffic was good and order writing was consistent with prior years. Positivity prevailed and exhibitors and attendees alike were upbeat in this economic climate, despite the noise and confusion of state and national politics.

Spring High Point Market - April 2016

The High Point Market continues to be a “can’t miss” show for residential furnishings. This year was no exception, and exhibitors felt that traffic was good and order writing was consistent with prior years. Positivity prevailed and exhibitors and attendees alike were upbeat in this economic climate, despite the noise and confusion of state and national politics.
Spring High Point Market - April 2015
Market

Spring High Point Market - April 2015

Optimism at the market was palpable. Most owners mentioned looking 1-2-3 years down the road and seeing encouraging signs for increased sales growth and shareholder value creation. With these good feelings comes renewed chatter in the Merger & Acquisition market. Many Private Equity firms want out of existing positions, while plenty of others want in. Some will want to add to existing portfolios to bolster their holdings. Strategic acquisitions are likewise heating up.

Spring High Point Market - April 2015

Optimism at the market was palpable. Most owners mentioned looking 1-2-3 years down the road and seeing encouraging signs for increased sales growth and shareholder value creation. With these good feelings comes renewed chatter in the Merger & Acquisition market. Many Private Equity firms want out of existing positions, while plenty of others want in. Some will want to add to existing portfolios to bolster their holdings. Strategic acquisitions are likewise heating up.
New York Hospitality Show: BDNY - November 2016
Market

New York Hospitality Show: BDNY - November 2016

There was a vibrant and upbeat backdrop for BDNY (Boutique & Design: New York). We spoke with over 100 hospitality CEOs who all, despite a sluggish fall for many, seem optimistic about the growth in the hospitality sector and a clear path of continued strong growth through 2017 and likely into 2018.

New York Hospitality Show: BDNY - November 2016

There was a vibrant and upbeat backdrop for BDNY (Boutique & Design: New York). We spoke with over 100 hospitality CEOs who all, despite a sluggish fall for many, seem optimistic about the growth in the hospitality sector and a clear path of continued strong growth through 2017 and likely into 2018.
High Point 2017
Market

High Point - Confidence, Energy, Strong Capital Flow

The attitude among high-end companies in particular was upbeat. The CEOs we spoke with were enjoying robust traffic and business in this strong economic climate.
High Point 2017

High Point - Confidence, Energy, Strong Capital Flow

The attitude among high-end companies in particular was upbeat. The CEOs we spoke with were enjoying robust traffic and business in this strong economic climate.