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Al’s column

By FCNews staff

Volume 26/Number 20; February 18/25, 2013

GROWTH RINGS: Congratulations go out to the National Wood Flooring Association (NWFA), National Trade Productions (NTP) and Hanley Wood. Each have been recognized by Trade Show Executive (TSE) magazine for their annual markets as being either among the Top 50 fastest-growing shows in 2012 or one of the publication’s Executive Gold 100 honorees for Largest Shows of 2011 (the top shows for 2012 will not be announced until later this year). NTP’s Coverings and Hanley Wood’s Surfaces were among the Gold 100, while NWFA’s Wood Expo, along with Coverings, were named as finalists in the 2012 fastest-growing shows. TSE will announce the order of winners during its annual Fastest 50 Awards & Summit, May 8 to 10 in Chicago.

FAST GROWTH: NWFA’s Expo and Coverings were not only selected as finalists in the Top 50, they qualified in all three of the fastest-growing categories in which awards will be given—Net Square Feet of Exhibit Space, Number of Exhibiting Companies and Total Attendance. What makes this recognition special is a total of only 93 of some 4,000 shows were named as finalists in the three categories. The criteria for nominations were straightforward and simple. Events were judged on the percentage of growth in the individual metrics. TSE stated, “With so many shows and statistics, the Fastest 50 Class of 2012 serves as a scorecard that lets the industry know which shows are on the fast track with more exhibitors chasing bigger crowds of buyers.”

FAST STATS: NWFA and Coverings were among 41 of the 93 events to be named in at least two of the Top 50 metrics. Forty-eight of the 93 were managed by associations, societies or other not-for-profit organizations. Independent organizers were behind the other 45 events. The 93 finalists represent a cross-section of show sizes: 3% were 1,000,000 net square feet (nsf) or larger; 12% ranged from 350,000 nsf to 999,999 nsf; 26% spanned 125,000 nsf to 349,999 nsf; 31% covered 50,000 nsf to 124,999 nsf, and 28% were 15,000 nsf to 49,999 nsf. “No matter their overall size and target audience,” TSE stated, “the Fastest 50 shows have proven they have the combination of marketing strategies, operational expertise and sweat equity to become a household name in the sectors they serve and among their peers in the exhibition industry.”

TRAINING STATS: On page 1 there is a story on three flooring companies being recognized by Training magazine as among the Top 125 corporate-sponsored learning and development programs in the country. Some interesting figures were released by the magazine about the 125 companies making the list: The mean training budget was $31.5 million, representing 4.58% of payroll; people who received their training online nearly doubled the amount trained in a traditional classroom; of the classes offered, 540 were instructor-led sessions, 1,738 were online self-paced modules and 156 were virtual instructor-led classrooms. Some 96% of applicants have a tuition reimbursement program, yet only a mean of 7% of eligible employees made use of the program.

SUPER STATS: Since we’re throwing around stats, how about a few random ones from this year’s Super Bowl courtesy of the Retail Advertising & Marketing Association. The average watcher spent $68.54 for viewing parties, snacks, decor and athletic apparel, up from $63.87 last year; 17 million fans purchased team apparel or accessories, up from 14.8 million last year; 3.9 million households got new furniture such as entertainment centers, chairs and couches, and 7.5 million bought decorations. In the area of food, 1.23 billion wings and 2 million pizzas were eaten, and beer was consumed by 42% of game watchers.