For the first time in two years, NeoCon returned to The Mart during its traditional June timeframe. A lot has changed between 2019 and 2022, most notably that many mainstay brands have left theMart for the Fulton Market District. Additionally, there are the lingering effects of the pandemic, surely causing many would-be attendees to reconsider whether traveling to Chicago is worth it.
Despite all this (or perhaps in spite of it?) NeoCon 2022 was a great success. Here are four takeaways from this year’s marquee show for the contract interiors marketplace.
1. Lower Attendance Was a Good Thing – The Mart estimated this year’s attendance to be lower than pre-pandemic times. Judging by the lines for the elevators and the crowds in the showrooms, traffic was indeed lighter. But while some exhibitors might view this as a disappointment (less traffic equal less customers?), others considered it a positive. Many exhibitors we spoke with felt the conversations were better and the visitors more “qualified.” Showrooms were busy and crowded, but not where people were pressed chest-to-chest. The attendance was in the “Goldie Locks” zone – not too busy, not to light, but just right.
2. Lots of Great Energy – Inflation. Supply chain issues. War in Ukraine. In most years, any one of these three topics might overshadow conversations. Yes, these topics were discussed, but they appeared to be secondary. People were excited to meet up with friends and colleagues. They were eager to see new products. And they were happy to talk about the changes taking place in the industry. Other than the fatigue that comes from standing, talking or walking the floors all day, there was a positive energy that permeated this year’s show.
3. An Array of Amazing Products – As usual, several award programs – most notably the Best of NeoCon Awards and the HiP Awards – helped shine a spotlight on the amazing new products from manufacturers. Whether the focus was on design, innovation or sustainability, product designers continue to push the boundaries of what is possible.
We were thrilled to see our Mannington Commercial client win a Best of NeoCon Gold in the Specialty Flooring category for its Open Range Collection, a one-of-a kind rubber product that stands alone in the industry for its unique look and design.
We were happy to promote our HAT Collective client’s new E2 Connex articulating monitor arm. This innovative product is a game-changer. It easily allows users the flexibility to add multiple monitors, in multiple sizes and configurations, in seconds to their workspace.
4. Excellent Media Attendance – It was great to see so many editors and publications attending the show in full force. We appreciated meeting with our editorial friends in the architect, design, healthcare, education, office and flooring industries. From Architect and Interiors + Sources to Office Insight and Floor Focus, these publications and many more are vital to understanding the trends taking place within the contract furnishings industry. And we’re so glad they were at NeoCon 2022!
If you attended NeoCon 2022 – either as an exhibitor or attendee – what did you think of the show?