Have your plans for the International Builders' Show changed for 2008?

John G. Swanson
November 7, 2007
THE TALK...

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 Survey Results for 11/07/2007:

Have your plans for the International Builders' Show changed for 2008?

We've attended before and plan to attend again.

 

 

36%

 

We've attended before but plan to skip it.

 

 

30%

 

We've exhibited previously and plan to take the same approach.

 

 

16%

 

We've exhibited previously, but we're passing.

 

 

14%

 

We've exhibited previously and plan to expand our exhibit.

 

 

4%

 

 Walking the aisle of the Association of Millwork Distributors trade show in Denver a week and a half-ago, a big topic of discussion was a recently announced decision by Fortune Brands to pull its companies out of the 2008 International Builders’ Show. In addition to the official news that Therma-Tru Doors wouldn’t be going, a number of other big manufacturer names came up. With the new construction market down, it’s no surprise to hear about companies pulling back, but we thought we’d check in with WDweekly readers.

So, our poll question last week asked how individual companies’ plans might be changing for the upcoming Builders’ Show. Starting out among “attendee” respondents—those of you with companies that don’t typically exhibit there—a little more than half of you that go each year are planning to go this February. Slightly less than half indicate you’re going to pass.

Among respondents with companies that do exhibit, the split is fairly similar. About half indicate their companies have exhibited in the past and plan to do so again, with a handful suggesting they're even going to expand their efforts. Another half say they’ve exhibited in the past, but they’ll pass for 2008.

Both the exhibitor and attendee results suggest the upcoming IBS could be considerably off from the 2007 show. Given housing market conditions—and too many years in Orlando—this isn’t surprising, but I don’t think the actual show numbers will be off nearly that much.

The National Association of Home Builders clearly doesn’t think so either. NAHB recently announced, in fact, that despite the country’s slowing housing market, attendance registration for the International Builders’ Show is up 15 percent over the same time last year. Of note to our audience in particular, NAHB also reports that the number of dealer and distributors registered to attend the show has jumped 37 percent year-to-date.

“Does this mean the downturn is over? No,” says Ken Klein, chairman of the NAHB Convention & Meetings Committee and a builder and remodeler from Tulsa, Okla. “But builders and suppliers are aggressively positioning themselves to ride out the downturn and come back strong when the market improves.”

Whether 100,000 people come to Orlando, again I don’t know. But I know I’ll be there. As usual, I’ll be out to see what’s new in the window and door manufacturers’ displays. And if NAHB is right, I’ll have a new task, or, at least a goal—meeting the growing number of dealers and distributors attending the show.

It may be a little early to ask, but we hope those of you who do come will stop by the Window & Door booth and say “Hi.”