Update: Global Pet Expo Held During Coronavirus Outbreak Called a ‘Safe and Productive Event’

Author: Michelle Russell       


Attendees, including pets, peruse the exhibition floor at the Global Pet Expo in late February. The show saw a 14-percent drop in attendance due to the COVID-19 outbreak.


  • The American Pet Products Association contended with a travel ban preventing 150 exhibitors from China from attending the Global Pet Expo held at the end of February.
  • The event was deemed a success, despite a 14-percent drop in attendance.

The world has changed a great deal since last month, when Convene reported on how the American Pet Products Association (APPA) was carrying on with Global Pet Expo, held Feb. 26–28 at Orlando’s Orange County Convention Center during the COVID-19 outbreak. At the time, the only travel ban in effect prevented nearly 150 exhibitors from China from entering the U.S., affecting more than 25,000 square feet of booth space.

Here’s an update: Total buyer attendance was down 14 percent: 6,041, vs. 7,029 in 2019. There were only 73 fewer booths this year compared to last year: 3,541 vs. 3,604 in 2019. One thing that was on the upswing: More social-media influencers than ever before — both pet and human alike — took part in this year’s show.

“The ways in which COVID-19 has changed the world are still unfolding,” Andrew Darmohraj, APPA’s executive vice president and COO, said in a release. “And while it wasn’t quite business as usual, we are extremely proud of the Global Pet Expo team for their tireless work to not only adapt to the changing landscape but pull off a safe and productive event with unparalleled show experience. With more than 20 percent of buyers registered coming to Global Pet Expo for four or more years consecutively, it demonstrates the vital role this trade show plays for pet retailers. It should also be noted we had 222 first-time exhibiting companies, recognizing Global Pet Expo as an exceptional opportunity for new entrepreneurs and businesses entering the industry.”

The 2021 Global Pet Expo will take place March 24-26, 2021 in Orlando, at the Orange County Convention Center — when we hope the only bug of any concern may be a random flea on one of those four-legged social-media influencers walking the show floor.

Michelle Russell is editor in chief of Convene magazine.

What Events Professionals Need to Know About COVID-19

PCMA has created a COVID-19 resources page to help event professionals find reliable information about the outbreak and to share events industry-related resources to ensure they are prepared.

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