Figures from The British Home Enhancement Association (BHETA) which owns the Exclusively Show reveal that this year’s Exclusively Digital, running throughout July, has been a huge success in terms of visitor numbers and visitor profile. Exclusively Digital was conceived in March when the BHETA board postponed the live event until 2021 in response to the rapidly escalating effect of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Just in its first two weeks, Exclusively Digital attracted 10% more individual visitors than the two-day live show, and twice as many overall visits. While the comparison is not like for like in the sense that each visitor to a website spends a smaller proportion of time ‘at the show’ vis a vis an in-person visit to the live event – which typically lasts at least one day – drill-down into the detail on digital attendees still proves just how popular the online event has been.
Buyers from national retailers like B&M, Lakeland, Robert Dyas and John Lewis all visited the digital event as well as buyers from garden centres like Bents and Garden & Home and from supermarkets like Morrisons, Ocado, Sainsbury’s and Tesco. There were also international buyers on the website such as Vanderweens in Holland. Over 100 influencers visited as well as over 200 journalists. The latter included representatives from The Sunday Times, Living Etc, BBC Radio 4, BBC Radio 1 Life Hacks, Your Home, Which?, Simply Vegan, ITV’s This Morning, Ideal Home and The Daily Telegraph.
They were all there to see over 200 housewares and gift brands showing new and on trend products, as well as show features like the Launchpad for start up suppliers and the well-respected Trend Hub. The latter saw over 300 online views of trend forecaster, Scarlet Opus’ predictions for key design and lifestyle trends for 2020, 2021 and beyond.
Feedback from visitors reflected the positivity around the concept of a digital alternative to a massively popular live show in challenging times. Influencer, Charlotte Osborne of charlieslittlegreyhome said, “This is absolutely amazing! Well done to you and all the amazing people that have come together to do this…” Sandhya Hariharan of Sandhya’s Kitchen Blog added, “Great to have the virtual show… So many new products!!”
Managing director of Grunwerg, David Grunwerg said, “Given the tough challenges in this unprecedented economic landscape, Exclusively Digital has been a unique opportunity for suppliers and retailers to re-connect. It provided a great platform to showcase new products and trends that would have otherwise been missed. We are confident that it will help give the housewares industry a much-needed boost.”
Exclusively is now the largest exhibition solely dedicated to housewares, gift and small domestic electricals. Visitor numbers have been increasing year on year including buyers and many journalists and influencers, eager for a ‘preview’ of the latest products and the latest trends.
Commenting on the success of Exclusively Digital, BHETA’s Chief Operating Officer and Chair of Exclusively, Will Jones said, “For obvious reasons the online event was created as an alternative to the live show, but it has proved to be massively valuable and relevant to the industry in its own right. I know the whole housewares, small electricals and gift sector will be delighted to know that the live show will return in 2021 as nothing quite equals the networking buzz that that provides, but Exclusively will be retaining the many features and benefits of its digital self as we move forward into the coming year.”