by Jon M. Casey
For the estimated 125,000 plus attendees at CONEXPO-CON/AGG 2017, the mood was upbeat and there was much to see as more than 2,800 exhibitors from around the globe offered the latest in products and services for the contracting, recycling and quarry industries. Having taken place at the Las Vegas Convention Center in Las Vegas, NV, March 7-11, CONEXPO-CON/AGG and IFPE has become the foremost event of its kind in North America. This year, attendees and vendors alike expressed a mood of optimism reflected in customer equipment sales unlike those of recent years.
“This has been one of the best editions of CONEXPO-CON/AGG – ever,” said Rich Goldsbury, 2017 CONEXPO-CON/AGG chair and CEO and president Doosan Bobcat North America & Oceania. “Exhibitors are writing sales at an incredible pace, and attendees clearly came to Las Vegas to buy.”
That sentiment didn’t go unsubstantiated. At one of the early equipment press events on Wednesday, one vendor expressed their pleasure regarding first day’s equipment sales on Tuesday, where their sales staff sold more than one dozen pieces of quarry equipment, a bonanza by any measure. Other vendors expressed the same optimism.
“There was an element of confidence and pent-up demand at the show,” said Dave Foster, vice president for Marketing & Corporate Communications at Volvo CE. “These are not tire kickers. These are people who are willing to buy multiple machines for work they have now and anticipated growth based on a renewed confidence in the market.”
According to the Association of Equipment Manufacturers (AEM), one of the show sponsors for this world renowned event, “A series of key metrics reflected the improved conditions, which were bolstered by a new pricing strategy intended to reinforce the overall quality of CONEXPO-CON/AGG and IFPE 2017 attendees.” These included a U.S. buyer attendance that jumped over 16 percent from the 2014 show, and total buyer attendance improved by almost eight percent. Overall contractor and producer attendance grew by 10 percent with the total attendance nearing 128,000 for the week.
AEM reported that almost half of all attendees serve in executive positions at their company, and more than three-in-five attendees serve in a decision making role. Almost 26,000 international attendees from 150 countries braved global headwinds including a strong dollar, flagging export markets, and these visitors composed nearly 20 percent of overall attendance. Interestingly, attendees purchased a record breaking 52,000 tickets for education sessions at the show, a 26 percent increase from the 2014 show. Total ticket sales excluding IFPE jumped by over 27 percent compared to 2014.
“I think there (was) a noticeable difference in the attendees at this show. The difference (was) their optimism,” said Gradall Industries President and 2017 Association of Equipment Manufacturers Chair Michael Haberman. “Optimism was on display throughout the show, and the traffic was excellent.”
Other show sponsors include the National Stone, Sand & Gravel Association, the National Ready Mix Concrete Association and the Associated General Contractors of America. Together, these groups are planning for the CONEXPO-CON/AGG and IFPE slated for 2020. Once again, this popular event is scheduled for March 10-14, 2020, in Las Vegas. For more information visit the event website at conexpoconagg.com .