Registration at the 2012 Kitchen and Bath Industry Show  (KBIS) was up significantly compared to last year, the show’s organizers announced recently.
More than 32,000 confirmed registrants visited Chicago’s McCormick Place April 24-26. This included 16,000 industry buyers and specifiers, a 10 percent increase over last year. The show also attracted 550 exhibitors and 300 media outlets.
“KBIS provides the unique opportunity to network and gain critical insights into a changing market, and this year’s show had an array of innovative and inspirational products and designs from our exhibitor partners,” Jim Scott, Managing Director of KBIS, said in a statement. “KBIS 2012 showed that our industry is reinventing itself and utilizing insights from the marketplace to develop new products and designs that change how we interact in both the kitchen and bath.”
The positive mood at KBIS was also noticed by the show's lighting exhibitors, including Melissa Andresko, Senior Residential Public Relations Manager for Lutron Electronics .
"There was a tremendous energy at KBIS this year," she says. "Designers were excited to see our dimmer for CFLs and LEDs and our new battery-powered honeycomb shades. Overall, I think it was a great show."
Mike Donovan, Vice President of Sales for first-time exhibitor Pure Edge Lighting , says he was pleased with both the traffic and the response to the company's products.
"For us, since it was the first time we've done the show, we were surprised at the number of people that came through the booth and their level of interest in the products," Donovan says. "It was a great way to expose new products like our undercabinet and Soft Strip lighting and let people see them firsthand."
Jeff Dross, Kichler Lighting’s  Corporate Director of Education and Industry Trends, says he saw about the same number of visitors in the Kichler booth as last year, but the mood among those visitors was more positive.
“I think there is an upbeat feeling this year, and I suspect it kind of replicates what we saw in January in Dallas,” Dross says. “People are feeling a little more positive and they are getting some additional jobs.”
Dross says the KBIS crowd is a well-educated group who are looking for information on an assortment of products, including lighting, and at this year’s show, their questions showed they are getting more work.
“[At this show, attendees] had a job they were working on, and were asking some pretty specific questions about a job they were currently tackling, so in general it was a pretty positive and upbeat group of people,” Dross says.
Planning is already underway for next year’s KBIS, which will take place April 19-21, 2013, in New Orleans.