NeoCon Scores Record Attendance; But Some Thought Traffic Was Lighter This Year

June 25, 2024

Byron Morton, Paul Cleary, Marc Layne, and Yinka Ilori
Byron Morton, Paul Cleary, Marc Layne, and Yinka Ilori

CHICAGO, ILL.— NeoCon saw a continued migration of major contract furniture manufacturers from showrooms at the Merchandise Mart here to the Fulton Market area which holds ‘Designer Days’ during NeoCon.
Miller Knoll and Kimball have already moved to new dedicated showroom buildings in the Fulton Market area and Steelcase is expected to move to Fulton in 2025. The smallest spaces at Fulton Market are way larger than anything at the Mart. “As a result, who’s left at the Merchandise Mart are niche players,” says one contract fabric executive.
Nevertheless, some contract jobbers reported record attendance during the four-day event June 2-6.
“Best show ever pretty much sums it up,” says Byron Morton, Merchandise Mart Vice President. “We had over 50,000 attendees and grew attendance over 2023. All the showrooms I talked to said that both the designer and dealer traffic, as well as end user traffic was amazing. Our audience usually consists of approximately 42-45% architects and designers and while we do not have final numbers, our showroom and exhibitor feedback indicate the audience was consistent with previous years.”
Morton says his “NeoCon team extensively markets to the A&D community, and they depend on NeoCon to see the latest products and innovation in the industry. Our programming features relevant and inspiring speakers and thought leadership. All this makes NeoCon the place where designer come to be surprised, delighted, and inspired.”

“We’ve had tremendous leasing success since NeoCon 2024, completing 53 leasing transactions for 172,000 Square Feet and attesting 12 new showrooms to the Mart. To say that we are proud of NeoCon 2024 is an understatement!”

While the designer traffic for some jobbers was perhaps thinner this year, Momentum reported having its best NeoCon to date. Momentum had “its best NeoCon “ according to Paul Cleary, CEO.
He described attendance at Momentum as” record setting.” Momentum also won ‘Best of Competition’ for its Yinka Ilori fabric collections for the first time, he says. “It was very positive for us,” Cleary adds. Momentum has a space on the third-floor corner of the Merchandise Mart. “Companies who need larger spaces to feature all of their furniture brands may be leaving the Mart for Fulton area, but other companies are still moving into the Mart,” he says. Momentum had at least three good days at NeoCon with local designer traffic on the third day, he says.
In addition, Arc/Com President Marc Layne says his company had “very good placements for its new collection with the contract furniture manufacturers at NeoCon.”
Carnegie, a contract jobber was represented in a “pop-up” space at Material Bank in the Mart but did not have a dedicated showroom during the year.
“The Merchandise Mart needs large anchors to draw the designer traffic,” one anonymous source points out. “We know only of Davis Furniture which has renewed its lease at the Mart. This will not be enough to sustain NeoCon the way we remember it. As it is, NeoCon has become a two day show versus 20 years ago when it was a four-day event,” he says.
“It takes the designer a longer time to cover NeoCon with the split between the Mart and Fulton showrooms.”

Subscribe to Receive Industry News Alerts

How would you like to receive news?