The 20th edition of Zoomark, the international trade show for petfood and pet care, held at BolognaFiere on 15th-17th May, more than lived up to its promise, exceeding all expectations and confirming its role as Europe’s leading b2b pet industry event in 2023. The record-breaking event saw a huge leap in visitor and exhibtitor numbers, giving a big boost to its international scope.
The 20th Zoomark was an enormous success, confirming its pivotal role in the industry’s marketing activities and professional development in the distribution sector. While over the past five editions.
Zoomark has seen a 70 percent rise in the number of exhibitors and visitors, the 2023 edition marked a phenomenal leap forward, as Domenico Lunghi, Director of Direct Exhibitions at BolognaFiere, points out: “The figures speak for themselves. The number of exhibitors at Zoomark 2023 was up 25 percent compared to the last edition pre- Covid. It was such a big jump that the layout had to be redesigned and new halls added to accommodate all the companies that chose to invest in our show and make it their platform for three packed days of business and meetings.”
An incredible 1,060 exhibitors from 57 different countries, occupying more than 68,000 square metres of exhibition area, gave Zoomark their vote of confidence. The most numerous groups were the Italians (261) and Chinese (201), followed by those from Great Britain (62), Germany (58), the US (45) and Turkey (41).
For the first time, Zoomark also welcomed companies from Argentina, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, the United Arab Emirates, Georgia, Romania and Vietnam. Visitor numbers were also up on the successful 2019 edition (+8.7%), with 27,950 industry professionals flocking to the show: owners and buyers from pet stores and chains (23.6%), wholesalers (20.3%), import-export professionals (19.3%), as well as groomers, buyers from the large-scale retail trade and garden centres, veterinarians, manufacturers and the international press.
Although bad weather severely hampered domestic travel, the percentage of visitors from abroad (62%) was double that of Zoomark 2019. 17,312 professionals from 120 different countries confirmed the strong international appeal of the BolognaFiere event. The show welcomed industry players not just from Europe (with Germany, Spain, Britain, France, Poland and the Netherlands in the lead), but from all the other continents too: Asia, America, Africa and Oceania.
The figures evidenced the show’s growth curve in terms of prominence, surface area, participants and special initiatives, such as the Pet Vision area, Zoomark’s original showcase for new products, which this year saw the launch of a competition devoted to the most innovative products in the show.
As always, the event hosted a packed programme of conferences and seminars, making it an unmissable international happening for all the major players in the pet market. “The show brought in a high calibre of attendees, all committed to developing their business and tackling the challenges that this period presents. The fact that more than 1,000 exhibitors from all over the world brought their authentic, innovative products and services to Zoomark certainly helped attract a relevant international audience to the show. Now, after the celebrations for the first 20 editions of Zoomark, we are already starting to write the next chapter, devoted to Zoomark 2025 (5th-7th May), with an optimistic outlook for the future of the pet market.”
Spotlight on innovation at Zoomark 2023
One of the reasons for the great success of the BolognaFiere event was certainly its key focus on innovation, led by the Pet Vision area, which showcased more than 500 selected new products launched by the exhibitors, grouped around the five macro trends destined to dominate the pet market of the future.
A source of key insight and inspiration for pet shops, buyers and purchasing managers, these mega trends -Green transition, Healthy & functional, Value for money, Tailor- made and Spoil me more – highlighted the market demand for sustainability, attention to health and wellness, an attractive price-performance ratio, increased customisation and extra pampering.
In the Pet Vision area, Zoomark’s visitors had the chance to experience firsthand the very best offerings from a vital, dynamic pet industry with a strong commitment to innovation and research.
Standing out among the most interesting products and services presented at Zoomark 2023 were the winners of the very first Pet Vision Awards, selected for each category by an international jury of trade journalists: Bewital Petfood’s Belcando Baseline, a line of dog food for price-savvy pet owners who don’t want to compromise on quality; Ajour’s Whisker-friendly slow-feeder bowl, a super-sustainable product in terms of material, design and production process; pH Detection Cat Litters by Shandong Ruida, the litter that monitors cats’ pH balance, thus health; the DogoDrops soothing eyedrops by Dogoteka, for cleansing the eye area; and lastly the certified vegan line of hygiene products Hydra Vegan Detox Collection by Pet Society.
Original new ideas that sparked the interest of buyers and industry professionals included insect-based dry and wet foods and snacks; accessories made from recycled, eco-sustainable materials, such as the vegan harness produced using apple peel; high-tech toys; tasty snacks inspired by human foods (but specially formulated to fulfil pets’ nutritional needs); high-tech accessories and tools; and specialised services for the industry, distribution and also for pet owners, such as the insurance plans offered by Mutua Italiana Assistenza Veterinaria for dogs, cats and rabbits, providing national and European coverage.
With Zoomark 2023 in the bag, the organisers are already hard at work on the initiatives planned for the two-year period leading up to the next edition, which will be held on 5th to 7th May 2025.
Zoomark’s international success and its vocation for generating business have prompted BolognaFiere to look beyond the European market, launching new projects, and making the event into a format to serve the pet industry globally.
Zoomark 2023 saw the launch of the Chinese edition, Zoomark China, which will be held in Guangzhou on 23rd and 24th November and aims to bring together pet industry professionals, distributors, importers/exporters, e-commerce retailers, and online platforms in a modern, stimulating environment: a key opportunity to network and address the changing needs of pet owners, bringing more brands and products from around the world to China.
The Chinese event is only the first in a wide-ranging initiative that aims to make Zoomark a formula that can be replicated in the most interesting emerging markets, further confirming the event’s role as an ambassador and partner for business development around the world, forging a network of solid institutional and commercial relationships.