Focused on a fresh new theme – Visionaries in Education, Fashion, and Technology – International Vision Expo East closed on Sunday, March 22 after four days of education and exhibits centered on the hottest topics and trends facing today’s eyecare professionals. Early reports indicate that more than 22,000 visitors gathered for the industry’s premier event from over 90 countries.
Following two years of research and planning, the popular Galleria and Underground Pavilions were relocated to Level 3, creating a high-fashion hub for buying activity. Buyers asked for a more convenient solution to visit these pavilions, as well as the Eyewear & Accessories Pavilion and International Vision Expo responded.
“Vision Expo has been working hard to create a show that is great for the attendees; to make it easy for them to navigate. I feel like now that frames are closer together, our customers cross. They buy big company frames and they buy small company frames, so it makes it easy for them to navigate. I have been getting positive feedback from the attendees that they appreciate that and they like the show navigation better. So we are always here for them, and I think that is most important to note,” said Ray Khalil, president of LaFont.
“What we noticed for this show especially is that the buying attitude has been extremely positive. So it’s very, very refreshing and encouraging,” said Andrea Gluck, co-president of Eyewear Designs.
With the relocation of The Galleria and The Underground, Vision Expo hosted the Eyewear Designers of the Council of Fashion Designers of America for a standing room only panel discussion on ‘Speaking of Design’, an opportunity which Christian Roth of Christian Roth Eyewear said helped to “link eyewear and fashion even closer.”
The new layout also made it convenient for eyecare professionals to easily source and purchase from the hundreds of vendors inside the Medical & Scientific and Lenses & Processing Technology Pavilions.
“The show is very well attended; many qualified customers have been coming through our booth and we’ve had the opportunity to address their needs and to provide solutions. We really appreciate all the work that goes in on the front end that Vision Expo provides in order for us to have a show of this quality,” said Robert Kohn, vice president of sales and marketing, North America, A&R Optical Machinery. “We’ve been coming to both East and West as far back as I can remember and it seems that we’ve outgrown our booth based on the traffic that’s coming in, so it’s a real positive and we’re looking into expanding our booth for the next show.”
Over 33 percent of attendees were millennials, including more than 700 students and members of the Young Professionals Club who attended courses ranging from the “New Technology Rapid Fire” clinical session to “Future Business Trends Happening Now” in the Business Solutions track.
According to Tom Loughran, group vice president, Reed Exhibitions, millennial interest and activity foreshadow the direction in which eyewear and eyecare professionals and businesses are headed.
“The millennial population learns, communicates and operates in new ways and businesses need to consider this,” said Loughran. “We are in the middle of a digital movement that is captivating to all generations, in an evolution of our overall marketing and customer experience strategies.”
Over the next several months, plans are in the works for providing resources to meet new demands including eyewear fashion trend information, access to alliances and buying groups, professional industry consultants, as well as partnerships with insurance and financial institutions to foster increased engagement with this important group.
The 2015 educational experience addressed this new professional landscape head-on through four days and 330 hours of flexible and technology-driven formats such as crowd-sourced learning, designed to engage attendees in steering classroom discussions. The addition of new tracks in wearable technology, retail business and customer experience demonstrated the forward thinking nature of Vision Expo and further solidified the Conference as the number one destination for education for today’s and tomorrow’s eyecare professionals.
“From the education hall to the Exhibit Hall, the entire Vision Expo East experience is developed based on what we know matters to the profession now, and where it needs to go,” said Deborah Castor, vice president of shows, The Vision Council. “The exclusive education is informing collaborative care practices, product innovation, and buying activity while the Exhibit Hall is showcasing and previewing what’s on the horizon.”
International Vision Expo & Conference conducts a detailed, third-party audit of attendance at International Vision Expo East. Verified figures will be available in May. For more information including event highlights, images and videos, as well as attendee testimonials please visit www.VisionExpoEast.com.
Vision Expo East returns to the Javits Center in April 2016 (Education: April 14-17, Exhibition: April 15-17).