The premiere of Interzoo.digital, organized by WZF (Wirtschaftsgemeinschaft Zoologischer Fachbetriebe GmbH), was eagerly awaited: The online format of the world’s leading trade fair for pet supplies attracted 14,537 participants from over 100 countries to the platform from 1 to 4 June. They included 9,513 visitors (about 30 percent of them from Germany) who made thousands of contacts and gathered information about the latest food and grooming products, accessories, trends, and services for pets from 336 exhibitors (including 78 from Germany) from 48 countries. At the opening of Interzoo.digital, Julia Klöckner, Federal Minister of Food and Agriculture, praised Interzoo as a “driving innovation force in the pet industry.”
In addition to the corporate profiles and product presentations by exhibitors, the supporting program also attracted lots of interest. On the first day of the event, the live stream of the official opening got almost 3,000 views from participants watching all over the world, 30 percent of them from Germany. The other top five visitor countries were the UK, the Netherlands and Italy, followed by Spain and France.
“We are very happy about the large number of interactions and the wide-ranging professional discussions during Interzoo.digital. In addition to numerous lectures and discussions within our supporting programme, the participants exchanged a total of around 130,000 chat messages and made 2,300 person-to-person video calls. In particular, the company profiles received a lot of attention. More than 210,000 out of around 445,000 visits were to exhibitor profiles,” says Dr Rowena Arzt, Director Exhibitions at WZF.
“Implemented with a lot of pioneering spirit from all sides, Interzoo.digital was innovative, interactive and informative. The global pet industry finally came together again on one platform to present new products and trends and to exchange ideas on fundamental topics,” concluded Gordon Bonnet, Managing Director of WZF and the German Pet Trade and Industry Association ZZF (Zentralverband Zoologischer Fachbetriebe Deutschlands e.V.), at the end of the last day of the fair.
Responsibility of the pet industry for animal-friendly care
At the opening, the speakers focused on the increased interest in our interaction with pets since the pandemic and the responsibility of the pet industry to ensure animal-friendly care of our four-legged housemates. According to the ZZF, the number of pets in Germany has increased by nearly one million to almost 35 million dogs, cats, small mammals and ornamental birds, and the market research institute Euromonitor International predicts a worldwide increase in sales of pet supplies of more than 7.5 percent this year.
ZZF President Norbert Holthenrich: “If the social importance of pets continues to grow, the expertise of the pet industry will be in demand. We should therefore clearly support a fair and sustainable trade in animals and raise our voice against dubious traders or mass breeders who do not put the welfare of animals first.” Katharina Engling, Chairwoman of the Interzoo Trade Fair Advisory Board, has been working with office dogs and thus for a positive coexistence between humans and pets for years: “Of course, it’s not possible without rules, because we have to focus on our work. But it’s wonderful when the dogs are there.”
Dr Andrea Beetz, psychologist and president of the International Society for Animal Assisted Therapy (ISAAT), also stressed in her speech that the pandemic has made the importance of pets more obvious than ever. “Playing with your pet means focusing on the here and now. That can be very healthy. You don’t have to worry about tomorrow or yesterday. Even if it’s only a few minutes a day.”
Alongside these important ethical and political subjects, the diverse Interzoo.digital supporting program featured numerous other presentations and discussions on topics like industry trends, market developments, marketing opportunities, best practices, sustainability, and digitalization.
The next edition of Interzoo will take place from 24 to 27 May 2022 on the grounds of NürnbergMesse. A large number of international exhibitors have already registered for this event.
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