Has the economy impacted Expo East? It depends what standard you're using. If you're looking at the footprint, then yes, square footage is down. There are fewer exhibitors here. Some big names, Hain Celestial and Nature's Path among them, do not have booths here.
If you count people, there is little difference in the body count from last year's show. The aisles were packed by mid-day both yesterday and today, and it's busy and noisy right through late afternoon.
If you're measuring the show by attitude, then this show is just as good as past shows. The energy is high, the attitude is positive and the talk is optimistic. The consensus is that it'll be Q3 next year before sales truly turn around and start to tick back up. Some mid-size exhibitors I spoke with today said they had strong years. In the case of one, their HBC lines suffered as consumers cut back on frills, but their dry goods in the grocery category more than made up for the loss as a majority of consumers returned to cooking at home. The result, sales up 5% -- about average when you look at overall health and wellness growth rates this past year.
Anyway, that's how the show looks here as we close out Day Two... Understandably, most of the attendees here (24,000 or so) prefer to gauge the show using attitude as the yardstick.