The analysis was conducted by Duke University’s Global Value Chains Center and led by T. William Lester, an associate professor in the Department of City and Regional Planning at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. A similar report in 2013 found an annual economic impact of $5.3 billion.
Markets in April and October count total attendance of 150,000 people, the report stated, adding:
“Beyond attracting a large number of visitors from outside the state, the Market serves a critical function for the broader furnishings industry and is a key node in the overall furniture industry’s value chain. … Despite all the restructuring and declining employment levels in the face of globalization, the industry cluster remains a critical source of jobs for local residents and tax revenue for state and local coffers. In many ways the Market is the key gathering event and organizing node at the center of this local cluster, which includes a range of activities from manufacturing, to distribution, to design, marketing and professional services.”
The report breaks down economic impact into five activities: spending by market visitors; spending by the High Point Market Authority; spending by exhibitors; furniture sales generated at the market; and rents paid by exhibitors to building owners.
The largest category, at $3.5 billion, is furniture sales. The study team surveyed exhibitors in June 2018 and received 428 responses. Seventy percent indicated that 10 percent or more of their annual sales could be attributed to sales or contacts made at the High Point Market. Researchers credited those amounts to the market’s economic impact.
The leading industry impacted is upholstered household furniture manufacturing, at just over $1 billion, the report found. Next is mattress manufacturing at more than $800 million, followed by non-upholstered wood household furniture manufacturing at more than $600 million.
Spending by market visitors contributes more than $500 million annually to the High Point-area economy. Exhibitor spending tops $162 million, and rents exceed $156 million a year, according to the study. Market activity supports 42,427 jobs.
The study was presented during a news conference at the N.C. Legislative Building in Raleigh by Tom Conley, president and CEO of the High Point Market Authority, and Doug Bassett, president of Vaughan Bassett Furniture in Bassett, Va. Bassett chairs the government relations committee of the High Point Market Authority Board of Directors.
The High Point Market receives support for transportation and marketing services from legislative appropriations.