June 11, 2012, 3:49 PM

Record attendance at IRCE

More than 8,600 attended the world’s largest online retailing event in Chicago.

Lead Photo

A look at the crowd during a general session at IRCE 2012 last week.

The world’s largest online retailing show broke its own attendance record last week.

The Internet Retailer 2012 Conference & Exhibition attracted 8,638 participants to McCormick Place West in Chicago, an 18.3% increase over the 7,301 who attended IRCE 2011 in San Diego.

“We benefit from the e-commerce market growing by 16% a year and we benefit from being the No. 1 show in the market,” says Jack Love, CEO of Vertical Web Media LLC and publisher of Internet Retailer magazine, which sponsors IRCE. “The No. 1 show always outperforms everybody else. And that’s particularly true in tough economic times when some people only go to one show—the one show they’ll go to is the No. 1 show. And we’re by far the No. 1 show.”

The IRCE Exhibit Hall also set a record, with 564 companies presenting all manner of e-commerce technologies and services. That was an increase of 11.9% from the 504 companies that exhibited last year. The size of the show floor increased even more, growing 14.7% from 218,000 to 250,000 square feet. The larger increase in the size of the show floor stems from exhibiting companies taking larger booths this year, says IRCE exhibition director Steve Rogers.

Attendees heard from 175 expert speakers over the four days of the conference, including Barnes & Noble Inc. CEO William Lynch, Walmart.com US president Joel Anderson, Gilt Group Inc. founder and chief strategy officer Alexis Maybank  and international affairs commentator Fareed Zakaria, host of the CNN TV show Global Public Square with Fareed Zakaria and editor at large at Time magazine.

IRCE 2013 will take place June 4-7, 2013, and again be held at McCormick Place West in Chicago.

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