Duke study finds High Point Market worth $5.4 billion to region

HIGH POINT, N.C. - The High Point Market contributes $5.4 billion in economic impact to the overall regional economy, more than 37,000 jobs and $198 million in North Carolina local and state taxes and fees, according to a Duke University study released today.

The High Point Market Authority engaged the Center on Globalization, Governance & Competitiveness (CGGC) at Duke University to conduct a comprehensive study on the economic and fiscal impact of the market.

According to the report, the market's $5.4 billion output is equivalent to about 1.3% of the total gross state product of North Carolina.

"This analysis focuses on the impact of all the economic activity generated through the Market itself," said Lukas Brun, senior research analyst at Duke CGGC and the project manager for the High Point Market study. "The logic used was the following, ‘what amount of economic activity would not have occurred ‘but-for' the Market.' The report analyzes the economic impact of five distinct categories that can be tied to the bi-annual High Point Market events."

"We are delighted that this study shows the tremendous economic impact that the High Point Market and the furniture industry have on our local and state economy," said Doug Bassett, chairman of the High Point Market Authority and president of Vaughan-Bassett Furniture. "Clearly, the investment we all make in conducting a first-rate Market here in High Point is paying great dividends for all of us."

The study defines the study area as the 30 counties (22 in North Carolina and eight in Virginia) within a 75-mile radius from downtown High Point. It used the data from an original survey pulled from 199 exhibitors at market over the period July 3-16, 2013.

The study analyzed five types of economic activity:

• Visitor spending, including all the expenses incurred by any visitor to market outside the study region (75-mile radius) and included items such as lodging, meals, retail purchases, gasoline, car rentals, groceries and entertainment.

• Spending by the HPMA, which represents the direct budgeted expenses of the HPMA such as transit and ground passenger transportation expenses.

• Vendor spending, or exhibitor spending, which includes all the expenses incurred to put vendor products on display at market, and includes construction, decoration, photography, marketing and catering.

• Furniture sales, the largest and most important impact, which accounts for all the sales made at market, or within 90 days of the market. The study excluded sales made at market by firms located outside the study region, including firms that manufacture overseas or elsewhere in the U.S.

• Vendor rents, which includes rental payments made by vendors to local owners and managers of commercial real estate in the High Point area.

"Beyond attracting a large number of visitors from outside the state, and the world, the High Point Market serves a critical function for the broader furnishings industry and is a key node in the overall furniture industry's value chain," Brun said. "The team used IMPLAN (Impact Analysis for Planners) software to estimate the economic impact as well as a survey of market attendees, data from the HPMA, and data from the North Carolina Department of Commerce."

The study found that the market is responsible for the creation of 37,616 jobs. Economic activity associated with the biannual market resulted in 11,000 jobs, in support areas such as food service/catering, lodging, maintenance/repair construction services and transit and ground passenger transportation. Twenty-six thousand jobs come from the furniture sales generated at market that flow to workers within the 30 county area in manufacturing positions such as upholstered household furniture, nonupholstered wood household furniture, showcase/partition/shelving, and mattress production, to name only the top categories.

The fiscal impact of the High Point Market on the state of North Carolina and the 22 affected counties is $197.9 million in tax revenue. Guilford County/City of High Point receives an estimated $25.5 million in tax revenue out of the $197.9 million in total revenue.

The study also provided data on visitor numbers to the High Point Market. Seventy-six thousand attendees come to market biannually, and 623,000 visitor-days per year are generated by the 58,000 visitors coming to the market in High Point, biannually, from outside the 75-mile radius.

"The High Point Market is crucial for the health of the local manufacturing and distribution sectors of the wider furniture industry in the state and the region," said Thomas P. Conley, president and CEO of the High Point Market Authority. "The Market is a valuable economic asset that provides tangible economic benefits throughout the year and throughout the region."


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