Chicago - The upcoming Kitchen/Bath Industry Show (K/BIS) will be more notable for the appliance vendors that aren't exhibiting than for those in attendance.
Absent from the event, which had long been the majap equivalent of International CES, will be most of the industry's largest manufacturers, including BSH, Electrolux/Frigidaire, Haier, LG, Samsung, Sub-Zero/Wolf and Viking.
Whirlpool, as it did last year, will be represented solely by its Jenn-Air brand.
For LG, the no-show marks the company's first absence from K/BIS since launching its majap line in the U.S.
Also sitting out the show is Sears, which last year staged a trade-show-within-a-trade-show by presenting separate BSH, Electrolux, Kenmore and Samsung vignettes within its booth.
Many companies, including Sears and LG, plan to hold off-site events in lieu of exhibiting to help contain costs.
The biggest exception is GE, which will be on hand at Chicago's McCormick Place to tout its hybrid water heater and other "smart" appliances. Other majap exhibitors will include Danby, Fisher & Paykel/DCS, Kobe, Kuppersbusch, Liebherr and Turbochef. The show runs April 14-18.
Despite waning exhibitor support, which reflects the continuing housing malaise, the show's producer, Nielsen Expositions, is anticipating nearly 35,000 attendees, representing a 40-percent increase over last year's event in Atlanta.
"Our research shows that 67 percent of the attendees who are registered for K/BIS 2010 did not participate last year," said Nielsen's kitchen and bath group VP Brian Pagel. "This has surpassed our expectations and has generated a lot of early buzz and excitement surrounding the show in Chicago this year."