Another International Builders' Show is in the books, and with almost 70,000 people in attendance, it was a solid bounce back to pre-pandemic days. It was the 10th anniversary for Design & Construction Week, which this year included the co-location of IBS and the National Kitchen & Bath Association’s Kitchen & Bath Industry Show, and three co-dated industry shows, the National Hardware Show, the International Surfaces Event, and the Las Vegas Winter Market.

Zonda had its booth on the show floor in the Central Hall at IBS and boots on the ground. Here are some key takeaways from what Zonda employees experienced while in Las Vegas:

“The demeanor of participants was more engaged/bullish than I expected. Attendance was high, and conversations were enthusiastic. At the same time, I also perceived a twinge of excess. Most of the products released at the show were devised amid a product/housing shortage, and it showed. In a product/housing shortage, every product sells, because of shortages. Companies that are good at one thing, such as manufacturing, trick themselves into believing they really are good at solving other very different problems.” —Todd Tomalak, principal of building products

“I was pleasantly surprised by the positive turnout and energy of the attendees and exhibitors. The building industry has been hit hard with negative messages in 2022, so to see those in the trenches working hard and sharing a positive outlook in general was impactful, inspiring, and refreshing.” —Karyn Bonder, vice president, business development, builder sales, and marketing

“Home from the International Builders' Show. Here are my three takeaways: 1. The new-home cancellation rate has largely normalized; 2. Sales in January crushed expectations; 3. Builders had cautious optimism with many mentions of a head fake.” —Ali Wolf, chief economist

“As someone who focuses on the mortgage banking vertical, it was interesting to see how many organizations spent money attending and/or exhibiting at IBS. Despite a year of difficult headwinds, banks continue to see the importance of investing in builder relationships.” —Nicollette Chapman, national sales, mortgage data solutions

“I enjoyed meeting with builders, getting their insight and feedback to the latest changes in the industry. I was also struck by how many people were back in Vegas and going to a major conference. I couldn’t imagine it any fuller.” —Justin LaJoie, executive vice president and general manager

“Despite the cautious optimism for the industry, the labor crisis looms large. It was interesting to hear how the industry is tackling the issue from all sides: training programs and recruitment efforts to attract new workers from a variety of backgrounds and efforts to improve retention/combat turnover through a focus on leadership, communication, and culture.” —Vincent Salandro, associate editor

“Every facet of the industry was in full force, running on all cylinders. I wondered if this was simply because most of the planning for this event took place over the summer of 2022, so everyone was locked into the event prior to the worst of the housing slowdown and rate hikes? Everybody I met was reasonably optimistic—I’m sure the quarter-point rate hike by the Fed that happened in the middle of the conference helped boost confidence in the near future.” —Ryan Prazen, director of business development

“While the housing market isn't on fire like it has been, spirits were high for both builders and manufacturers. There was excitement in the air throughout. Air quality, ADA compliant, wellness, and multifunction smart products were top of mind for many vendors in the kitchen and bath sector." —Leah Draffen, associate editor

“The International Builders’ Show was a spectacular event that exceeded all expectations. The high turnout, captivating presenters, and numerous opportunities to connect with potential clients were all hallmarks of a successful gathering.” —Matthew Slutsky, vice president of business development

“The industry is hungry for information and new opportunities. Long gone are the frenzied days of the pandemic housing market. What customers need today are the tools for risk management, forward planning, and innovation. From my conversations at IBS, I sensed a renewed interest in our data solutions as builders have become more mindful of market trends since the post-pandemic ‘cool-off.’” —Allison Paul, director of business development

“One of the most recurring themes I saw in design sessions and on the show floor at IBS 2023 is how the idea of homeowner well-being has risen to the forefront post-pandemic. From several HVAC manufacturers debuting new products that improve indoor air quality to tile and flooring manufacturers creating designs that include antimicrobial properties to paint manufacturers selecting colors that instill calmness and comfort, today’s buyers are looking beyond curb appeal, floor plans, and design to really evaluate if their homes will allow them to live healthy lives every day.” —Symone Strong, associate editor

“Aside from seeing my staff in person, what I loved most was the immense passion for the industry felt throughout the show, from the engaging education sessions to the impressive booths on the show floor. In multiple sessions I attended it was asserted that words matter, whether being spoken, written in marketing materials, or otherwise—so true! Connecting with a mix of new and familiar faces at a show that drew such high attendance felt great—what better way to kick off 2023?” —Jennifer Lash, editor-in-chief

“It was great to see such an emphasis placed on the importance of green and resilient building for both multifamily and single-family housing. Highlighting the benefits that green building offers to owners, developers, managers, residents, and the surrounding communities is so crucial today, and IBS speakers brought practical tips to the table to offset costs and realize greater ROIs when implementing these features.” —Christine Serlin, editor