Duke study puts market impact at $5.4 billion
The High Point Market far and away remains North Carolina’s single-largest economic event, according to a summary of the findings of a Duke University study released Wednesday.
The market contributes $5.4 billion in economic impact, more than 37,000 jobs and $198 million in local and state taxes and fees, researchers with the Center on Globalization, Governance & Competitiveness found.
The High Point Market Authority, which organizes and promotes the twice-yearly home furnishings trade show, commissioned the study last year.
To put the total impact figure in perspective, $5.4 billion is equal to about 1.3 percent of the total gross domestic product of North Carolina.
“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 market authority and president of Vaughan-Bassett Furniture. “Our study is rich with data we’ve never had before that gets into, not only economic impact, but jobs and tax revenues. It’s just a much clearer picture than we’ve ever had, the effect that this High Point Market has on our whole region.”
Researchers studied 30 counties within a 75-mile radius of downtown High Point and analyzed five types of economic activity in the study: visitor spending, vendor spending, furniture sales, vendor rents and market authority spending.
Bassett said furniture sales account for the largest market-related impact. The study does not take into account sales made at market by firms that are based outside the region or that make their products overseas.
“If Coaster sells a bedroom set here, and it’s made in China, that’s not part of the number. But if somebody selling upholstery or mattresses around here makes a sale here, those furniture sales are captured in the economic impact,” Bassett said.
He added that he was especially proud of the jobs figures highlighted in the study, which noted 26,000 furniture-related jobs in the 30-county area that are tied to the market.
There are an additional 11,000 jobs associated with ancillary services to the market, such as transportation, catering, lodging and construction positions.
The study found that the market generates $197.9 million in state and tax revenues. Bassett said the study revealed, for the first time, the total amount of tax revenue the market generates for the city of High Point and Guilford County: $25.5 million.
The city contributes $1 million annually to the market authority, while the state contributes $1.85 million.
“The point is, the investment by the city of High Point is getting wonderful returns,” he said. “The same thing with the state. Their return on investment is 66 to 1.”
The study also found that 58,000 of the roughly 76,000 people who attend each market are from outside the 75-mile radius, accounting for 623,000 overnight stays throughout the year.
“Compare that to the average NASCAR race or average basketball game in Charlotte, there is not another event in the state that generates over 600,000 room nights,” Bassett said. “That’s why we’re the biggest economic event in the state.”