Glee visitor numbers dropped nearly 15% this year, falling to 11,149 from 13,050 in 2010, unaudited figures released by the show's organisers have revealed.
Last year’s total represented a decline of more than 10% on the past year, and a drop of more than 40% since 2007.
However, event director Nick Davison stressed the quality of people coming to the show, with an increase in visitor numbers from multiple retailers.
The show attracted delegates from multiples including Tesco, Sainsbury's, Asda, John Lewis, B&Q, Homebase and Wilkinson, as well as visitors from independent garden centres and larger chains such as Dobbies, Squires and Webbs.
Mr Davison said: "We are really pleased with the response to Glee 2011. Not only did the show welcome a valuable audience made up of key decision makers - 70% of attendees were directors or buyers with direct purchasing power, whilst over 30% of all attendees had a spending budget of up to £1m - the show also provided the perfect backdrop for some great business to be done. Both during and after the show we have received positive feedback from both exhibitors and visitors alike, and have heard that throughout the show millions of pounds worth of orders were taken, new trading partnerships were built and new distribution routes were developed, as well as the successful launch of thousands of new products to the market."
Areas of growth included an increased audience with a primary interest in garden care and machinery, and a 10% increase in the number of visitors with an interest in food and catering, reflecting the current rapid growth of the catering sector within garden centres.
The show brought together more than 670 suppliers, including 200 brand new exhibitors and the return of 45 lapsed companies.
For all the news from the show, including comments from both exhibitors and visitors, see the next issue of DIY Week
, out October 21.