Interbike Sees Visitor and Exhibitor Numbers Drop
LAS VEGAS, USA – Last Friday Interbike 2016, that took place from September 19 to 23 including its Outdoor Demo Days, closed its doors at the Mandalay Bay Convention Center in Las Vegas. Show director Pat Hus and his team clearly showed to be relieved as this year’s show could have been much worse. In particular when taking into account the current state of the US market.
Interbike 2016 has been better than expected. But the fact remains that, according to first forecasts, visitor numbers dropped by 10 to 12 percent compared to last year. Occupied exhibition space was down by 8 percent. But one has to take into account that last year’s Interbike was space-wise the largest ever.
“Are we are happy with this year’s show? No. But if you ask me if it could be worse I say, definitely yes,” stated Pat Hus right after Interbike 2016 closed its doors. According to the show director, “Interbike reflects the negative factors the whole country and the industry is faced with now.”
Deep overall uncertainty
On the one hand these factors are rooted in a deep overall uncertainty and no positive feeling all over the country. According to several Interbike visitors this is a result of the current political situation with the upcoming presidential election. Generally it is said that the country is ‘missing leadership’. And that this loss is not only politically but also business-wise, including in the US bicycle business where nowadays everybody is doing its own thing.
Brands that dropped Interbike
This last also impacts Interbike, as more and more companies are doing their own show. Again a number of big brands dropped Interbike this year like Felt and Giant, but also renowned US premium brands Intense Cycles, Rocky Mountain and Santa Cruz. They made their space available for smaller exhibitors.
Demo Days; frightening drop in exhibitor and visitor numbers
These smaller exhibitors eagerly stepped in. Pivot Cycles founder and GM Chris Cocalis said for example that his company reached its best-ever Outdoor Demo Days and Interbike exhibition results ever. But when talking about Interbike’s Outdoor Demo Days; they showed a frightening drop in exhibitor and visitor numbers setting question marks for the future of this part of the Las Vegas show.
Brands not on the radar
The good thing: the absence of larger brands gave retailers time to have a deeper look on brands they probably haven’t on their radar. That’s exactly what makes industry get-togethers like Interbike so important; IBDs are able to overlook all the news and innovations – not only of their suppliers but also of the competition.
Depressed US market
Despite all this the fact remains that America’s leading bicycle trade show reflected the current depressed state of the US market. In the first half of 2016 several stock-listed companies reported already on sluggish sales and high inventories. As a result work force has been reduced while companies restructured with further budget cuts. And – not to forget – with upscaled price competition that is being extended to Europe also. Like with the 20 percent price reduction on selected Specialized and Trek models right at the start of the 2016 season. It was masked as a friendly season opener. At Interbike US dealers talked about extreme sales pressure especially from suppliers’ side. Warehouses still seem to be packed.
Hit rock bottom?
Looking at this year’s Interbike; there’s one question remaining. And it’s one that Pat Hus asked; “Did we hit rock bottom this year?” He couldn’t answer it.
More on Interbike 2016 including sales trends, product news and how e-bikes are developing in the US market is in Bike Europe’s October edition.