LAS VEGAS, NV (BRAIN)—Interbike officials were surprised—and relieved—by the turnout at this year’s show, which concluded on Friday.
According to preliminary counts from show officials, total attendance (more than 22,500) was slightly down due to fewer exhibitor personnel. But the number of stores was up to just over 4,000 and the number of total buyers was also up to just over 11,300. International buyers increased to more than 1,300 representing 64 countries.
Many exhibitors went into the show with low expectations given the tough economy and were pleasantly surprised by the amount of business taking place.
"We have been pleasantly surprised by the attendance so far this year and more importantly, the enthusiasm from the dealers," said Colnago's Shane Winn. "This year, more than ever, people are coming to Interbike to touch, feel and drool over product before they write their orders."
The first day traffic seemed particularly busy. “Yesterday was rocking. We had lots of appointments and lots of tire kicking,” said Eric Squires, sales manager for Light & Motion.
Squires said the light company took orders from retailers who realized the need to have lights in stock when it starts getting dark earlier. “We’re a little off-cycle from the rest of the industry; we’re just coming into our prime selling season,” Squires said.
Other exhibitors made similar observations.
"I am really pleased with this year’s traffic and the number of new dealers we have been able to meet with," said Blair Clark, senior vice president of Smith Optics. "I do wish that we had brought a bigger presence. Our meetings have confirmed the number of potential cross-over markets here."
Jay Elgren, president of Blackbottoms Cyclewear, said his booth was busy on all three days. "The dealers have really come out this year. I think we did more business yesterday than all three days last year," Elgren said.
The Outdoor Demo also saw steady traffic. First-day attendance numbers were up 8 percent over last year. Close to 150 exhibitors showed and allowed retailers to test new products.
And a reported 10,000 spectators filled the Desert Breeze Soccer Complex for the third edition of CrossVegas on the first night of the indoor show.
Meanwhile, Interbike officials have released next year's dates. The indoor show will take place Sept. 22 through 24. Outdoor Demo will take place Sept. 20 and 21 in Bootleg Canyon.
PHOTO BY GARY NEWKIRK