LAGUNA HILLS, CA (BRAIN)—Putting an end to yearlong discussions and speculation of when Interbike would stage its 2011 show, organizers announced that it will be held Aug. 8-12. Anaheim is the host city through 2013.
Show management considered Aug. 1-5, and proposed those dates in a letter to key industry partners, including the Bicycle Product Suppliers Association, last week. The decision to settle on the second week of August came about due to overlap with the Outdoor Retailer trade show, set for Aug. 3-7.
Approximately 70 companies reach out to both outdoor and cycling buying audiences, according to Interbike show director Andy Tompkins. “Also, several key companies indicated that another week or so would give them more time to prepare product and marketing materials,” Tompkins said.
Tompkins said the industry had voiced a need to change the venue but that neither Salt Lake City nor Denver convention centers, which it determined large enough to host the show, had available dates in the near-term. Interbike has been held in Las Vegas since 1998.
The change has been a year in the making. Nielsen Expositions, Interbike’s owner, completed multiple surveys and solicited feedback for months from suppliers, retailers and industry associations, Tompkins said. Bikes Belong, the National Bicycle Dealers Association and the Bicycle Product Suppliers Association all endorse the earlier show dates.
“We’ve been hearing from brands that the show is late in terms of when they’re introducing product and we’re hearing from retailers that the show is late, making it less enticing to come because they’ve finished a lot of their business,” Tompkins said. “We’re just looking at when the buy-sell cycle is and when companies are bringing products to market.”
But the new dates pose a challenge for bike shops, particularly East Coast and Midwest retailers who have shorter selling seasons. Many already leave their shops in July and August to attend invite-only product launches by Cannondale, Giant, Raleigh, Specialized and Trek.
“The timing is as bad as it gets. That’s at the height of sales in the industry,” said Brad Hill, owner of Goodale’s Bike Shop with three stores in New Hampshire. Hill, who’s attended Interbike since back when it used to be part of the toy show, said he would think long and hard about whether to attend next year. “Any time in August is a bad time. What a huge risk to take,” he said.
If the purpose is to be more inline with new model-year product launches, then having it August won’t make a difference, according to Daniel Sirota of Brands Cycle in Long Island, New York.
“New model year entry level bicycles are showing up at retailers as early as late April, with most models arriving by end of August,” Sirota said. “The real high end is what we may see at Interbike before hitting shops. Many component companies have their new products out in spring, mid-summer the latest.”
Still, some suppliers point to benefits like being able to hold sales meetings concurrently with the show.
“The dates make a lot more sense,” said Pat Cunnane, president of Advanced Sports Inc., parent company of Fuji, Breezer, SE, Kestrel and Terry. “Interbike has been six to eight weeks after we’ve shown everything to our customers. It’s become less of a sales event and more product development with vendors and suppliers, and it’s not perfectly timed for that, either.”
Steve Meineke, president of Raleigh America and chairman of the board of the Bikes Belong Coalition, also supports an August show. “Early show dates help a much broader base of dealers make decisions with suppliers at a time when we can positively impact fulfilling against demand with long lead times from Asia,” he said.
In setting the dates Interbike organizers had to navigate a busy month for key shows including Trek’s dealer launch and Crankworx, typically held in mid-August, as well as Eurobike, which starts Aug. 31. August is also when European bike companies close for summer break.
Though dates for 2012 and 2013 shows have not been finalized, they will remain in August, Tompkins said, adding that Nielsen is looking into adding a consumer day to the Anaheim shows. The Health+Fitness Business Expo will also be staged alongside Interbike at the Anaheim Convention Center.
"We realize it's going to take a couple of shows for the benefits to be apparent," Tompkins said about the changes. "We do expect to experience some opposition at first, but we are willing to be flexible. If it seems not to be what the industry wants, we can make alterations again."