Interbike Marketweek, the largest bicycle industry trade show and demo event in North America, concluded on September 20th after changing locations and returning to the Reno Tahoe region for the first time since October of 1987. In its post-show report Interbike stated that ‘Overall feedback from exhibitors and attendees was mostly positive, reinforcing the fact that gathering the industry for quality face-to-face national engagement is beneficial to the health of our group.’
The experience kicked-off at the Northstar California Resort, approximately 40 minutes south-west of Reno on Saturday, September 15th for the inaugural Free-Ride Festival powered by Interbike. Interbike staff monitored traffic at the expo area main entrance, recording more than 5,000 attendees flowing through on Saturday and Sunday.
Events including the Stetina Sierra Prospect and the Boogaloo Class 1 eMTB Race Series added to the overall riding experience, and the venue amenities were an upgrade from previous editions. The event shifted to a private retailer event on Sunday afternoon and all-day on Monday, where ‘many bike brands were out of demo bikes with demand-to-ride being high’.
More than 2500 flowed through the expo area on Monday, and Sunday evening’s new Retailer Welcome Reception was reportedly at max capacity with approximately 150 retail buyers in attendance.
“As with any major change to an event, we have things to learn and refine in the future,” said Justin Gottlieb, Vice President of Interbike. “The demo experience was certainly improved over ODD’s in the past, with Northstar California providing an amazing venue, but we hate to see empty bike racks with attendees waiting to ride. While this may be viewed as a good problem to have, there’s an opportunity for more brands to get consumers (who came from the Bay Area, Sacramento, Reno and beyond) and retailers from across the country, on their bikes at an epic venue.
“Now that we’ve gone through an event cycle, our sales team will be better prepared to show benefits and features of the event to industry brands.”
The Interbike Expo was staged in Reno, NV on September 18-20, ‘with a completely different look and feel’. This was the first time in many years that Interbike was staged in a convention centre with no other trade shows taking place in the same location.
The new Open Air District and outdoor test track held 45 companies, with the aim of providing a ‘refreshing indoor/outdoor experience’. About 3,000 test rides were taken and tracked using RFID technology during the course of the expo at The Circuit test track, on the 130+ bikes that were available.
Despite retail buyer attendance being down approximately 28%, show traffic on day one and most of day two was reportedly steady. Commentary from many of the 500+ exhibitors was consistent – that ‘traffic was lighter than expected, but the quality of the retailers they met with was high’.
“While the attendance numbers were lower than expected, the new location offered a fresh experience to the industry during a time when change is needed,” said Justin Gottlieb. “As I said in my opening statement before the industry breakfast, the last few years in particular have been challenging for the North American market – but we are bullish about the future of our business.
“Interbike is going to invest-in and focus-on growing attendance – from retailers, to distributors, product managers, sales reps and more as this is our primary goal for the 2019 event. We also have several sizeable changes in-the-works for 2019 that we hope to announce in the near future.”
Gottlieb continued, “Trade shows play an important role in the business cycle of so many industries, as they bring valuable face-to-face interaction to all key constituents. We believe in the IBD and will continue to evolve our events to meet the needs of the bicycle industry.”
The educational content offered during Interbike 2018 received some of the highest marks in the history of the event, with the IBD Summit, Retail by Retailer, Mann University, Triathlon Pavilion and other tracks being well attended throughout the week.
The Industry Breakfast, with John Venhuizen, CEO, ACE Hardware, as keynote, was set up to accommodate 700 attendees, but drew more than 800. Other sessions that received positive feedback included Doug Stephens on The Future of the Retail Store, and the 4th annual Fit Symposium, presented by Medicine of Cycling.