FRIEDRICHSHAFEN, Germany (BRAIN) — Eurobike organizers have announced new dates for the 2018 trade show. Eurobike will move earlier in the year, kicking off on Sunday, July 8, and it will be exclusively for trade visitors, eliminating its consumer festival days.
Next year, Eurobike will remain in its usual timeframe, Aug. 30 to Sept. 2, with three days only open to trade visitors, followed by one consumer day on Saturday. It will also retain the demo areas outside of the "B" hall. Eurobike immediately announced that it would go back to one consumer day after the show this year, which expanded to two consumer days.
Organizers have not decided whether the 2018 trade show will offer three or four days for trade visitors. They said that will be determined closer to show time and after surveying exhibitors further. Eurobike conducted an extensive survey after the show this year, asking about dates, consumer days, and other topics.
"The bike market is enjoying great dynamism and seeing numerous changes to the value chain. By taking place earlier in the year Eurobike will be even more relevant and strengthen its position as the leading trade show for new trends and innovations," said Klaus Wellman, CEO of Messe Friedrichshafen.
Eurobike show director Stefan Reisinger said the industry has fragmented with various dealer events and house shows held throughout the summer, and it's not sustainable long term for all of the stakeholders — manufacturers, retailers and media. "By announcing the new 2018 dates now, we're giving the bicycle industry the chance to orientate itself, providing planning security and the required advance notice to readjust and regroup for the significantly earlier future Eurobike dates," Reisinger said.
"We are aware that this might prove a challenge for certain market players. However, we're creating the conditions for the industry to present itself in a more unified fashion at the Eurobike show in the future," he added.
Still, July dates pose challenges for organizers. Friedrichshafen has long struggled to provide enough rooms for attendees who often stay in hotels as far away as Switzerland and Austria and make the long commute each day to the show. With the move into mid-summer, lodging may become an even bigger problem as show attendees and exhibitors will compete with vacationers who flock to Lake Constance from all parts of Germany.
The move to earlier July dates comes not long after the conclusion of Eurobike's 25th show, which saw a decline in attendance for the first time in the show's long history, primarily of German dealers. Eurobike pointed to a declining market and a growing number of in-house dealer events for the drop in numbers. The show drew 42,720 trade visitors to Friedrichshafen, down from 45,870 last year. Consumer attendance was up, reaching 32,400 over two consumer days, compared to 2015's 20,730, when the show only offered one "festival" day.
In recent years, several bike brands have also left the show, opting to hold their own private dealer or distributor meetings in various countries. Also retailer associations including ZEG and BICO hold in-house shows as well.
Brands who were notably absent from Eurobike this year were Orbea, Pinarello and Derby Cycle, among others. In addition, several brands booked smaller booths and chose to display only a select number of bikes or products.
Still, the news was met with support from key players. The German bicycle retailer association VDZ (Verband des Deutschen Zweiradhandels) endorsed the move and asked the industry to support the change.
"There seems to be an unending flow of trade shows for retailers," the association said. "From July through September, retailers can literally spend the entire time travelling the length and breadth of Germany, visiting dozens of these in-house shows. Few retailers have the time — let alone the personnel — to do this during the season. The large number of in-house shows and Eurobike absentees is damaging the industry as a whole. This is why the VDZ is in favor of bringing together the industry at Eurobike."
Also endorsing the move was the German bicycle industry association ZIV (Zweirad Industrie Verband), which said most of its members welcome the changes. The association, though, acknowledged that while bike and e-bike manufacturers like the July dates for 2018, parts and accessories brands have "mixed feelings" about the changes.
Several companies commended Eurobike on the earlier dates and supported the move, saying they would continue to exhibit including BH Bikes, Bosch, Electra, FSA, Ghost, Paul Lange & Co., Scott Sports, Shimano Europe, SRAM, Stevens, and others.
"We strongly believe that it is necessary to bring the show forward to an earlier date. September is too late for our business timetable. New bikes and components are already available or have been covered by other events and media. As a result we miss out on the original nature of Eurobike, to present new product innovations. We are a big fan of the new changes and are only too happy to support them," said Claudio Marra, managing director of FSA.
For more on the changing trade show landscape, make sure to read BRAIN's November 1 edition, which will have special coverage on the future of the industry's trade shows.