COLOGNE, Germany (BRAIN)—A slimmed-down IFMA opened Thursday to steady but not spectacular traffic as exhibitors from 35 countries showed their products to German retailers and the German media.
Organizers combined most of the show’s 658 exhibitors into two halls, with a third reserved for some Chinese exhibitors and several test tracks and exhibition areas.
“We received very good feedback on that, especially from the parts and components manufacturers,” IFMA project manager Tim Endres said. Those exhibitors welcomed the increased traffic that sprang from their proximity to the complete bicycle exhibitors.
Endres said attendance figures would not be released until the four-day show ends Sunday. The weekend is expected to be especially busy with public visitors.
Some exhibitors raised the usual concerns about whether IFMA is necessary given the growing strength of its rival, Eurobike, which kicked off the show season two weeks ago.
Humpert, a German components maker, reduced the size of its booth at IFMA by 40 percent and will likely shrink it again next year, managing director Willi Humpert said.
Attending Eurobike and IFMA each cost about $50,000 euros ($69,310). “It’s crazy” for a small company like Humpert, he said.
But for Ordeon, a startup company that makes innovative bicycle locks, IFMA is important because it was not able to get into Eurobike. Eurobike, stretched for space, has a long waiting list.
“This is the first show with all of our finished products,” said Olivier Fernandez, a marketing assistant for Ordeon. The company makes locks that are integrated into headsets, quick release hubs and seatposts.
IFMA focuses on urban, trekking and “everyday” bikes.
Gunnar Fehlau, who does public relations for several companies, noted that IFMA generates good publicity because Cologne is the capital of Germany’s media industry. IFMA attracts dozens of print and broadcast reporters every year.
IFMA’s Endres quashed one rumor that made exhibitors nervous—that next year they would have only one week, instead of the usual two weeks, between Eurobike and IFMA. That would have made it difficult or impossible for many exhibitors to move their booths from Friedrichshafen to Cologne between shows.
Eurobike will start Sept. 4 instead of in August to maintain its tradition of running on the first weekend of September.
However, Endres said exhibitors don’t need to worry. Next year’s IFMA will run from Sept. 18-21. “We wanted to stay with the two weeks between Eurobike and IFMA,” he said. –Doug McClellan