SAN JUAN CAPISTRANO, CA (BRAIN)—Show organizers are researching the possibility of co-locating the Health and Fitness Business Expo (HFB) at the Sands Convention Center during Interbike.
HFB’s parent company Nielsen Business Media, which also puts on Interbike, Action Sports Retailer and Outdoor Retailer, saw a sharp decline in both attendance and exhibitors at last August’s show, prompting organizers to consider a change to the show’s date and location.
“We drew about 200 shops to the show,” said show director Andy Tompkins, down from 335 shops in 2008. “There used to be approximately 1,500 specialty businesses in this industry not too long ago, but the base is shrinking and when the specialty retailer numbers fall, the industry show reflects that.”
Tompkins, who also heads up ASR and Interbike, said HFB has seen a downward trend in retail participation over the last five years—from 519 shops in 2005 to the couple hundred that attended this year—something he attributes to market consolidation and a steady decrease in the number of specialty stores serving that market.
Furthermore, the option to move the show to late September alongside Interbike was the most favored among health and fitness manufacturers Nielsen polled in November, Tompkins said. Other alternatives included creating a stand-alone hotel-based show or co-locating with Outdoor Retailer.
“We want to serve that market so we’re trying to find a logical solution with a viable future that provides the exhibitors with more value,” Tompkins said. “This is a good alternative for the health and fitness community to still have a show and a place to meet as an industry.”
Though the September timeframe is somewhat late for most new product introductions for fitness manufacturers, HFB should still attract a larger number of retailers due to crossover between the cycling and fitness markets, Tompkins said.
“We drew about 4,200 unique buying businesses to Interbike in 2009 and about 1,200 indicated that they sell fitness products,” Tompkins said. “That’s why we think there’s some synergy here.”
Tompkins said HFB will remain a separate, stand-alone show even if housed at the Sands and likely won’t occupy the same show floor as Interbike. In addition, Nielsen plans to continue to offer educational seminars specific to fitness retailers and possibly put on an after-hours event that would bring together members of the cycling and fitness industries.