"That was my fifth IFMA, and probably my last," said our industry exec, a marketing bod with a global P&A brand.
"Business-wise, only mass suppliers or giant companies move staff there. Most freak-branded suppliers don’t even consider coming. This show isn’t representative of the bike industry. It would be a good local show, but has no international dimension any more.
"If you withdrew the tourist offices of local cities and the Taiwanese/Chinese/Korean/Indian corners and local recumbent manufacturers, you had maybe one hall of interesting things.
"The major brands displayed in Friedrischafen and sent their local distributor to Köln. Several big German parts manufacturers kept their booth size the same(SKS and Sigma, for instance), but overall, floor space got reduced.
"The Köln-messe organisation had a hard time filling in the empty spaces. Never saw so many fake green plants and white sheets covering empty boxes.
"[Seeing buying groups] ZEG and Bico are the main reasons to come for German dealers, even though, I understood that some of their dealers now prefer to go to Eurobike as well.
"Attendance was poor…except Sunday when Köln-inhabitants decided to have a look at the local show. Everybody has a bicycle, so there must be something interesting to see in there. Almost no international visitors on Sunday for the consumer-day.
"I was surprised also to see that a lot of booths were closing down from Sunday morning on, trading their products to visitors for a few bucks. It was giving me the feeling of a giant supermarket, and it didn’t look too good."
Contradicting these negative comments, the PR folk from IFMA stress that visitor numbers were higher than expected.
There were 22 000 trade visitors, 2000 less than Eurobike, and a drop from last years total attendance. 4800 of the visitors 28 percent – were from overseas. On the public day, there were 25 000 visitors, record attendance for IFMA.
"Due to the current high density of international sector events, [we] had expected to attract less visitors," said Oliver Kuhrt, executive director of IFMA Koln.
"IFMA Cologne is and remains the sector’s most important order show. The decision-makers and key buyers are present,."