IFMA was big. Milan was sexy. Interbike is offering free wi-fi access in all expo areas. But Eurobike is now the place to be seen.
The show has been growing in importance for some years and last year there was talk it could overtake Interbike in importance. BikeBiz.com has talked to many show jet-setters and even American ones are now saying Eurobike is the pre-eminent Fall show.
Press coverage of Eurobike has been extensive this year, with few exclusives left to launch at Interbike.
Eurobike still cannot rival Interbike’s Outdoor Demo and that is a weakness for a show that could stage excellent try-out sessions in mountains close by.
IFMA expands into new halls next year, a major fillip. But many international visitors who attended the IFMA just finished said it was now a German trade show, not an international show.
There certainly seemed to be less well-known international visitors than ever before (IFMA estimates there were 4800 international visitors).
Eurobike was packed with ’em, and Interbike will have plenty too.
Despite the German elections, IFMA succeeded at attracting the public this year, opening the doors to the great unwashed for two days instead of just one.
30 000 consumers attended over the two days. There were 20 000 trade visitors.
IFMA had 706 exhibitors from 37 countries.
Whereas Eurobike focussed on high-end road bikes and MTBs, IFMA was more about German-based trekking and city bike companies, a fact stressed a statement from IFMA:
"With its focus on the use of the bicycle in everyday life, on excursions and on active holidays, IFMA reflects the market perfectly….Around 80 per cent of the bicycles sold in Germany are city, trekking or all-terrain bikes."
However, the volume, utilitarian part of the market in Germany, as elsewhere in Europe, is nowhere near as buoyant as the top-end market.
Oliver P. Kuhrt, executive vice president of Koelnmesse, the city-owned convention centre, said:
"IFMA Cologne 2005 was the most attractive trade fair in the sector. It took place in the region of Europe with the highest population and the greatest purchasing power; its clear focus gave a boost to the sector overall; it was the leading business and order-placing platform but also exciting and appealing to end-consumers; and its importance in terms of cycling policy-making was unrivalled."
A conference on children and mobility was held in German language only.
The market for bikes in Germany is weak at the moment, partly because of a very poor summer (against the trend, Eurobike was bathed in sunshine).
Germany’s Bicycle Industry Association (ZIV) is forecasting a slight drop in turnover for 2005, topping out at 4.5 to 4.6 million units. According to Stefan Genth of the Association of the German Bicycle Trade (VDZ), the decline was the result of poor weather this summer and a generally weak consumer climate.
IFMA 2006 (14th to 17th September) will relocate to the new Northern Halls at the Cologne exhibition centre, which are 11 to 15 metres high, are pillar-free, and have natural lighting.
Kuhrt said "There is a great deal of enthusiasm for the new exhibition centre, and we’ve already had a large number of stand location requests for IFMA 2006.