I’m still getting back into the swing of things after my first business trip to Asia, specifically to visit Taipei Cycle Show (March 17-19, 2010). I was very impressed by the hospitality and efficiency of the Taiwanese, and can clearly see why they have become such a major part of the bicycle industry.
And while I was there I felt like a celebrity – because the subject of Interbike came up a few times. As a matter of fact, the Interbike show was referenced specifically by Taiwan Bicycle Exporters Association (TBEA) Chairman Ying-Ming Yang who declared Taipei Cycle was set to take overtake Interbike as the world’s number two show (Link to release).
A few people have asked ‘is this true?’ or ‘how do you feel about that?’ so I wanted to take a few moments to examine this statement.
My first reaction is of course is to congratulate TAITRA and Mr. Yang on a well-run, dynamic show and for attracting record attendance. That is no small feat given the economic environment we are all facing. Looking through all of TAITRA’s releases and post show statements, I’m not sure which specific metric, other than pure booth and exhibitor numbers, Taipei is citing to make claims on its world ranking. A show’s size doesn’t necessarily dictate its ultimate power, importance and strength.
As Bicycle Retailer and Industry News stated in its show wrap-up coverage, it’s hard to judge which numbers a trade show is citing when it talks about growth – total attendance, retail, consumer, or buying power. All of these factors play into what determines a healthy and successful show for the industry and the markets it serves.
More to the point, both Taipei and Interbike are both unique parts of a very efficient global trade show cycle, which also includes Eurobike and many other shows, and are designed to serve the production, buying and selling needs of an entire planet. Very few markets can boast they have arrived at such an efficient model.
Interbike is the predominant show servicing the North and South American markets. While these economic centers have been hard hit by the recent downturn, they are emerging from this period stronger and the cycling markets stand to benefit as a result of increased economic activity. These markets represent significant potential for growth in the next five to ten years as more consumers look toward to cycling as a means to facilitate transportation, lifestyle and recreation. Interbike will continue to serve as the primary means to interact and influence these key buying sectors.
In the trade show season cycle, the Taipei Cycle Show is predominately a product managers and importers/distributors’ show. Bicycle product and purchase managers attend the show to see what’s new from Taiwanese component and frame manufacturers to make their spec’ing decisions for the next model year’s product lines. After they have nailed down their product lines the next step is for them to show their new products to retailers, and that’s where the next phase of the trade show season/buying cycle kicks in with Interbike, Eurobike and other national or regional shows.
The success of the 2010 Taipei Cycle means that bike exports are on the rise, which will ultimately benefit the North / South American market which Interbike serves. As many U.S. managers and I discussed, we hope a good deal of the 4.3 million units shipped from Taiwan for an average price point of $290.54 in 2009 (which is expected to grow by double digits in 2010) will ultimately translate to strong sales and margins on sales floors all across North and South America.
So once again, congratulations to TAITRA on an amazing Taipei Cycle. We should all be excited that the first trade show leg of 2010 was a huge success, because that momentum should carry over to the industry as a whole. Regardless of the trade show, the goal is to provide the best show experience and the best business opportunity for exhibitors, retailers, bicycle advocates and the media. At the end of the day Interbike, big, small or somewhere in between, will provide a unique and powerful buying opportunity for the markets it serves.
Andy Tompkins is the VP/Show director of Interbike.