After 36 years, the annual Interbike trade show has been cancelled for 2019, according to Bicycle Retailer and Industry News (BRAIN). The show organisers Emerald Expositions left open the possibility of a scaled-down show for 2020, but have laid off Interbike's show and sales directors.
Emerald Expositions executive vice president Darrell Denny told BRAIN that if the event returns it will be in a more affordable scale, a key conclusion from a survey of the industry this year.
"We are not going to bake the same cake again," Denny said. "It became pretty clear that the market has changed quite a bit. We need to look at how we can serve the market in a pretty different way. It will have to be pretty cost-efficient, with inexpensive travel. … As we got closer to the end of the year, we realised that companies needed to be able to budget for it, so we wanted to reach out before the end of the year," he said.
Denny blamed several factors for the show's demise, including the ongoing trade war with China under the current US administration, and the consolidation of the industry.
"There are about 4,000 retail stores now, and arguably about half of them are doing business predominantly with one commanding brand. ... That’s a pretty big factor," Denny told BRAIN. "The substantial increase in tariffs on bike-related imports during 2018, and announced for 2019, is compounding these challenges."
The Interbike organisers have tried to slow the decline, trying to shift dates in 2011 to August - a move that was met with enough resistance to scuttle the idea - and relocating from Las Vegas to Reno in 2018.
Compounding the show's difficulty, major bicycle manufacturers have in recent years opted to forgo Interbike to hold their own dealer events instead.
The loss of the trade show not only impacts the sales industry but the industry organisations that Interbike sponsored. Emerald supported PeopleForBikes, the Bicycle Product Suppliers Association and the National Bicycle Dealers Association.