SNEWS® Reader Poll: Results offer peek at upcoming show attendance trends

The SNEWS® Mini Survey that ended July 7, 2009, asked, “Which of the following summer/fall shows are you attending?” Perhaps most enlightening was that 14 percent choose the response ““Not planning to attend shows this year” and were in fact staying home for a variety of reasons – saving money, trade shows not serving their needs, etc.
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The SNEWS® Reader Poll that ended July 7, 2009, asked, “Which of the following summer/fall shows are you attending?”

You did not have to be a SNEWS subscriber to respond, but we only allowed one response per person. Not unexpectedly, Outdoor Retailer Summer Market garnered the strongest response (since a larger proportion of our readers are outdoor-oriented and the show is simply the larger) with 71 percent telling us they would be attending. What caught us a bit by surprise, but perhaps shouldn’t have with all the rumors swirling about the future of Health & Fitness Business (Click here to read our July 1, 2009, editorial.) is that more respondents told us they would be attending Interbike (23 percent) than attending Health & Fitness Business (21 percent). Certainly 2 percent could be called insignificant but it indicates to us that many bike dealers who also do fitness and who may in the past have done both shows may this year be opting to attend only one. Plus, there are also some outdoor/bike retailers who just won’t miss the gathering called Interbike.

Perhaps most enlightening was that 14 percent choose the response ““Not planning to attend shows this year” and were in fact staying home for a variety of reasons – saving money, trade shows not serving their needs, etc.

Fly Fishing Retailer nabbed 10 percent of the responses, followed by Club Industry at 8 percent and Action Sports Retailer at 4 percent.

Days at Outdoor Retailer?

We then asked survey respondents specifically about Outdoor Retailer attendance since it is a four-day show with a one-day pre-show demo for a total of five days: “If Outdoor Retailer, how many days will you attend?” We were entertained that more folks selected “0 Days” (19 percent) than selected the corresponding “not attending any” response, above – could it be some folks just wanted to make an extra point they would NOT be attending Outdoor Retailer?

Among those who reported they would attend Outdoor Retailer, 44 percent said they would be there four or more days. Most of those responding in this category appear to be reps and manufacturers, not surprisingly, since many of those are staffing booths. Those attending for three days came in at 11 percent, followed by 15 percent attending for two days, and 13 percent for only one day. Retailers made up the bulk of one- and two-day responses. Still, preliminary indications show a strong attendance.

For the record, most of the SNEWS team will be there all four-plus days, although one of our team members is going to the OutDoor show in Germany and, as a result, is missing Outdoor Retailer. The close proximity of dates IS hurting attendance at both shows in terms of U.S. / European executive attendance.

Write-in Comments

Among a myriad of comments posted to the survey, and also emailed off-line to SNEWS, three stood out, providing an overview of the varying sentiments on the trade show attendance topic.

“OR has become a useless show for outdoor specialty retailers. It is a show now postured to address the needs of big box retail, national retailers, mass market internet retailers, etc. The heart and soul of the outdoor industry is being driven out by big commercial interests. OR and OIA are merely front political/commercial interest groups representing the big commercial interests of those who posture themselves as involved in outdoor retailing, as well as the outdoors. Those who have existed on their passion for the outdoors are losing the battle to big box. O/R is a trade show that does not suit any specialty retailer's needs.”

“Trade shows are very valuable. Especially to small retailers who do not see sales reps.”

“OR Summer, NBS, EORA Shows as a company. Me, just OR thank you."

“Your article about the fitness show may be a prelude to a similar outdoor situation...”

>>Don’t miss our new survey question:

“What creative promotional efforts, if any, are you trying to drive customers into your store?”

To make your vote count, simply go to the SNEWS Reader Poll section in the right navigation bar of every web page in SNEWS or, click here.

To see all our past surveys and results, go to www.snewsnet.com/minisurvey or simply click here.

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