Eurobike’s decision to host its annual trade show in late July 2019 has been met with a mixed reaction throughout the industry amid concerns that disruption may continue.
Traditionally held at the end of August, Eurobike switched to an early July start for 2018, and the ensuing controversy appears to be the cause of a second change – before the new date has even been trialled.
2019 will also welcome back consumers after they were removed from proceedings for this year’s event.
It looks like 2020 could see further significant changes, too: Eurobike admitted there is "currently no clear consensus among the industry regarding the question of the “right” date for the 2019 season, with preferences ranging from June to September".
Show head Stefan Reisinger explained: “In the future, we will continue to flexibly manage the date and concept for the Eurobike, so as to agilely respond to the needs of the marketplace."
Flexibility in the business world is generally regarded as a positive, but there’s a danger that repeated changes could disrupt exhibitor’s advance planning.
"Constantly changing dates could have a significant impact on new products the brands plan to launch (or not) at the show," said Mark Greshon, Extra UK head of brands.
"This, in turn, could have a knock-on effect on our planning; for both our financial year planning and also our brand and marketing planning. I haven’t heard any comments from our brands yet but I’m sure it will be a hot topic at the show.
"At face value, it doesn’t make a huge difference to Extra UK as we attend Eurobike mainly to meet with our current brands and also potential new ones. In theory, we can do this at any time of the year as long as the brands will be there. For us, it’s a good opportunity to meet them face to face, especially the ones from the US and Asia who we may only see a couple of times a year.
"It’s also been mentioned in the office that the new dates are right at the start of the school summer holidays which hasn’t gone down well!"
The dates for 2019 land on a Wednesday to Friday, replacing this year’s agenda of Sunday to Tuesday, which could prove to be another spanner in the works for the IBD.
Sandra Corcoran, Pennine Cycles owner, said: “Wednesday to Friday is not as good a fit as it is too many weekdays away from the shop in the middle of summer. I do feel having the same dates each year are better for planning.
“I’m sure it’s difficult to please everyone’s diary commitments and priorities. We chose to attend Interbike in September and it seems easier to travel to Las Vegas from Yorkshire than Friedrichshafen!”
Kim Madsen, sales lead at beryl.cc, was considerably more positive about the news: "We believe the change is a step in the right direction," she said. "As an exhibitor, it will give us more time to produce samples for the show – early-July is usually a critical point in the design and manufacturing process, and for a start-up like ourselves, time is always of the essence.
"As a consumer-facing brand, we welcome the idea of letting consumers attend. It gives us the opportunity to gauge reactions to our products first-hand and will give us a good understanding of how our products will resonate with the market when they launch in the Autumn."
Sadly, Eurobike is never going to please all parties, despite considerable attempts to do so. Organisers are increasing stuck between a rock and a hard place, and regardless of how widely respected the show has become, it’s difficult to envisage a simple solution presenting itself any time soon.