The Interbike International Bicycle Expo is the largest bicycle industry trade show in North America and is held annually in Las Vegas, Nevada. Exhibitors consist of companies interested in selling their products and services to bicycle retailers, wholesale distributors and manufacturers. Because of the many new cycling products and technologies that are launched each year to much fanfare at Interbike, the show is also an important media event for the bicycle industry.
Interbike was founded by Steve Ready and Herb Wettenkamp and was first held in Las Vegas in 1982. It has since been held in various years in Reno, Anaheim and Philadelphia. Outgrowing the other locations, Interbike moved to Las Vegas in the mid 1990s. Since its founding, Interbike was sold to Miller-Freeman which was then purchased by its current owner, VNU, which was renamed The Nielsen Company in January 2007. Interbike is a part of Nielsen Business Media's Retail Group with offices in San Juan Capistrano, California. NBM's Retail Group also produces the OutDoor Retailer, Action Sports Retailer (ASR), Health+Fitness Business Expo, and Fly Fishing Retailer trade shows.
When it was created, Interbike's timing was unique among the multiple industry trade shows in existence at the time. The Fall, as opposed to the typical late winter/early Spring, timing allowed manufacturers to better forecast and plan manufacturing for Spring shipping in time for the seasonal business of most retailers.
Interbike is currently a five-day event with the first two days being the Interbike OutDoor Demo at Bootleg Canyon Mountain Bike Park in Boulder City, Nevada, and the final three days indoors at the Sands Convention Center. The OutDoor Demo is unique among the industry's trade shows in that it provides an opportunity for retailers and members of the media to ride and demo the products that they will be seeing and talking about on the show floor. Due to the success of the OutDoor Demo concept, Interbike launched OutDoor Demo East in Providence, Rhode Island in October 2008 to better serve the needs of the northeastern United States bicycle market.
According to Interbike, the show recently has averaged about 730 exhibiting companies and between 18,000 - 23,000 total attendees, depending on the year. The show covers a total of over 300,000 net square feet (28,800 Sq. meters) of exhibit space in the Sands Convention Center's 660,000 square feet (61,316 Sq. meters) of floor space.
Analysis of 2009 Interbike attendance:
Despite the fact that with over 22,500 visitors total attendance was slightly down on last years number due to fewer exhibitor personnel; the number of stores that visited the Las Vegas bike show was up. According to the show organizers the total number of stores increased to just over 4,000. They noted that more shops from outside the bike industry (i.e. outdoor, adventure travel, performance apparel and winter sports stores) visited Interbike looking for products outside their categories.
Further, the organizers tallied that the total number of buyers were up to just over 11,300 which was mainly caused by the increase in the number of attending shops. International buyers increased to more than 1,300 representing 64 countries. Top 10 countries represented were Canada, Taiwan, Mexico, China, Australia, Japan, Italy, UK, Germany and Columbia .
There have been some concerns voiced in the industry about whether it is appropriate for the industry's main annual gathering to be held in Las Vegas, a city commonly believed to be unfriendly to the values of an industry centered around such a healthy and fitness-oriented activity. There have also been questions as to the friendliness of the city towards cyclists - especially given the show's proximity to the Las Vegas Strip. Interbike show management have insisted that, given the current size of the show, the convention-friendly infrastructure of Las Vegas and a variety of other logistical factors, there are few alternatives that would serve the industry as well.
Starting in 2005 with Trek and Specialized, the several of the largest bicycle brands in the US market began to scale back or eliminate their presence at Interbike. This was due to their ability to host exclusive in-house events for dealers and media to see new products. However, the growth of the Outdoor Demo has brought them back for that portion of Interbike. In 2009, Trek, Specialized, Giant, and Cannondale each had a significant presence at the Outdoor Demo. Trek and Giant did not exhibit at the indoor show, while Specialized and Cannondale each had a small presence. However, the trend expanded to include mid-size brands that do not host in-house dealer events. Felt attended the Outdoor Demo but did not exhibit at the indoor show; Cervélo did not participate in either portion of Interbike.