Claudia Vianino provides a report on the premier Italian show in part 1 of a 2 part story.
Words by Claudia Vianino
CosmoBike Show, the most important Italian cycling fair, took place from 16 to 19 September in Verona (Nord-East Italy). Is this really the new point of reference for the Italian market? Can it become a true competitor to its neighbour, the Eurobike Show? What trends emerged during the exhibition?
To answer these questions we interviewed some exponents of the Italian cycling market and Paolo Coin, Project Manager of the event. (This can be seen in Part 2) “An important result for the world of Italian cycling which, thanks to an increase in cycling as a sport passion, is now experiencing a period of decisive growth. This finds evidence by the many industry operators and the numbers of an event, which every year becomes more and more of great interest in terms of exhibitions and presence.”
These are the words of the president of Veronafiere, Maurizio Danese, at the opening ceremony of CosmoBike Show. Rio 2016
Olympic champion Elia Viviani performed the ribbon cutting. The event, which calls itself “the most important Italian bicycle show and the second in Europe”, is now in its second edition. CosmoBike arrived to this goal after beating, in a long and controversial war the ExpoBici show of Padua, hitherto undisputed queen of all Italian events dedicated to the two wheels. Polemics left aside, after a quiet start last year, CosmoBike 2016 has proven to have what it takes to become the privileged meeting of the Italian bike lovers. At least from the consumer point of view, by looking at the final numbers: 60000 visitors, a 20% increase over last year, 35,000 square meters of exhibition, divided into three pavilions and three outdoor areas, nearly 500 brands listed in the official catalog, representing over 23 countries worldwide. For the record, many exhibitors were distributors of different brands (hence the impressive number of names in the list). CosmoBike proved to be a success press wise too, with over 300 journalists attending the exhibition, compared to the 100 in 2015.
© Foto ENNEVI
Nonetheless, the exhibition ground this year was slightly modified and reduced, in terms of total area (about 5000 square meters less) while the outside area was increased, (about + 20%) and reserved to demonstrations, games, live shows and trials, with specific tracks deserved to testing the latest mountain bike models or the road bikes and the e-bikes. Mobility, sustainability, cycling as a sport but also, tourism, leisure and technological innovation where the themes of the four exhibition days.
© Claudia Vianino
A huge public success
The event registered a huge consumer presence. We saw it with our eyes, right from day one: lined up in a long but orderly single file, in the large square in front of the entrance gates, consumers were waiting for the show to open its doors; and during the weekend, walking in the halls was almost impossible, so much the crowd! With such a tangible success, what do the Italian trade operators think about this show? Well, here is the real question. While the consumer, in his/her heart, has made a clear choice, the Italian operators are still seized by a thousand doubts. And this, despite the efforts the organization did to create an event worthy of note: 40 side events, the CosmoBike Award, which rewards industry excellences, the enhancement of the bicycle as a means of sustainable transport, thanks to “CosmoBike Tourism”, a space dedicated to cycling areas, or the “CosmoBike Mobility”, an event dedicated to urban mobility. Plus, this year, thanks to a partnership with ICE (the Italian Trade Agency) CosmoBike brought to the fair over 40 top buyers from 18 countries. A large group of manufacturers and brands from Taiwan was also present. As a matter of fact, CosmoBike Show signed a Barter Agreement with the Taipei Show, an agreement that leads Italy in the forefront among the countries of the cycling sector.
In short, the organization really created and presented a rich project. Unfortunately, the industry response was not the one hoped for. While the show was chosen by leading brands, which were not exhibiting at this year’s Eurobike such as Vittoria (tires), Focus or Olympia, other international brands deserted the appointment, even denying the presence of their local distributor. Some names? BMC, Giant, Merida, Specialized, Trek, Cannondale, Scott but also Pinarello, Bianchi or Cinelli. For the greatest disappointment of the larger specialized audience.
To be or not to be or I … don’t know.
Three factions formed, during the past months, obviously divided into Pro, Cons, and “I don’t know what to do”. In the first group are the exhibitors who gave their trust to the event since its first edition. Among them is the Olympia Group which incorporates Scapin, Olympia and Frera. The brand is, after Bianchi, the longest-serving Italian bicycle brand (founded 1893). Marginally known in Europe, Olympia is a real power in Italy, with an extensive network of shops covering the entire Italian territory. “For us the show was a great success; we are supporting CosmoBike in full and since the first edition. We decided to exhibit at CosmoBike because we respect the Italian consumer – Vittorio Fontana explained. He is the co-owner of the group, together with his cousin Paolo – cycling enthusiasts only have this opportunity to have a look to the new models and make their purchasing choices, by counting on a broad overview of brands and options. In addition, the fair remains the best opportunity to meet our dealers. ”
Big Group-set manufacturers were also present: Shimano, SRAM, Campagnolo attended the CosmoBike event, with large booths. “This year for us, will be the last one at Eurobike – Claudio Marra, VP at Full Speed Ahead, told us – Next year we will be attending the show with our distributor alone. For us, it is more important to be present locally: Unibike, Interbike, CosmoBike. We want to be close to the final consumer.”
The “I don’t Know” Group includes some components, accessories or apparel brands that are staying on the edge to see how the future of the show develops. In the group of the Cons we find many big bike brands. They didn’t attend the show in favor of their own corporate events or In-House Shows. This is the case of Specialized or Pinarello. The latter, in February 2016 issued a press release officially stating that the brand would not take part in the Eurobike Show. All those who wanted to see the new bikes were invited to attend the Pinarello Cycling Marathon (La Pina), where the Pinarello Expo is open to everyone. The Treviso brand also organizes some Test Rides in the various countries where a local distributor is present.
Many large Italian distributors where also absent from the show, such as D.S.B or Bernardi or Charlie or LARM. This last, representing CamelBak, Giro, Bell, Rotor, Diadora, Felt, Lezyne, Time, Ridley to name a few, is perhaps the oldest among the Italian ones and decided not to attend, again, in favour of internally organized sales meeting.
Part 2 concentrates on an interview with Paolo Coin.