After the dust settles: A recap with Stefan Reisinger on Eurobike 2018

Eurobike 2018 has taken place. And even though the trade show was moved to July and excluded the consumer’s day, it was still sold out. Now the dust has settled, Bicle thought it was a good time to reflect on this year’s edition with the best person to do that with: Mister Eurobike Stefan Reisinger, Eurobike Division Manager.

How do you look back on this year’s edition, in general?

 ‘’In general it was very positive. It was a good show, of course a little bit unusual not having the end consumers at the show for the first time. We were satisfied, but we also recognized that in the industry there is a strong voice, which prefers to have the show on a later stage of the year. That is also why we decided to move the dates back to September.’’

Why is there such a strong voice coming from the industry? And why are they not satisfied with the beginning of July?

‘’I think the main reason is that the bike industry is very fragmented. We have a lot different product categories – also with different selling cycles/seasons – with different sourcing and needs as to when the products are ready to show to the public. It is a very international show, so we do not only have to look at what’s going on here in the German market, we also have to watch to what is going on at an European level and a global level. So, there are very different kinds of streams of needs. There are brands and parts of the industry who prefer to have the show early in the year, but there is also a strong voice of big players who prefer to have the show late in the year. That is something which we cannot combine. Hence, we chose for the late version for next year.’’

I was wondering why you excluded the consumer’s day.

‘’The only reason we excluded the consumer’s day this year was because of the early timing of the show. There is still a valid argument: as soon as you show the consumers the new products for the next year to come, you kind of devaluate all the products that are in retail at the moment. So that’s the idea and reason to why we said that in the beginning of July it’s too early to inform the consumers about bicycles which are in store one season later. For dealers it would be very difficult to explain to consumers why they pay the full price for products that are still in store. We are, though, really happy that with moving the show back to September we can include the consumer’s day again. It was always something we did with great pleasure, it was really part of the show.’’

When you compare this year to last year, were there any significant differences. Both edition we’re sold out, right?

‘’It was, as well as last year’s edition, but the whole market is changing so much. We see a drastic change from the regular bike to the e-bike, to mobility. That makes, I think, a big difference compared to the past. We also see that the whole world is changing. We see that online and internet – the complete digitalization – is of course driving the bike market and also the mobility market. We see that the trade between countries is influencing the bike market. For instance the bikes imported from China on which the European Commission is putting tariffs. All these things are of course part of the overall market dynamics. They also play – each in their own way – a role in what’s going on here in the trade show business.’’

It is so much bigger than you would actually think. But let’s move back to Eurobike’s last edition. What to you was an absolute success?

‘’I think the fact that we managed this edition so successfully, although it was very early in the season. Not only for the industry, but also for us as organizer. Last year, between Eurobike 2017 and 2018 were only ten months. So it was a lot of pressure, not only for the industry, for us as well. The fact that the show went that well, in terms of organization and attendance, was of course positive.

My personal high-light is that we managed to really for the first time make a big attempt in targeting the e-mobility market of the future, which was more or less displayed in hall A-1. I think that is really what the future of the industry look like.’’

Does that mean that you will expend on e-mobility?

‘’Yes, definitely. This was just the first step. I think there is much more to come in the future.’’

We also see Taipei Cycle is making changes. They do it toward IoT, Eurobike focusses on e-mobility. Is it also conceivable that Uber, for instance, are partaking to Eurobike in the near future? How would you imagine that?

‘’Yes, I think so. When these big players in the mobility industry - which are real game changers in how we move around in the future - are developing different models, then these could be really interesting for us to display them and have them on our show. They also might have interest to show there service and privilege here on a platform as Eurobike. Eventually, it might even become EuroMobility, but that is one or two steps to far into the future.’’

From a personal point of view, how do you see the future of mobility? What kind of changes do you expect for the future? What are the big changers?

‘’For sure, digitalization. All the technological developments concerning batteries and drive trains, for example. There is a lot to expect for the future and now it’s still kind of a young discipline, the e-bike, and I think there are really big steps ahead. Even the automotive industry is merging into the bike industry and you already see vehicles somewhere in between a car and a bike. This is becoming a new category. But also with companies as Uber and Deutsche Bahn, who are about to change and offer new services by bringing people by bike for the last mile. There are a lot of developments going on right now and they are all interesting for us as a tradeshow.’’

How big is the percentage of e-bikes at Eurobike and how do you expect it to grow?

‘’I think roughly 50%. So there are very few companies that are only doing conventional bikes. Some are of course leading the trend, some are late adopters, but nearly every player in the industry is active in that segment or e-mobility.’’

Do you think that eventually the e-bike will replace the conventional one?

‘’That is a topic which is much discussed in the industry. Personally, I think it will not replace the conventional bike, but I think it will be in the future the bigger market in terms of turnover per unit. When looking at Eurobike. We could make a more distinction between conventional and e-bikes, but that strongly depends on how products will develop. Right now, the biggest portion of bikes and e-bikes are sold through bicycle dealers. As long as this distribution model is stable, I think it makes sense that we offer the whole range in one show. But if that should change in the future, we have to think about how to react to that. I think it is very positive that the major share in the German speaking marked it sold through specialized bicycle retailers.’’

So, ecommerce is a big disruptor. That brings it to the last question: how does that effect a tradeshow like Eurobike?

‘’Of course, online sales might be a big disruptor. We can see it in other industries. But right now in the bicycle business we still have the comfortable situation that the high priced bikes and e-bikes are still sold through the traditional brick and mortar retailers. That is good and it has been even growing over the last years. For me it’s a clear signal that the end consumer really needs the advice and service of a dealer. And I think it’s a big opportunity for the dealer. On the other hand you can see and hear that more special categories are more and more sold online. Parts, for example, apparel, and high end road bikes. In these categories we can already see that shift towards online. But the biggest part of the cake of e-mobility is stil sold through brick and mortar retailers.’’