Motorcycle Show attendance up in October, November

Publish Date: 
Jan 7, 2014
By Mary Green Slepicka

Strong vehicle buyer interest reported in San Mateo, Dallas, Atlanta.

SANTA MONICA, Calif. - Attendance figures for the Progressive International Motorcycle Shows held in October and November were up from last year’s totals, according to tallies issued by show management.

The Southern California (Long Beach) event in early December stayed about even with the December 2012 show there. Attendance at the New York show, which moved to mid-December from its traditional weekend in January, dropped by 19 percent and was likely caused by a big winter storm that prevented many from traveling to the Javits Center in Manhattan, show management said.

Events in Northern California, Dallas and in Atlanta sported increases, with Dallas attendance up 12 percent over the previous year and Atlanta showing a boost of 7 percent. The Northern California show in San Mateo, the first stop on the 2013-14 tour, reported a 3 percent increase in attendance.

According to exit surveys, more attendees in Northern California, Atlanta and Dallas plan to purchase a powersports vehicle within the next 12 months than those who were surveyed last year. An average of 45 percent of respondents at the first three events indicated that they planned on purchasing a powersports vehicle within the next 12 months. Broken down by venue, 47.2 percent in Northern California indicated a likelihood to buy (vs. 43 percent last year), 45.9 percent in Dallas (vs. 38 percent last year) and 42.6 percent (vs. 42 percent last year) in Atlanta.

“The overall mood of the shows has been very upbeat, with a lot of energy,” said Tracy Harris, senior vice president of Advanstar’s Powersports Group, which manages the shows (and is parent of Dealernews). “The new model launches [in 2013] have generated a lot of excitement and enthusiasm, and are contributing to attendees spending more time at the shows.”

Harris (see image, left) said that improved show floor layouts have helped foster onsite retail sales at the venues. “The shows feel like fun, and they are,” she noted.

The two December events – Dec. 6-8 in Long Beach, Calif., and Dec. 13-15 in New York City – remained the largest shows to date in this season’s tour, although a harsh winter storm on Dec. 14 diminished attendance for the New York event compared to previous years’ figures. 

The 2013-14 tour launched Oct. 25-27 in San Mateo, Calif., drawing 29,960 attendees, an increase of 3 percent over last year’s Bay Area show.

Attendees traveled an average of 30 miles to get to the San Mateo County Event Center, and once they were there they spent an average of 3.25 hours at the show, according to exit surveys.

Just over half (56 percent of surveyed attendees) said they made a purchase at the show, with $201 being the average spend per buyer. Primary items purchased were riding apparel (40 percent of respondents), casual apparel (22.4 percent), vehicle parts and accessories (20 percent), and helmets (11.4 percent).

The audience was primarily enthusiast-based, with 85 percent of surveyed attendees indicating they were licensed motorcyclists. Of those in the market, 65 percent said they reviewed new vehicles and talked with OEM representatives.

Attendance was up 12 percent at the Dallas IMS, held Nov. 8-10 at the Dallas Convention Center, with Mother Nature making it easy for many attendees to ride to the event.

Perhaps more important than the 24,283 total attendance was that 35 percent of those surveyed said they were attending the Progressive International Motorcycle Show for the first time. Another 19 percent of those surveyed said they were returning to the show after not attending for a few years.

Attendees spent an average of 3.25 hours onsite. Sixty percent said they made a purchase of $100 or more in products and services during the show. Primary items purchased were riding apparel (37 percent of respondents), casual apparel (35 percent), vehicle parts and accessories (12 percent) and helmets (7 percent).

Eighty-six percent of surveyed attendees said they were licensed motorcyclists. Nearly 70 percent of those surveyed said they reviewed new vehicle models and talked with OEM representatives during the show.

Atlanta, Long Beach and New York reports: continued on next page