Rains dampen attendance but not enthusiasm at San Mateo motorcycle show

Cruiser, streetbike and touring enthusiasts came out in droves for last weekend’s Progressive International Motorcycle Show in San Mateo, Calif. But all of the new features at the Bay Area expo couldn’t overcome Mother Nature’s wrath, pushing overall attendance down slightly from last year.

A cold front accompanied by strong winds and driving rain kept attendance below 30,000 for the Friday, Saturday and Sunday show, affecting the outdoor stunt shows and demo rides.

Nevertheless, the numbers were solid from the enthusiasts that battled the elements to make it to the show, according to Advanstar Communications, parent of the shows (and Dealernews). According to research conducted onsite, attendees spent an average of 3.6 hours on the show floor, which is a whopping 63 percent increase over last year’s tour-wide average of 2.2 hours.

“We invested heavily in more entertainment features to keep our attendees on the show floor longer and improve their show experience,” said Jim Moore, national sales director.

The San Mateo show also hosted SupermotoUSA racing all day Saturday and Sunday.

Because the average attendee stayed much longer on the show floor this year, the amount consumers spent at the show went up dramatically: an average of $199 per person, compared to $119 in 2009 – a 67 percent increase.

More numbers:

  • 18 percent of customers attended the San Mateo show based on a recommendation from family or friends, compared to 13 percent in 2009.
  • Customers brought more peeps: the average number of people in a group grew to 2.5, a 19 percent increase from the 2.1 people per group last year.
  • 21 percent of customers were attending the show for the first time.
  • Women represented 26 percent of the San Mateo attendees, an increase of 35 percent from last year's female tally.
  • 85 percent of attendees purchased something at the show, up from 69 percent last year.
  • 52 percent purchased apparel and/or helmets, up from 35 percent last year.

Over 60 percent of enthusiasts last weekend told researchers that they believed the San Mateo show was better than the 2009 event, applauding such new features as the Ultimate Builder Custom Bike Show, the Elena Meyers meet-and-greet, and Moto Flix. Elena Meyers is the first female motorcycle racer to win an AMA Pro Racing event.

The Progressive International Motorcycle Show tour takes a break for the Thanksgiving holiday, and will resume Dec. 10-12 at the Qwest Field Event Center in Seattle.

Posted by Mary Slepicka