5 Reasons for the PCA to postpone the annual tradeshow until early 2021. The PCA, formerly known as IPCPR, released a statement that the show is still on a few weeks ago. But there are enough reasons to postpone the show. And use the covid-19 pandemic to their advantage. It is the perfect opportunity to make a few changes that will eventually profit the trade show. With that, the whole cigar industry will profit.
Reason 1: Covid-19
The pandemic is not under control. It’s not even at its peak. The crisis hasn’t been converted and it will take more time. So it’s unwise to gather thousands of people in a convention center. Hosting a trade show under the current conditions is a very bad idea. Plus, there might still be travel restrictions. Restrictions on people coming in from Nicaragua, Honduras, Dominican Republic, and Costa Rica. But also restrictions for international accounts of the exhibitors. Or even restrictions for travel within the United States.
Reason 2: Factories not ready
The second reason also has to do with the Covid-19 pandemic. Factories in Honduras, Dominican Republic, and Nicaragua have been closed for weeks. And that during a crucial time, when new products that are supposed to be released are rolled. Add the fact that plenty of brand owners and blenders could not fly to the factories to check production and quality. This would end up in either a lot of bad samples or no samples of new products at all on the convention floor.
Reason 3: Financial situation
Retailers have taken a financial hit. In a lot of American states and a lot of international markets, tobacconists were forced to close. And if they were allowed to stay open, lounges had to be closed. Of course, that has financial consequences. Many retailers just don’t have the amount of money to spend that they usually do at the trade show. Some might even lack the funds to visit the trade show after being forced to close temporarily. They need time to recover from the blow.
Reason 4: TPE
In the last few years, a competitor has been gaining traction. The Tobacco Plus Tradeshow, TPE, has seen a steep increase in both exhibitors and visitors from the premium cigar industry. With 6 months in between the shows, and the issue of the date, it makes sense for a lot of retailers to visit that show instead of the PCA. With a date much closer to the TPE, retailers will have to choose. And the serious tobacconists, the ones that carry the cigar industry, will choose PCA as it is more geared to those specialist shops. So moving the show will hurt the competition
Reason 5: Wrong time of the year
The PCA is in the wrong time of the year anyway. Traditionally, the trade show always takes place in July. Last week even during the 4th of July weekend. For most retailers that is the busiest time of the year. So a lot of retailers can’t take a few days off, fly to Las Vegas and attend a trade show. The PCA should take this opportunity to move the trade show to February or March. That’s the right time to host a trade show. All the new products will come in right before the season starts. Retailers can have a flying start of the summer.
We understand that changing the date of the show from July to February of March sounds easier than it’s done. It requires a change in planning for the factories and brand owners. But by announcing the change now, factories can adjust production after the covid-19 crisis and work towards a first-quarter trade show. This is the problem that is the easiest to solve.
The second problem, and that’s a much bigger one, is the cash flow of the tobacconists. Many of them simply don’t have the buffer to purchase large orders that early of the year. But if there is no PCA show this July, and they know that there will be one early in 2021, they might be able to set aside some cash. And for the first two or three years, the bigger manufacturers that have meat on the bone could and should help out. By expending the terms in which invoices have to be paid by 14 extra days. That will give the tobacconists some room to breathe, and in the end, the whole industry will profit. After two years, everybody including the tobacconists should be adjusted to the new schedule. And in our opinion, the PCA will be stronger, tobacconists and brands will profit. So there is a way to turn the Covid-19 crisis into a positive change for the industry.
These are 5 reasons for the PCA to postpone the annual tradeshow until early 2021. The covid-19 crisis could be the catalyst that the PCA needs to improve the date of the tradeshow. And in the end, that will be good for the PCA, the retailers, the factories, the brands, and the consumers.