Hallo from Dortmund. A very warm Dortmund.
The world’s largest tobacco trade show kickoffs today in northwest Germany and for the seventh year in a row, I’ll be in attendance. Last night I was eating at Zum Alten Market in Dortmund, the first restaurant I ever went to in this city and thought about just how much has changed in the seven years I’ve been attending InterTabac.
I’ve covered InterTabac and the differences between it and the IPCPR Convention & Trade Show in much greater detail before, but the updated quick version goes something like this.
- It’s all tobacco products, but not only tobacco products — The IPCPR Convention & Trade Show focuses on cigars, pipes and the accessories for those products. Yes, there are occasionally other types of tobacco products there and companies selling walking sticks and massage chairs, but the vast majority of booths are about cigars or pipes. That’s not the case in Dortmund, which is a tobacco trade show. That means there will be cigarettes, smokeless tobacco, hookah, e-cigarettes and then InterSupply, which is all about the machinery involved with those products.
- It’s bigger and growing — InterTabac was already bigger in terms of attendance and space, and it’s only gotten bigger. Physically-speaking, this year InterTabac formally adds an arena to its space, which begs the question of what is physically left at the Westfalenhallen convention center.
- It’s a relationship show — The IPCPR Convention & Trade Show is a buying show with companies largely focused on the orders their sales reps take from retailers during the show. While there are retailers that attend InterTabac and place orders, cigar companies are mostly here for relationships, largely with international distributors.
- A lot of companies don’t have their own booths — Technically, we refer to them as “stands” here in Dortmund. But, whatever you want to call them, most companies are in the ones of their German distributor. I’d venture to guess that less than 30 percent of the established cigar companies that are here have their own stand. Most have a section, oftentimes a table or two, within their German distributors stand and conduct meetings from that space.
- There are not many new products — Unlike the IPCPR Convention & Trade Show, there won’t be a lot of new products, or at least in theory. That being said Davidoff, Fratello, Habanos S.A., J.C. Newman, La Aurora, Maya Selva and Oliva are all debuting new products, in some capacity, at InterTabac and there will be others.
A few more specific thoughts about the 2018 version of InterTabac.
1. It’s Really Hot in Dortmund — It was in the 80s yesterday, which isn’t unheard of, but also isn’t common. For context, it’s often been snowing around InterTabac.
2. InterTabac Keeps Getting Bigger — When I mentioned thinking about how big this show has gotten, it was all about space. My first year InterTabac officially had three halls, there are now nine, including the arena space. A lot of that growth has been in the e-cigarette space and with InterSupply, but the continued growth is astounding.
3. Westfalenhallen’s New Look — Last year the Westfalenhallen, the convention center that hosts InterTabac, was undergoing massive construction. I’m curious to see what the results of that look like.
4. InterTabac’s Marketing Push — This is the 40th anniversary of InterTabac, something I imagine we will hear about throughout the weekend. The company has gotten substantially more aggressive with promoting the event in a variety of ways. I can’t recall a prior year where I received even half as many emails from InterTabac promoting various parts of the events.
I will once again provide daily blogs from Dortmund. Unfortunately, there’s no soccer game this year, so it will be entirely about InterTabac, maybe.