As we walk around the show floor at the 2017 IPCPR Convention & Trade Show, we all hear and see interesting things that may not fit a particular post here during show coverage. These are some of my thoughts after two days:
1. The Lack of California Retailers — If there is one thing that I have heard over and over again, it is about the lack of retailers from California attending the show. Of course, that is not overly surprising, as Proposition 56, a ballot measure which passed overwhelmingly in November that increased the state’s tax on cigarettes from 87 cents to $2.87 went into effect on July 1, meaning that any cigars purchased this month at the show would cost significantly more.
In fact, a number of manufacturers I talked to told me that they had record June sales, and that they had allowed retailers from California to purchase cigars with the show deals a month before the convention started.
2. Show Attendance Seems to Be Down — The above lack of retailers from California might be one of the main reasons that the show seems to be dead at times. In fact, there were times as I was walking around the show in the early afternoon when I could look down both sides of a (side) aisle and not see one single person on it other than me.
One retailer stated that you could judge attendance by the amount of smoke in the room, and if that is the case, then there are almost assuredly fewer people here, as the lack of smoke hanging in the air is quite noticeable.
3. But Sales Don’t Seem To Be — As I talk to manufacturers, most of them have gone out of their way to tell me that while they are seeing noticeably less people, total orders are on par—or in some cases, slightly above—their averages on a day by day basis.
4. Bigger Booths for Smaller Companies — Finally, there seems to be a real trend of smaller companies increasing the size of their booths this year compared to last year, in some cases significantly. I talked to at least 10 manufacturers who had increased their footprint by at least 25 percent, with two doubling their space.