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It was no secret that the 2021 PCA Convention & Trade Show was smaller in many ways, including the attendance numbers.

The Premium Cigar Association says that it printed 1,440 badges (-24.38 percent) for retail personnel, representing 583 retail accounts (-30.94 percent) and 1,550 storefronts (-23.15 percent.) Each of these numbers represents a significant drop compared to the organization’s most recent trade show in 2019.

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YearStoresBadges
20148271914
20157451896
20168772314
20177521920
20187782,054
20197712,085
20215831,440

While the most important attendance figures are the ones related to retailer attendance, the larger declines took place with the exhibitors, i.e. the manufacturers. The PCA says the number of companies exhibiting at the 2021 PCA Convention & Trade Show was 144 (-38.2 percent) and that 1,466 badges were printed for these attendees (-51.82 percent.)

 IPCPR 2019PCA 2021
Retail Accounts Represented771583
Retail Badges Printed2,0851,440
Number of Stores Represented2,0171,550
Number of Exhibitors233144
Number of Exhibitor Badges Printed3,0431,466
Total Number of Badges Printed5,4623,084

The total number of badges printed for this year’s trade show was 3,084 (-43.54 percent.) For context, that number is almost equal to the number of exhibitor badges alone that were printed in 2019.

These numbers all refer to the number of badges that the organization printed on-site. The PCA doesn’t scan badges, so the organization does not have statistics about how many retailers actually set foot inside the trade show for the entire show or individual days.

Perdomo was one of many companies that substantially reduced the size of its booth compared to the 2019 trade show.

This year’s trade show took place from July 9-13 in Las Vegas, the first since 2019. The trade show is the PCA’s major source of revenue with PCA officials that it—directly and indirectly—contributes approximately 90 percent of the revenues for the organization, which works on legislative efforts for the cigar industry, especially cigar retailers.

Despite the noticeable declines in attendance, the inverse seems to have taken place with the general mood of attendees at the show. Though it’s not a measurement anyone tracks, halfwheel and others noted a much happier mood at this year’s trade show, particularly compared to 2019.

While membership to PCA isn’t exclusively tied to attending the trade show, access to the trade show is clearly the largest selling point for being a member of PCA. As such, it’s likely that the organization’s active membership—which, on its website, PCA says represents “nearly 3,000 stores”—has likely decreased substantially.

Update — Added some clarification that the number of badges were the badges that were printed on-site.

NullDrew Estate is the official sponsor of halfwheel's coverage of the 2021 PCA Convention & Trade Show.

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Charlie Minato

I am an editor and co-founder of halfwheel.com/Rueda Media, LLC. I previously co-founded and published TheCigarFeed, one of the two predecessors of halfwheel. I handle the editing of our written content, the majority of the technical aspects of the site and work with the rest of our staff on content management, business development and more. I’ve lived in most corners of the country and now entering my second stint in Dallas, Texas. I enjoy boxing, headphones, the Le Mans 24-hour, wearing sweatshirts year-round and gyros. echte liebe.