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.
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 2019||PCA 2021|
|Retail Accounts Represented||771||583|
|Retail Badges Printed||2,085||1,440|
|Number of Stores Represented||2,017||1,550|
|Number of Exhibitors||233||144|
|Number of Exhibitor Badges Printed||3,043||1,466|
|Total Number of Badges Printed||5,462||3,084|
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.