Over half of the companies surveyed by halfwheel have indicated they do not have faith in the leadership of the IPCPR/PCA to operate and grow the trade show. The same number, roughly 59 percent, described their thoughts on CigarCon—the planned consumer day at the 2020 trade show—as negative.

For more information about the rebrand from IPCPR to PCA and CigarCon, click here.

At the 2019 IPCPR Convention & Trade Show we surveyed exhibitors. This was done randomly—sometimes we forgot to pass out a survey or collect one—but we got responses from 34 companies. For context, we will likely write about 150 companies at the trade show. Each company was asked to anonymously answer the following nine questions regarding the planned CigarCon as well as the rebranding of the IPCPR to the PCA.

1. What is the annual revenue of your company?

  • 15 (out of 34) — Under $5 million
  • 8 — $5-10 million
  • 7 — Over $10 million
  • 4 — No reply

2. Do you think the rebrand was necessary?

  • 10 — Yes
  • 21 — No
  • 3 — No reply

3. Do you like the IPCPR’s rebranding from IPCPR to PCA?

  • 21 — Yes
  • 10 — No
  • 3 — No Reply

4. How would you describe your thoughts on a consumer day (CigarCon) as described by IPCPR/PCA?

  • 11 — Positive
  • 20 — Negative
  • 3 — No Reply

5. How does the addition of the consumer day (CigarCon) affect your plans for the 2020 trade show?

  • 7 — Increases the chances my company will attend
  • 13 — Decreases the chances my company will attend
  • 2 — Explicitly wrote-in that it would not affect it
  • 12 — No Reply

6. Please rank from (1-4) the most important concerns for your company regarding the 2020 trade show?

Cost of Exhibiting

  • 15 — #1 Priority
  • 5 — #2 Priority
  • 5 — #3 Priority
  • 1 — #4 Priority

Consumer Day

  • 3 — #1 Priority
  • 4 — #2 Priority
  • 5 — #3 Priority
  • 12 — #4 Priority

Number of Retailers

  • 11 — #1 Priority
  • 7 — #2 Priority
  • 6 — #3 Priority
  • 3 — #4 Priority

Time of Year

  • 2 — #1 Priority
  • 6 — #2 Priority
  • 6 — #3 Priority
  • 8 — #4 Priority

7. Will your company exhibit at PCA 2020?

  • 11 — Yes, booth confirmed
  • 17 — Yes, planning on attending
  • 5 — Maybe
  • 0 — No
  • 1 — No reply

8. Will your company exhibit at TPE 2020?

  • 11 — Yes, booth confirmed
  • 7 — Yes, planning on attending
  • 13 — Maybe
  • 3 — No

9. Do you have confidence in the IPCPR’s executive leadership to operate and grow the trade show going forward?

  • 12 — Yes
  • 20 — No
  • 2 — No Reply

I’m not a statistician, but I think it’s worth pointing out a handful of things:

  • This is a Big Enough Sample Size — We didn’t design a study but we did collect responses from a diverse group of companies, by annual revenue, and outside of three people not collecting responses from people we visited on day four for some reason, the results were collected randomly. It’s a survey, so I imagine if we interviewed all 151 companies the results would be slightly different, but math tells probably not by much.
  • The IPCPR has a Glaring Issue With Large Companies — Six of the seven companies that indicated they generated at least $10 million in annual sales said they did not have confidence in the IPCPR’s executive leadership going forward. The seventh wrote, “no comment.” In my conversations with companies over the last month, none of the larger ones seem at all pleased with IPCPR leadership. Furthermore, as I mentioned a few weeks ago, some of the largest companies in the industry were declining to purchase booth space for 2020 prior to the 2019 show as a way to voice their displeasure and force change.
  • The Point of the Survey Was… — It wasn’t to see if people hate consumer day. Rather, I wanted to see if the conversations I was having with companies following the PCA/CigarCon announcement was indicative of the industry as a whole. The results are not great, although probably not as bad as a Facebook comments section would suggest, but a 58.8 percent disapproval rate amongst exhibitors is a problem.
  • TPE Doesn’t Seem to Be An Alternative to IPCPR — No company said they weren’t going to IPCPR/PCA 2020, though one declined to answer that question and five said maybe. By contrast, 18 companies said they would exhibit at Tobacco Plus Expo 2020 (TPE) and 13 more said maybe. There are many reasons why TPE won’t unseat IPCPR/PCA—at least not in TPE’s current form—but the enthusiasm for TPE isn’t consistently as high as some would like to believe.
  • But Those Going to TPE Aren’t Happy With IPCPR — 12 out of the 18 companies that said they were exhibiting at TPE 2020 then replied no to the question about having confidence in the IPCPR executive leadership going forward. Two declined to answer the last question.

A majority of exhibitors, i.e. manufacturers, are not happy with both IPCPR leadership and CigarCon. Those two things are related, though I would imagine that even without CigarCon on the horizon, there would still be many who would answer “no” to question number nine. I’ll have more thoughts on CigarCon specifically, but I also think it’s worth looking at question 3—the one about whether people liked the rebrand. As it turns out, the exhibitors like the rebranding to PCA at basically the same level they don’t like CigarCon. In so many different ways, that’s a massive problem.

Overall Score

Davidoff is the official sponsor of halfwheel's coverage of the 2019 IPCPR Convention & Trade Show.
Avatar photo

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.