1. By most accounts, and most of the interviews I conducted with manufacturers, retailers who attended, and media who covered, the event was a great success. The energy was strong, and the value for having taken part was evident.
2. The fly tackle manufacturers who did not take part and exhibit at IFTD or ICAST were conspicuously absent.
3. While on the surface ICAST and IFTD appeared to coexist (or co-locate) harmoniously, there is still a lot that should be ironed out, e.g. the manufacturers with giant booths on the ICAST floor and dinky booths in IFTD, presumably to gain access to the “New Product Showcase.” At least the IFTD New Product Showcase, which is different from the ICAST one… you get the picture.
4. Most of the sales representatives I spoke with said they still had far fewer appointments with dealers than in years past. I don’t think the IFTD show will ever be the place it was for writing actual business, nor should it be expected to be so.
5. Timing of the event in July versus August or September is not helpful to many specialty shops. They can’t leave the store in the busy season, no matter where the show is.
6. The new product energy and buzz this year was stronger than it has been in recent years. There were fewer “haymaker” product launches, and more refinements of existing product, and or expansions of product lines. The value platforms for selling new product in 2014 will be strong.
7. The last three years at IFTD, I felt like I had seen everything I needed to see after a day and a half. This year with the ICAST/IFTD combination, I spent three days, and left feeling like I still had more to see.
8. The interest in fly from the conventional side manufacturers appeared stronger than it had before.
9. The value for media, having both shows co-located, was huge. I think IFTD, and its manufacturer/exhibitors, will benefit greatly from the halo effect of media that would have been at ICAST, but not IFTD had they remained separate.
10. Vegas actually worked. Orlando is on tap for next year. I think the momentum of the co-located shows will work, wherever the location is.
We’re now en route to the Outdoor Retailer Summer Market event in Salt Lake City, and are eager to see how that massive happening unfolds… especially the newly expanded fly-fishing area. Stay tuned for feedback.