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The FIBO Show has been around for a long time, and is arguably the most prominent trade show in the fitness industry. After years of successful shows in Germany, where the show attracts nearly 1,000 exhibitors and over 150,000 attendees, FIBO decided to add a U.S. edition to the show tour for the first time ever.

Risky? Yes. Daring? Yes. Opportunity to breach new markets? Most definitely yes. For this reason, FIBO USA went all out and hosted the show in the South Hall of the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, Florida, which is the second largest convention center in the entire country. While the show only took over one out of the four halls in the convention center, the large space still seemed a little unnecessary — There were only about 100 exhibitors and poor attendance. The low foot traffic was likely due to the fact that the FIBO’s largest audience (personal trainers, gyms, clubs, fitness professionals, enthusiasts and fitness consumers) were either unaware of the show or did not know about it in time to attend. In addition, U.S. manufacturers and fitness companies were apprehensive about exhibiting at the first year of the show, making it hard for FIBO USA to fill the show room floor.

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While the low foot traffic was somewhat expected, as this was the first FIBO USA Show, many believed that the “FIBO” name would carry enough weight in the U.S. to launch a successful event. However, to many attendees’ dismay, they ended up leaving, questioning if exhibiting was worth their time, effort and money. On the upside, though likely created by lack of attendance, many attendees did appreciate the quality networking time and the intimacy of the show. It also allowed us to spend some time with SFIA members, Technogym and ACE Fitness, and gain insight on the inaugural event from an exhibitor’s point of view.

Overall, the products on exhibit mainly consisted of traditional workout machines, like treadmills and workout machines, as well as many strength and recovery products. One of the newer, more innovative, product categories to make a presence on the show floor this year was body scanners, which allow people to retrieve personal data and analysis regarding weight, body fat, size measurements and so much more, all from their own home.

Another thing to note was the strong presence of European companies. This is likely due to the allegiance European companies have to FIBO after the many years of attending and participating in the show in Germany — they were eager to help launch FIBO USA. Of course, all things take time, and now that the first FIBO USA has made its mark, it’s return to the U.S. next year, in Miami, is likely to be even stronger.

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