Today, the four largest cigar companies in America announced that they will not be attending the PCA (formerly IPCPR) trade show this year. Altadis U.S.A., General Cigar, Davidoff of Geneva USA, and Drew Estate each released separate press releases as well as a joint press release. Each cites different reasons for the withdrawl, but the general consensus is that they are unhappy with the declining attendance, lack of cooperation with members to make changes to the organization, and rising costs.
Each company said that they came to this conclusion independently, but there was clearly a coordinated effort on the announcement, showing strength in numbers. The linchpin for this action new seems to have been the general unrest around last year’s poorly executed announcement of Consumer Day, which has since been cancelled.
Here is an excerpt from the joint statement:
Over recent years, an increasing number of retailers and manufacturers have come to recognize an unfortunate set of facts:
- Our most important industry gathering – the PCA trade show – has been in decline.
- Attempts to discuss ways to reverse the downward trends in relevance, attendance, membership, and category growth have been met with silence.
- The cost of the event – which continues to rise – has consumed funds that could otherwise be used to defend our industry from regulatory and legislative attacks, which threaten the livelihood of each and every one of us.
After six months of repeated outreach to PCA, various efforts to discuss ways to enhance the structure, organization, and value of the show – for the benefit of retailers, manufacturers, distributors, and consumers – were unsuccessful. Absent significant improvements, the trade show will continue its downwards spiral. As “customers” of the trade show, it has become increasingly evident to each of us that we simply cannot continue to support and underwrite an event that is not satisfactorily responding to, or meeting, the needs of our industry.