iHobby Expo, the nation's largest trade and consumer show for the model hobby industry, returned to the Schaumburg Convention Center in suburban Chicago on October 2-5, 2014. On the consumer days of Friday afternoon, Saturday and Sunday 21,382 people packed the exhibition facility. This was the largest consumer turnout in the show's history.
The show featured exciting public attractions including a huge flying area for radio controlled planes and helicopters, a giant race track for radio controlled cars, a variety of highly detailed operating model railroads, a Thomas the Tank Engine riding train for kids, and an area where attendees could build their own models. The almost 300 booths of manufacturers, retailers, and distributors showcased the latest in hobby technology that makes model hobbies more fun than ever before.
On Thursday and Friday the show was open exclusively to members of the trade. The industry members saw new products revealed by exhibitors, participated in educational seminars, and held a variety of meetings. Participation by the trade members in the show was modest with 1,196 trade personnel from over 400 companies attending the show. This represented a decrease of 11% over the 2013 show held in at the same venue.
When asked about the results of the show, Chairman Randy Bachmann stated, "The show continues to be a stellar consumer event but the trade show component requires action to address the continuing erosion of industry participation. iHobby Expo's focus in the future will be on expanding the consumer show while maintaining a trade show component that will be right sized to provide an effective value proposition for industry members. Changes being evaluated include changing show locations annually to reach new consumer and trade members, changing the show date to a time of year more attractive to consumers, increasing the show exhibitor benefits for Hobby Manufacturers Association (HMA) members and reducing the cost and complexity of exhibiting. Details of the changes will be available later this year."
In addition to the other changes contemplated for iHobby Expo's future, the leadership will also be changing with David Swanson taking on the show's Chairman role. iHobby Expo is owned and sponsored by the Hobby Manufacturers Association, a non profit trade organization promoting the model and hobby industry. The 2014 show was managed by Hobby Show Promotions, an Illinois based show management company.