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Jul 20, 2014
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Industry go-to fair OutDoor reports steady attendance stats

Jul 20, 2014

OutDoor is no longer upping its game in the number of show attendees. The European outdoor sports trade fair, which took place July 10 to 13, officially welcomed 21,912 buyers compared to 21,465 in 2013 and 21,730 in 2012. Compared to last year, the number of countries increased from 93 to 97. But the Lake Constance trade fair is definitely still on its game and at a very high level, almost unbeatable.

The trade fair hosted 925 exhibitors

"This is a good show and it always has been," said Christian Baumgärtner from Meindl. "Attendance is good. OutDoor remains the key event in the industry. In my area, there were few or no Spanish buyers. There were a lot of French, Belgian, Swiss or Dutch," said Frédéric Mouyade from Patagonia Europe. But actually, German seemed to be the language mostly heard in the aisles, probably due to the longtime problem of the show's location, no easy access and the show dates. "This is pretty far for our customers. Maybe twenty French retailers came. We saw the usual large accounts and many e-tailers," said Pierre-Jean Touchard, general manager of France Salewa.

Still, the years of strong growth for the sector are a thing of the past. The European Outdoor Group published its study on the state of the sector, which showed the outdoor sector grew by 2.8% in volume and 3.1% in value for 2013 compared to 2012, a weaker increase than in past years. “This is a very competitive market. We had ten wonderful years. But two years ago, the situation became more complicated. On the one hand, at least for Germany, outdoor jackets are no longer the trend. Suddenly outdoor became re-outdoor and less about lifestyle. And most important is the fact that the entry level brands do not make our work easier," said Michael Austermühle, Germany country manager for The North Face. All brands can pretty much boast a high technical expertise, so they have to focus on marketing and fashion to stand out from the pack. Some are even expanding their sports portfolios to include activities like fishing or yoga. For the spring-summer collections, lightness, durability and ecology are the watchwords.

Fashion show with sports apparel from Scott

But show organizers Messe Friedrichshafen and the European Outdoor Group point to a survey of attendees in which 46% say that the sporting sector is in a growth phase and 38% say the market is steady. 84% of attendees already indicated they would come back for OutDoor 2015.

The show's round-up press release said that next year’s dates are more consistent with show’s efforts to remain a professional trade event, starting on a Wednesday, July 15, rather than Thursday and finishing on Saturday, July 18.

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