EOS: „The outdoor industry must reinvent itself every day“

We need your consent to enable the rating function!

This feature is only available when corresponding consent is given. Please read the details and accept the service to enable rating function.


The outdoor industry will soon be meeting in Spain. The upcoming European Outdoor Summit (EOS) is already the fourth of its kind. After Stockholm, Sweden, Tegernsee, Germany, and Sheffield, England, this year’s summit will be held in Barcelona, Spain. The Catalonian capital will host the event on Sept. 29-30, 2016. On the eve of the EOS, Mark Held, the secretary-general of the European Outdoor Group, calls for out-of-the box thinking to drive the industry forwards.

The European Outdoor-community gathers in Barcelona.
The European Outdoor-community gathers in Barcelona.

We wanted to hear from Mark Held what would be new at the fourth edition of EOS, to be held in Barcelona. “One new aspect is that this will be the first time that we have organized the summit ourselves,” the EOG exec explained. This is different to the previous events, which were organized by national federations like the Scandinavian Outdoor Group (SOG), the German Association of Sporting Goods Manufacturers (BSI) and the U.K.’s Outdoor Industries Association (OIA) respectively.

Barcelona: Three issues head the agenda

Held summarizes the agenda of the EOS by naming three main themes. Firstly, the industry should think about what could be possibly done “to motivate more people to go outdoors.”

Secondly, it is critical that the decision makers broaden their horizons. For that purpose, speakers have been invited from very different industries to present alternative ideas from which the outdoor industry could benefit. “Our industry,” Held says, “should become more professional in the sense that we need to learn more about the way other businesses think and work.”

Dreaming of the good old days won’t do

Thirdly, EOG views the summit as a think tank, whose major task is to consider future strategy. “We have to reinvent ourselves every day, otherwise we might not be able to repeat the great success we have all had over the past few decades in the future.”

Mark Held has been secretary-general of the European Outdoor Group since 2003.
Mark Held has been secretary-general of the European Outdoor Group since 2003.
Image credit:

Naturally, we wanted to know what exactly should be done to reinvent both outdoor-related retail and brands. Held did not hesitate to describe the main challenge: the supply chain. He calls on both retailers and vendors to become more flexible, both in terms of supply and sales.

Demand has changed, partly due to the weather

In other words it is about the need to “satisfy market demand even faster and to adapt better to the changing weather conditions,” Held claims. This is accompanied by a growing complexity in the supply chain, as brands increasingly rely on many different production plants spread around the globe.

Read here Outdoor Profi warns “We Urgently Need to Rethink Our Business”

The theory is that this change of strategy on the part of the manufacturers derives from the challenging task of meeting the requirements of delivery flexibility and compulsory quality standards, and the related costs that this involves.

The quest for new customers

Held has additional expectations that the Barcelona summit should meet. He is convinced that the industry should rethink its approach when it comes to the consumer. The industry, or the members of the EOG, should become more open towards new target groups, notably the very young customers. “It is obvious that children and young people often have other interests than going outdoors. We should take this point very seriously.”

It will be interesting to see to which extent the summit in Spain will find answers to these fundamental questions. The European Outdoor Summit is supported by ISPO as a main sponsor.

Markus Huber Author: Markus Huber