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Outdoor Sector Shows Good Performance: “There is High Growth”

The outdoor sector, which was recently stuck in stagnation, is reporting back with impressive figures. “There is growth, high growth”, says John Jansen, President of the European Outdoor Group (EOG), at the presentation of the latest trade figures, the State of Trade. Sales rose in 2017 by 3 percent and the mood in the sector is extremely optimistic – particularly thanks to the outstanding balance sheet figures in autumn and winter.

Back in the good days: The latest figures from the European Outdoor Group show visible growth.
Back in the good days: The latest figures from the European Outdoor Group show visible growth.

The most important indicator: The total turnover of retail rises to a volume of 11.5 billion Euros. The message from EOG boss John Jansen: “2016 was a good year for the outdoor business. We have good news.”

Outdoor: Turnover of Wholesale is 5.47 billion Euros. 

The good news from the EOG study, the market research report of the European Outdoor Group at a glance – 115 outdoor sector brands from 22 countries were surveyed:

  • The turnover of wholesale in the outdoor sector is at 5.47 billion Euros and therefore 0.17 billion higher than in 2015.
  • That means a sales increase of 3 percent (compared with 1.4 in the previous year).
  • Products in quantities (units): 3.4 percent increase (compared with 0.8 percent increase in 2015). In total, 7 million more products were sold than in the previous year.

The EOG finds the growth rates in autumn and winter particularly pleasing, especially since this is a difficult period due to the uncertainty of snow. While there was a sales increase of 2 percent in the spring and summer business, the sales in autumn and winter rose by 3 percent (and the number of products sold by 4 percent) – in absolute figures: 84 million Euros growth with a total value of 2.95 billion Euros.

3 percent Rise in Sales in Winter – “the Best News”

“After two years of stagnation”, the autumn and winter results are “the best news” for the sector, says President John Jansen at the presentation of the State of Trade EOG study at the outdoor trade fair in Friedrichshafen.

Read here: Exclusive interview with EOG General Secretary Mark Held: “The competition is uniquely hard” >>>

Pauline Shepherd presented the European Outdoor Group’s (EOG) “State of Trade” market research report.
Pauline Shepherd presented the European Outdoor Group’s (EOG) “State of Trade” market research report.

Clothing rises by 4.2 percent, Shoes remain at minus 1 percent

A glance at the individual segments of the outdoor sector reflects the positive development of the market (plus 4.4 percent in total); John Jansen even speaks of “enormous increases”. The only exceptions are the shoes and sleeping bag sectors with a sales decrease of 1 percent each. The 5.47 billion Euros sales from retail are distributed across the following areas:

  • Clothing: 2.8 billion Euros (+ 4.2 percent)
  • Shoes: 1.5 billion Euros (- 1 percent)
  • Backpacks: 390 million (+5.3 percent)
  • Accessories: 382 million (+3.5 percent)
  • Tents: 168 million (+2 percent)
  • Climbing: 127 million (+4.4 percent)
  • Sleeping bags: 106 million (- 1 percent)

The fact that his own sector of all things, the shoe market, is not currently showing increases “does make me a little sad”, admits John Jansen, who is also European manager of the shoe manufacturer Keen EMEA. But the shoe market is registering “a small slump after five years of growth so we are going to reset – our potential remains fantastic”.

80 percent of People find the 2016 Financial Year “better than expected”

And that is valid for the entire sector. In any case, outdoor companies are more optimistic than they have been in a while, as Pauline Shepherd from the European Outdoor Group observed in her extensive market research report. The mood about the past financial year is fantastic – at least that’s what you read in the 2016 Summary and the satisfaction of the surveyed brands:

  • 33 percent say that things went “much better” for their companies in 2016 than expected.
  • A further 47 percent found 2016 “slightly better”. In total around 80 percent found the year better.
  • For 9 percent, the year “reached their expectations”.
  • And for just 11 percent, 2016 did not reach their expectations. 

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Clothing and Shoes make up 78 percent of the Outdoor Market

At the presentation of the market research report, Pauling Shepherd also disclosed some inside views from individual sectors.

  • The shoe market is “still a strong market, even when it is stagnated – our members expect this market to make a swift recovery”.
  • The clothing and shoe sectors took 78 percent of the outdoor sales in 2016. 
  • The climbing market is an especially “growing market, thanks to indoor climbing which is strong all year round”.
  • The camping sector, i.e. tents and sleeping bags, had a difficult time, especially “due to the tough competition in the low-cost sector”. Additionally, retail can look back on “a rather cool season” especially in France which is usually the strongest region in this sector.

DACH remains strongest Region for Outdoor Business

The DACH area, i.e. Germany, Austria and Switzerland, is still the most important regional market for the outdoor business. Even here, sales were increased by 3 percent, which exactly corresponds to the average increase the EOG calculated in all countries.

The increases were: in southern Europe (2.5 percent), Eastern Europe (with 2.1 percent the lowest growth), Scandinavia also had 3 percent growth. Together with the UK (3.1 percent increase), the DACH region generated 55 percent of the total sales of the European Outdoor Group in 2016. 

Outdoor in 2017: “Some hope for two-digit growth”

Participants in the market were so satisfied with the 2016 results that they are turning this into optimism for the (near) future. “Some people even hope for two-digit growth. 2017 has started well for the whole sector”, says Pauline Shepherd at the end of her market research report. The prospects for 2017, concisely summarized.

  • 71 percent reckon that business figures in 2017 will be “even better” than the already good 2016.
  • A further 25 percent are of the opinion that 2017 will be “just as good”.
  • Only 4 percent predict a worse year.
  • 69 percent expect further growth of more than 2.5 percent for the clothing segment.
  • And for hardware, 63 percent expect more than 2.5 percent growth.
  • In the recently declining shoe sector, 40 percent assume an increase of 2.5 percent.

Read here: The outdoor market in change – 5 Big Players look to the future. >>>

EOG President, John Jansen: “Things are progressing!”

The conclusion? Exceedingly positive. “We’re back on track”, says EOG President, John Jansen at the announcement of the latest sector figures – “things are progressing”. 

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Gunnar Jans ist Chefredakteur von ISPO.COM
Gunnar Jans

Gunnar Jans ist Chefredakteur von ISPO.COM
Gunnar Jans