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ISPO MUNICH 2018: “The Industry is Excited about the Trade Fair”

A modernized hall layout, even more outdoor, and a heightened look toward digitalization in the sports business: Exhibition Group Director Markus Hefter explains the new features of the ISPO MUNICH 2018 in this interview.

After 2017’s record number of exhibitors, the ISPO MUNICH 2018 is attracting participants with some new features.
After 2017’s record number of exhibitors, the ISPO MUNICH 2018 is attracting participants with some new features.

From January 28 to 31, 2018, the ISPO MUNICH will open its gates at the Munich trade fair site. More than 2700 exhibitors will then present the hottest trends and innovations in the sports business.


“ISPO MUNICH is more popular than ever”

ISPO.com: What is the number of requests from companies for the ISPO MUNICH 2018 so far, Mr. Hefter? And what is the expected turnout at the trade fair?
Markus Hefter:
The general sentiment in the industry is very good. This is evident in the fact that we have, at this moment in time, 15 percent more requests for spaces in comparison to last year’s event. ISPO MUNICH is more popular than ever. The industry is excited about the trade fair.

How will that be reflected at the event itself?
To accommodate the increased interest, we have expanded our hall layout in reflection of current trends in the sports business.

What does this mean, for example, for the winter sports area at the ISPO MUNICH?
The hype over winter sports is still unbridled. In January, under the umbrella of “snow sports,” the manufacturers will present the whole winter sports product spectrum: from skiing, freeskiing and snowboarding, to snowshoeing, cross-country skiing and tobogganing. The event will once again showcase the variety of winter sports, in their various aspects.

That means snow sports are getting a proper home at the ISPO MUNICH 2018, correct?
Synergies will be created with all winter sports without taking the attention away from the core subjects of skiing and snowboarding. Visitors will find everything relating to trends in hardware, clothing and accessories in the “snow sports” segment in halls B1 to B6.

Markus Hefter is Exhibition Group Director of ISPO MUNICH.
Markus Hefter is Exhibition Group Director of ISPO MUNICH. Markus Hefter is project leader of ISPO MUNICH.

More spaces for the outdoor area

The outdoor segment is continuing to grow. How will you take this into account?
With considerably more exhibitors and a greater need for space, the “outdoor” area is also being launched. New products will be exhibited in four halls altogether. “Outdoor” has taken on more and more aspects in recent years.

What do you mean by that exactly?
Outdoor does not just mean walking or climbing anymore. The borders become blurred, resulting in a change of recreational habits. Outdoor is defined much more broadly today, but without losing its authenticity. On the mountain, in nature, and above all in urban living spaces. Manufacturers are being presented with additional target groups and sales potential.

Completely new outdoor topic areas are popping up and will be featured at ISPO MUNICH 2018, like outdoor fitness and outdoor health. In addition, visitors will find trends and new innovations within the more established areas: mountain climbing, climbing, ice climbing, bouldering, trail running, camping and water sports.

Will these subjects be expanded upon?
Yes, there are focus areas within the individual segments that offer a concentrated look into particular areas. In the outdoor segment, for example, our water sports focus area presents all activities on and in the water.


Digitalization: “Transformation perceptible in nearly all halls”

Digitalization is “the” topic of the future – also in the sports business. How and where is this transformation taking place in the trade fair halls?
The transformation will be perceptible in nearly all halls. Digitalization has an influence in all areas of sport – in trade and industry, but also of course with the buyers. Already in 2017, the trade fair featured some trends that will be present in the industry in the future – like virtual reality glasses for the emotional buying experience or sports devices that can be controlled via apps. In 2018, industry representatives will once again exhibit what they will be offering their customers and athletes in the future.

And what does that mean for commerce?
It presents new commercial opportunities. At ISPO MUNICH we will address the topic as part of the ISPO ACADEMY and in the Retail Lab. Here trend-setting developments will be demonstrated.

At the center of the planned lectures and seminars is the digital transformation of the sports industry. With the motto “Digital Readiness,” representatives from trade and industry are discovering how to competitively lead their business into the future.

What might the digital future look like for the industry, for example?
The digital transformation offers a variety of new opportunities and also has brought some challenges with it – including for the sports industry. Visitors can experience what new kinds of concepts digitalization holds, live at the trade fair. RFID in functional clothing, Wi-Fi and wearables, digital sports shops both on- and offline – solutions for the business and smart products to support sports activities are constantly being developed.

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