The EOG estimates total industry sales in 2017 at €12.3 billion, not including discounts and special promotions. The good results of the State of Trade 2017, based on data from 115 brands across Europe, contrast with the stagnant market of 2015 and modest growth (3 percent) in 2016.
"Our industry is now worth 5.86 billion euros. That's a huge number," said John Jansen at the EOG press conference in Friedrichshafen. "We ourselves were surprised at how good these figures are, how positive the development has been," said the head of the Association of Major European Outdoor Companies EOG, which has just extended the contract with Secretary General Mark Held by one year.
Jansen: "Of course, we have benefited from the weather. There was a good winter, but the summer also brought 5 percent growth. Overall, we can be very satisfied: We have further developed our industry."
Within 2 years, the total value of the European outdoor market has improved by 600 million euros. "This is the biggest growth within the industry since 2010, we are very proud of that," says EOG President John Jansen. "We have reached a very high level. We are very happy to be able to announce such numbers."
The footwear sector saw the largest increase at 13.4 percent. From the industry's point of view, it is also very pleasing that all segments recorded growth - only tents saw a decline in 2017, which was actually very significant at almost 10 percent. This was caused by the difficult weather in the previous year's spring, the crucial time for tent purchases, especially in the UK.
The segments at a glance:
- Apparel: 2.94 billion euros (plus 5 %)
- Footwear: 1.7 billion euros (plus 13.4 %)
- Backpacks: 409 million euros (plus 5 %)
- Accessories: 403 million euros (plus 6 %)
- Tents: 152 million euros (down 9.8 %)
- Climbing accessories: 135 million euros (up 6.7 %)
- Sleeping bags: 118 million euros (up 9.7%)
"We are very encouraged by the results of the 2017 State of Trade, which show how successful our industry is," also says Pauline Shepherd, EOG Head of Market Research, who prepared the State of Trade Report.
The three largest markets of the outdoor industry combined in the EOG are Germany, France and Great Britain - together they account for 2.95 billion euros and thus more than half of the total market volume.
- Germany continues to lead the market, accounting for 37 percent of the total market, with growth of 3 percent - in line with the previous year. "This is a stable market," says Pauline Shephard.
- In France, there is negative growth: minus 2 percent. "Then it recovered a bit in the summer. The expectations for 2018 are a further recovery," says Pauline Shephard.
- In the UK, on the other hand, the market is growing at an above-average rate of 8 percent, with particularly strong growth in fall/winter (14 percent). Sales of The North Face, Columbia and the Fenix Group grew by double digits.
- In Scandinavia, Norway is the market driver.
- In Eastern Europe, Poland in particular recorded significant sales increases.
As for the seasonal distribution, Pauline Shepherd is pleased to sum up here as well: "Both seasons were good. The strong numbers are mainly based on the fall/winter business." After two weak winters in 2015 and 2016, business in winter 2017 increased by 8 percent, to a value of 3.2 billion euros. The comparable figure for spring/summer: 2.65 billion euros, with an increase of 6 percent.
The mood in the industry is correspondingly positive when looking at the picture of winter 2017/18: "73 percent say it's better than expected," explains Pauline Shephard, who, however, also identified a challenge for 2018 in the survey of brands: "The market is in a positive mood - but: the spring season wasn't quite as good because we had a very good winter and then went straight into summer. The spring business hardly took place."
The industry will continue to focus on sustainability, as John Jansen made clear: "The companies that are successful now are exactly the ones that were laughed at 10 years ago because they did a lot with sustainability. But now they are the most successful. Because they have found their point of view, their brand essence. The industry has to lead by example. We have to give something back to nature. Without nature, there is no outdoor sport."
The role classic trade shows play in attracting these target groups was also a topic at the EOG press conference in Friedrichshafen, which will host OutDoor for the last time in 2018 before it moves to Munich and continues as OutDoor by ISPO in 2019. "Trade shows play an important role for the outdoor industry, with 80 percent of our members wanting a trade show," Jansen said. "But there will also be changes in trade shows; we need to move forward."
The OutDoor by ISPO concept, which was chosen by the vast majority of EOG members after a pitch from a total of five applicants, will be presented in Munich on June 27.
The role of traditional trade fairs in attracting these target groups was also discussed at the EOG press conference in Friedrichshafen, where OutDoor 2018 will be held for the last time before moving to Munich, and continued in 2019 as OutDoor by ISPO. “Trade fairs have an important function in the outdoor industry. 80 percent of our members want a trade fair,” said Jansen. “But trade fairs will change too, we have to move with the times.”
The concept for OutDoor by ISPO, which was chosen by a majority of EOG members after a pitch by five applicants, will be presented in Munich on 27 June.