Sustainability and innovation were the top topics at the restart of ISPO Munich from November 28 to 30. It was clear to see there that within the sporting goods industry, the outdoor sector in particular is a pioneer when it comes to sustainability. And it’s not just about the innovative processing of environmentally friendly materials, but about the entire value chain, from the design to production and packaging. “Durability is the most important factor in sustainability,” as Rainer Gerstner, Senior Vice President Marketing at Schöffel, stressed at ISPO Munich, saying that it was up to the brands to make it clear to consumers that sustainability also costs more. Antje von Dewitz, CEO Vaude, added: “At the moment, sustainability is an add-on in the purchasing decision for most people.” She said, however, that this attitude was beginning to change especially in younger target groups.
The focus was also on sustainable business practices in the award of the newly designed ISPO Cup, which was presented on the evening of the first day of the trade fair to Patagonia for outstanding social commitment. The company has already stood for decades for the fight against the climate and environmental crisis. Ryan Gellert, CEO Patagonia: “We are humbled and honored to receive the ISPO Cup for this work. As an industry built on a shared love of the natural world, this is the moment for us all to be bold in our activism, in reducing our footprint and in supporting those working to save our home planet.”
It was clear to see that ISPO Munich has, in the meantime, become far more than just a product show for the sporting goods industry: It is the platform for driving forward partnerships, initiatives and innovations beyond the trade fair, and discussing current pressing issues. The ISPO Munich Conference therefore also kicked off on the first day of the trade fair with a panel on the future of winter sports in the face of climate change and energy shortage. All the participants agreed: Winter sports only have a future if they change and develop more sustainable approaches. Reto Aeschbacher, Chief Marketing Officer at Scott: “The last two years were a challenge for us all. Issues such as reconciling sustainability and innovation, and, especially for us, the decline in ski tourism, are a lasting concern for us. What ISPO Munich has shown us is that there are still many people who want to experience “nature” and are fans of winter sports, and that proves to us that there are opportunities and potential for giving the ski industry a boost again.”
1,700 exhibitors from more than 50 countries and regions
Alongside the product innovations of the more than 1,700 exhibitors, ISPO Munich offered extensive insights at its November premiere into the entire ecosystem of the sports industry. Just under 90 percent of the exhibitors came from abroad, and a total of more than 50 countries and regions were represented. The most exhibitors came from Germany, Italy, France, China and Taiwan. Around 20 percent of them were at ISPO Munich for the first time. The 40,000 trade visitors came from a total of 117 countries, and 73 percent of them were international guests. The top five participating countries were Germany, Italy, France, Great Britain and Austria.
“The revamped concept of ISPO Munich, with the Future Lab as its centerpiece, scored particularly well with the international sports community, both exhibitors and trade visitors,” as Stefan Rummel, CEO of Messe München, concluded. “This year’s ISPO Munich also clearly showed, however, that the market is changing. We will take account of that as we further develop the trade fair. The sporting goods market will continue to be very relevant, but at the same time the focus will increasingly be on topics such as sports fashion, tourism, digitalization, health and fitness, nutrition or esports. We will therefore promote innovative formats that also give us access to new target groups and segments,” said Tobias Gröber, Head of ISPO Group, who also announced ISPO’s partnership with the streetwear and fashion blog Highsnobiety under the brand name “520M”.
ISPO Conference in the Future Lab as a meeting place and centerpiece
The newly created Future Lab, with innovation, sustainability and retail transformation as key topics, was a major attraction at ISPO Munich. The conference program additionally focused on social topics: Martin Frick, Director of the UN World Food Program, discussed “How the sports industry can lobby for the good of people and nature”. The Sustainability Hub was a designated area in the Future Lab, devoted exclusively to the topic of sustainability. It was also where the ISPO Award 2022 was presented on the second day of the trade fair. A total of around 100 award-winning products and services were showcased at the trade fair.
In the Future Lab, more than 70 startups that took part in the ISPO Brandnew Award also presented their innovations and new approaches for the industry. Ida Sports, an Australian company that makes sports footwear specifically for women, pitched successfully against all the other competitors. Laura Youngson CEO/ Co Founder IDA sports: It’s a great honour to win the Brandnew award as it gives us exposure to a wider audience. We came to ISPO to network with retailers and distributors, it’s great to be able to represent and see more women in sports tech.
Prominent sports personalities at ISPO Munich
Many active and former athletes also visited ISPO Munich. On the first day of the trade fair, Olympic tennis gold medalist Alexander Zverev and his brother Mischa presented the latest training technologies in professional sports with the aid of virtual reality. Surfing champion Björn Dunkerbeck, multiple kickboxing world champion Dardan Morina, Japanese alpinist Kazuja Hiraide, the mountaineers Kristin Harila and Vibeke Sefland, Portuguese ultramarathon runner João Andrade, professional cyclist and ski mountaineer Anton Palzer.
Runner’s World Running Symposium and therapie München in the ICM
As part of ISPO Munich, therapie München was also held at the exhibition grounds in the ICM for the first time. The trade fair with conference was aimed at physiotherapists, ergotherapists and sports therapists, as well as masseurs and medical lifeguards. A total of 107 exhibitors showcased products and services for the growing therapy and medical rehabilitation market. The ICM also hosted the Runner’s World Running Symposium. In lectures and analyses, brands such as Adidas, Arion, Falke, Joe Nimble, On and True Motion discussed the growing market potential for the entire running segment, which was also given an extra space at ISPO Munich in Hall A1.
“The restart of ISPO Munich after more than two and half years was impressive. Next year, ISPO Munich will take place again at Messe München on Tuesday to Thursday, from November 28 to 30, 2023. That will also give companies from the United States the opportunity to travel stress-free after Thanksgiving,” said Lena Haushofer, Exhibition Director of ISPO Munich.
Exhibitor statements on ISPO Munich 2022
Reto Aeschbacher, CMO at Scott: “ISPO Munich coincides this year with the start of the winter season, which offers us as a brand the chance to revive interest in outdoor and winter sports. The last two years were a challenge for us all. Issues such as reconciling sustainability and innovation, and, especially for us, the decline in ski tourism, are a lasting concern for us What ISPO Munich has shown us is that there are still many people who want to experience “nature” and are fans of winter sports, and that proves to us that there are opportunities and potential for giving the ski industry a boost again.”
Richard Collier, CEO Jack Wolfskin: “We’re thankful to be finally back at ISPO after such a long time away from our community – we missed you! ISPO is a long-term investment and an awesome opportunity for us to maintain and build relationships with our global partners. We’re looking forward to growing internationally and making great things happen.”
Christian Schneidermeier, CEO from ortovox: “We were very excited about ISPO 2022 due to it being close to Performance Days. Our summary: The trade fair was a resounding success – both the quality and number of visitors exceeded our expectations. In our opinion, ISPO is an indispensable showcase for the entire winter sports industry.”
Michael Uhl, VP Marketing and Brand Partnership at Helly Hansen: “Our summary of the trade fair days: good conversations and interested visitors. There’s a lot of interest in our brand, our innovative products and the new Ocean Bound material, which will be used for the first time in the fall/winter 23/24 ski collection. The trade fair was a resounding success!”
Sven Hana, Head of Sales & Business Development Houdini Europe: “ISPO has gone very well so far for Houdini Sportswear. We notice that the trade fair is extremely important as a platform and meeting place for the industry, and must be kept. The focus is mainly on discussing marketing opportunities and innovative cooperation models, and no longer simply on selling products. For the future, we would like to see a more modern approach at ISPO – away from the conventional trade fair idea to the conceptual approach of a community platform.”
Willie Irvine, European Sales Director Merrell: “With winning not only one but two ISPO Awards for key products from our winter 2023 trail running and hiking range and plenty of good meetings with clients from international markets, we’re very happy with our ISPO presence. After years of not seeing familiar faces and good contacts in real life, we’re grateful to be back. Once again, we were reconfirmed that showing presence at ISPO helps us to achieve a positive sentiment about the brand Merrell.”
Arne Strate, general secretary of the European Outdoor Group (EOG): “From an EOG perspective, the return of ISPO has been a big success. Working with the ISPO team at Messe Munich, we were able to bring the EOG into the heart of the show, playing a big role in the Future Lab in Hall B2. Our lounge was busy throughout and our extensive events programme proved to be very popular, showcasing some excellent and important collaborative projects to engaged audiences. The outdoor industry strongly backed the show and we have also received plenty of positive feedback from EOG members about their experience. This bodes well for a successful OutDoor by ISPO next summer, where we will continue the development and evolution of trade fairs as essential in-person gatherings on the industry calendar.”
Matti Kovanen, Brand Development manager Pusu: For an emerging brand like us, the ISPO Munich has proven to be essential in reaching the right contacts. We are happy to have been recognized with the coveted ISPO Award. Winning the award gives us the validation to continue pursuing new innovative steps in sustainability.
Stefan Merkt, CEO Schöffel Sport: “ISPO is an important platform for getting together again with the outdoor and sports community to talk face-to-face, and networking with all the relevant stakeholders. We present our product highlights and brand world at the trade fair. In personal conversations with retailers, contacts develop into networks that pursue ambitious goals together, with the primary focus being on the valuable outdoor experience of our joint customers.”
Keith Cozzens, Global Brand Marketing Director, LEM Helmets: “The ISPO show is the lifeline and bridge that brings this great community of people and brands together, and we’re stoked to be a part of it. As a young, growing brand entering the snowsports market after recently launching our cycling business, being at the show for the first time provides an invaluable opportunity to connect with the industry to share our brand and product innovations, while absorbing the experience that is ISPO.
Christoph Wilkens, Managing Director Germany/Poland Skechers USA Deutschland GmbH: “We are positively surprised by the large crowds of visitors at ISPO. The entire sports industry faces major challenges that need to be solved together in the near future, which is why we will continue to use ISPO as a communication platform to look for solutions with all the stakeholders in the industry. For us as a brand it was also the ideal opportunity to present ourselves in the outdoor segment with a host of innovative product lines.”
Mattia Bazzoni, Chief Communication Officer UYN: “We are very happy to be back at ISPO Munich. The opportunity to have direct contact with other major players in the sportswear industry is an important occasion for us to continue improving. We are very proud of the fact that the innovations we brought this year were all so well received. Being the first to create products completely from bio-materials derived from nature, and seeing the support and enthusiasm of the people who stopped by our booth is a sign that we are on the right track. The great organization of the event and the perfect management were a huge help in being able to have this much attendance.“