Emotions, innovations, business: OutDoor by ISPO, the right concept for a new era

OutDoor by ISPO celebrated an energy-charged comeback with about 8,000 trade visitors when it was held from June 12 to 14 in the Munich Order Center (MOC).

The industry is experiencing a period of unchecked growth: The European Outdoor Group, the exclusive and ideal sponsor of OutDoor by ISPO, reported record industry sales for 2021.

The European outdoor industry is booming. In fiscal year 2021, it produced record sales of €6.2 billion, an increase of 19 percent over the previous year’s total. German-speaking countries formed the biggest sales-generating region at more than €2.2 billion, a jump of 14 percent. The European Outdoor Group (EOG), the exclusive and ideal sponsor of OutDoor by ISPO, announced the record results at the trade fair.

The positive market trend was also reflected at Europe’s biggest outdoor event, an event that was also something special itself. The trade fair was held after a three-year interruption caused by the coronavirus pandemic and employed a new concept that included a new date (June 12 – 14) and a new venue (the MOC in Munich). About 8,000 trade visitors explored the event in person and made a wide range of business contacts. About two-thirds of the guests and 70 percent of exhibitors were international. Retailers, purchasing employees and brand representatives from 70 countries, including such core European markets as France, Italy, Austria and Switzerland along with non-European countries like the United States, Canada and Asian countries, were present at the trade fair. The trade visitors enjoyed the summer weather and celebrated a personal reunion in four halls and atriums as well as in showrooms and outdoor areas.

“OutDoor by ISPO has been successfully restarted,” said Klaus Dittrich, the CEO of Messe München. “The trade fair showed just how valuable personal conversations and contacts are, particularly when you consider the challenges that the industry is facing right now like supply-chain disruptions and logistics problems. OutDoor by ISPO was—in turbulent times—a perfect combination of business and community.” Lena Haushofer, Exhibition Director of OutDoor by ISPO, added: “The combination of multifaceted exhibitions and presentations both indoors and outdoors fostered personal discussions and networking in a casual, positive atmosphere.” The relaxed mood was felt not only at both parties that served as a key part of community building in the outdoor industry, but also in the hallways and the booths of the MOC in Munich.

The central themes of OutDoor by ISPO primarily included sustainability, regenerative business practices and innovative materials. Many discussions also focused on one other issue as well: supply-chain disruptions and resource shortages. Many exhibitors showcased a wide range of sustainable product highlights at their booths. During a conference held at OutDoor by ISPO, a meeting organized by the ISPO Group in cooperation with the EOG and NOW partners, more than two dozen high-ranking representatives of different industries talked about ways that commercial success could be combined with the protection and regeneration of people, societies and nature. “The huge opportunity is to find viable long-term and cross-industry solutions,” said Tobias Gröber, the Head of the ISPO Group.

In her opening address at the conference, Antje von Dewitz, the CEO of VAUDE, discussed the wide range of steps being taken in efforts to create a climate-neutral company: “The tiniest footprint stands for the highest quality of life.” Actor Hannes Jaenicke, who has worked for years to protect animals and nature, spoke at the concluding session of the conference held on the second day of the trade fair and urged conference attendees to take a more conscious approach to nature.

Felix Loch, the winner of numerous Olympic gold medals and world championships in the luge, also spoke at the trade fair and described the work being done by a group called Athletes for Ukraine: “Ukrainian athletes are now fighting in a real war right here in Europe,” Loch said. “We have to help and support them and their families from here in the best way we can.” As part of the group’s work, Loch has delivered relief supplies to Ukraine several times. Sergey Bubka, the Chairman of the Ukrainian National Olympic Committee, said in a statement: “Providing Ukrainian athletes and athletic facilities with equipment would be a great way to help sports in Ukraine get back on their feet after the war.”

The trade fair was also a special occasion for Klaus Dittrich, the CEO of Messe München. “This year’s OutDoor by ISPO is a very emotional moment for me personally because it marks the end of my 20-year management career at Messe München,” Dittrich said. “I am really happy that the industry finally had an opportunity to meet in person once again and that you could truly feel the passion for nature and sports everywhere you went at OutDoor by ISPO. I would like to thank all customers, partners, trade associations, service providers and the team at Messe München for everything we have achieved together for the industry.”

Mark Held, the EOG President and Chair of the Board, said: “After the pause in shows caused by the pandemic, a new venue for OutDoor by ISPO was a particular challenge for this first, post-pandemic show. We are absolutely delighted that the changes we made to OutDoor by ISPO together with our partner Messe München this year seem to be well received and we have created the vibrant event our sector needs. The outdoor industry was founded on shared values and community, and we are really appreciative of the decisiveness and engagement for the show from all the exhibitors and visitors that chose to support us. Their faith in the concept was proven to be right and the blend of practicality, atmosphere, fun and excitement made the event really something special.”

Outdoor by ISPO will be held again from May 22 to 24, 2023, on the fairgrounds of Messe München.

Andreas Bartmann, Managing Director of Globetrotter: “The days at the trade fair were a pure shot of motivation for the industry. It was a trade fair that made perfect sense in terms of its format and dates.”

Jean-Phillip Birmelé, Sales Area Manager at Petzl: “We were really excited about getting back in touch with our network and our customers. We also used the trade fair to present the new products that we will be introducing this year and next year.”

Pieter de Bodt, Group Buying Manager of the Yonderland Group: “It was good to reconnect with the business in person, despite the rather limited representation of the brands. The topics that need to be discussed these days were not even on the agenda 2 years ago, so it is useful to discuss that face-to-face.”

Giulia Delladio, Corporate Marketing Director of La Sportiva: “The return to an important, international trade show like Outdoor by ISPO, after two and a half years during which the outdoor market has grown, but there have not been many opportunities to celebrate this growth, was a good restarting point. And to finally see in person our partners from all over the world was a thrill. The size of the event and the level of participation are not yet comparable to the last show in 2020, but it was essential to start again. And La Sportiva decided to do so in a significant way, to declare its optimism and confidence in this restart.”

Margit Gosau / Dominik Solleder, Management Team of Sport 2000: “We would describe OutDoor by ISPO 2022 as a complete success. What made it even better was the fact that the leading industry platform generated such a positive response from retailers and brands, particularly given the doubts expressed beforehand about the fair’s ability to pull off a restart in a new venue. We certainly need a leading outdoor trade fair that has such great spirit!”

Henry Hoogenveen, Brand Manager for Europe at Klean Kanteen: “To us, the show was much more international than expected. We met with many international retailers (Germany, Austria, Italy, Switzerland, Benelux etc.), and were even able to extend our distribution network as we talked with several people from Asia and even South-America! So in short, for us the show couldn’t have been better.”

Jan Lorch, the Head of the Outdoor Department of the National Association of the German Sporting Goods Industry: “The opportunity to meet people in person once again was a tremendous pleasure. It created great atmosphere as well. We were really happy to see that OutDoor by ISPO focused even closer on sustainability. As a member of the Board of Directors at the sporting goods association, I think OutDoor is a good place to show your face.”

Andreas Mittag, Head of Marketing at Maloja: “Having lived through the coronavirus-related interruption that was imposed on us, I could not wait to see retailers, competitors and other members of the industry once again. The rather slow start to the fair on Sunday gave way to a Monday that was filled with good visits – both national and, surprisingly, very international ones as well. The concept of three fair days and the MOC as the venue really paid off.”

Erik J. Møller, CEO of Nordisk: “It’s great to be back! After two very busy days, we can say with confidence that we are not the only ones who have missed meeting people in person. We have seen incredible interest in our brand, not least our glamping products in the Nordisk Village outside. Also our 100 % biodegradable concept tent on our main booth has received a lot of attention. Nature is here to be explored, enjoyed with the people you care about and to be protected. We are happy to help accomplish all three.”

David Nordblad, Secretary General of SOG: “We are very happy to have the tradeshows back again. Scandinavian Village has been very busy during the whole show and has really made a big impact for the visitors. We are looking forward to coming tradeshows.”

Samuel Silverudd, the Head of Marketing at EMEA, Dometic: “OutDoor by ISPO was a good opportunity for us to showcase our products and innovations. We also had some really good conversations with customers. Our goal at Dometic is for people to go outdoors and be able to use their vehicles in a more sustainable way.”

Mark van de Erve, Managing Director of Spac Sport (The Netherlands): “It was great to be back again, and to experience the energy that only personal meetings can give. And to be fair, we met many more people than we had anticipated and found some very nice products for next season. So, we are glad we came and are already looking forward to next year’s show.”

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