Now is a good time to acknowledge that many businesses have stepped up their game and the latest figures we will publish at OutDoor will confirm that, overall, our sector remains strong.
However, it is also probably time to admit that in the context of greater competitiveness, we all face some problematic side effects. At the sharp end of a growing industry, everything feels a little harsher and the pressure for short-term success threatens to dominate decision making.
With this in mind, the outdoor sector will have to make a crucial decision in the next few years. Will we allow our industry to lapse into a race to the bottom or will we choose a different path? In my opinion, much of our industry’s success over the decades has actually been based on a race to the top. Instead of fighting over a set market size, we have used (often our own) passion as inspiration to grow the community, and with it the demand for our products and services.
The question is, are we capable of applying this same attitude as competition gets more fierce and commercial reality is ever at our throats? At the EOG, we are working on that basis and will soon launch our Europe-wide #ItsGreatOutThere initiative designed to encourage more of the general public to participate in outdoor activities – we hope that you will join us in promoting this campaign as it is the first step in a longer term effort to support the future of our industry. Of course, projects like this are only a part of a much bigger picture and one that is underpinned by a key characteristic of our industry, which is the ability to co-operate together towards a common goal.
So, I hope many of you will like me, be thinking about a race to the top, when we gather in Friedrichshafen for the OutDoor show.
Mark Held, General Secretary, EOG.
OutDoor – EOG events and recommendations
For a few days every July, Friedrichshafen becomes a global outdoor capital, as we hold the European sector’s main summer trade show. OutDoor is only two weeks away and as always, the event, organised by our partners at Messe Friedrichshafen, will showcase the latest product and marketing developments in our industry. As well as 12 halls, and foyers and outdoor areas that will be populated by 900 exhibitors from around the world, OutDoor has a well-established and comprehensive programme of events each day, including some that are organised by the EOG. You can find our recommendations for the show here and view the full programme here.
The EOG team will be at Messe Friedrichshafen throughout OutDoor. If you would like to meet with one of us, please contact Mathias Basedow to arrange an appointment.
Promoting outdoor participation
In the last newsletter, we provided an update on our project to promote outdoor participation by the public. This is a hugely important area of work that we are undertaking on behalf of our sector. Although outdoor participation is still very strong, there are more other interests than ever competing for everyone’s leisure time and many people in Europe do not meet the minimum recommended levels of physical activity. For the long term health of our sector, we must all become more effective at inspiring the next generation to get outdoors.
Earlier this year, we created a working group, chaired by John Jansen, to develop a proactive plan to promote outdoor participation in Europe. In less than six months, that group has already achieved its first significant milestone. As well as our ongoing engagement in the work of the Federation of Sporting Goods Industries (FESI), the EOG has been confirmed as an official partner of the first European Week of Sport, which will take place in September. We will collaborate with the European Commission to promote that initiative, but will also launch our own additional initiative, which will promote the rewarding and positive aspects of outdoor activities. With social media at its heart, the #ItsGreatOutThere campaign will be a starting point for more proactive, sustained promotion from our sector throughout Europe. We will reveal details during OutDoor, so look out for more news about this, and how you can get involved, very soon.
European Outdoor Summit
There is still time to take advantage of the early booking discount for places at this year’s European Outdoor Summit (EOS). The event will take place from 13th – 15th October in Sheffield, UK, and is being organised by our partners at the Outdoor Industries Association (OIA), with sponsorship from ISPO, WL Gore & Associates and Berghaus.
The OIA has assembled an exciting and varied programme and this year’s EOS looks set to be the best yet. Find out more about the event and secure discounted places by 18th July here.
Welcome to new members
The EOG continues to grow. Since taking the decision to accept outdoor retailers as members of the association, we have welcomed several major new companies. Recently, six more retailers joined, including the first online only businesses to become members. We look forward to working on a wide range of projects with the Frasteya Group (best known for Sport Montagnes and Ekosport) and Snowleader.com from France, Internetstores (Campz, Addnature, Fahrrad.de and others) and Bergfreunde from Germany, Ochsner Sport (part of the Deichmann organisation) from Switzerland, and HudySport from the Czech Republic.