Latest EOG research insights showcase impact of COVID and future opportunities

The EOG has provided an update from its market research programme, with new insights from both our sell-in and sell-through projects. The State of Trade (SoT) measures the sell-in wholesale development in the outdoor sector and the Outdoor Retail Benchmark Report measures the sell-through retail development in the industry, while we also undertake other ad hoc projects as required, including a year-end 2020market feedback survey. The latest data provides an indication of how COVID-19 impacted the sector during 2020 and an indication of expectations for 2021.


During the first half of 2020, the EOG conducted a survey with its members to get early feedback on how the pandemic was affecting businesses. In particular, this provided an indication of how sell-in was impacted around the key time of Easter. The responses show that March and April were affected the most. Wholesale declined the most in April, down by -83% year-on-year. However, for the second half of the year, feedback from a number of peers in the industry suggests that although there was less production, what was made did sell out. The summer staycation trend helped some markets too, although SoT 2020 figures will be needed to verify this.

Published during the summer of 2020, State of Trade valued the outdoor sector at €5.8Bn at wholesale in 2019, equating to the value of the brand shipments into the industry in Europe. Data collection for State of Trade 2020 is about to commence and the figures will be shared later this year.


The Outdoor Retail Benchmark Report measures six outdoor sectors and the majority of EOG retail members were able to take part in the project. In 2020, the EOG moved to monthly data reporting, which was a key requirement to track, as close to real time as possible, the impact the pandemic was having on retail sales. Sell-through was also hit hardest at the start of the year, but despite the challenges of2020, outdoor ended the year up 3.7% year-on-year in the Outdoor Retail Benchmark Report.

As of 2021, the EOG Outdoor Retail Benchmark Report is now open to collect sales data from member brands with retail platforms, and from non-member retailers, in order to strengthen the coverage of the report. In addition, there will be a focus during the year to add more UK retailers to the project, as the second largest market in Europe. The report measures the core outdoor activity segment and five wider outdoor markets (sport fashion, cycling, winter sports, running/walking and water sports). EOG retail members provide monthly sell-through figures for apparel, footwear and hardware products. The report currently covers six European countries, with the strongest coverage in Germany. Approximately 900 bricks and mortar doors are represented, plus online sales. The split of bricks and mortar and online sales is approximately 70% / 30%.

The EOG will host a free webinar with further details about the Outdoor Retail Benchmark Report on Thursday 25 Feb (10:00 CET, 09:00 GMT). Register in advance for this meeting at

2020 year-end market survey

The year-end EOG member survey provides industry feedback on how well sales have performed, and highlights key issues and opportunities during the year. During 2020, 66% of respondents stated that wholesale sales declined year-on-year and 58% stated that retail sales declined. Looking at this in more detail by category, the apparel, footwear and luggage markets were hit hardest compared to the hardware and accessory markets.

Members outlined many challenges that the industry faced due to the pandemic, but also highlighted some opportunities. Challenges included the impact of retail closures and employees having to adapt to working from home. In terms of stock issues, there was over supply in some markets and under supply in others. Positive changes that were identified included an acceleration in adopting digitalisation and an increase in the number of citizens getting active outdoors. Looking ahead, overall there is a positive outlook for 2021 from EOG members, with 68% anticipating wholesale to grow 10% or more compared to 2020and 69% of respondents expecting similar growth at retail.

Pauline Shepherd, EOG head of market research, comments: “There were no huge surprises in the results of the year-end survey. The insights put a spotlight on some of the more acute challenges, but also on the positives during the year and the key opportunities for 2021. Overall, the outdoor industry has demonstrated great resilience and there is a general sense that the sector will come out of the crisis stronger, with new customers enjoying the outdoors.

“The EOG’s expanded and enhanced programme of sell-in and sell-through research projects will allow us to provide even more robust data to those who contribute, which will be of huge value as they make plans for the post-COVID recovery. This will also help us to tailor our activities, as we support members and the wider industry, and represent and promote the outdoors to policy makers and the public.”

To find out more about the EOG’s market research programme, contact Pauline Shepherd on

More Articles