Signs of growth for outdoor market

Early research findings released at ISPO indicate the European outdoor market grew slightly in 2014.

The figures from the European Outdoor Group (EOG) indicated the sector experienced growth of between 1% and 3% last year.

The EOG has built an initial overall picture of the outdoor market in 2014 using background data from State of Trade, public information, the first sales barometer survey conducted with some key major retailers* and the association’s annual survey of its members.

At retail, 2014 saw growth of 1% to 3%. However, the EOG says it is important to mention that more businesses have reported a flat or declining year than in the recent past and that the study did not include small/independent retailers, so it does not claim full accuracy.

Furthermore, in particular in the DACH region (Germany, Austria, Switzerland), which has been known for back to back growth in recent years, there appears to have been a shift towards competition for market share, instead of organic market growth.

Will Herman of Pelican’s outdoor communications team commented: “It’s interesting that the EOG noted that those companies who have reported very positive figures link them to an optimum offer of innovative products, combined with investments in effective sales and POS strategies, both in store and online.

“Clearly more than ever technical innovation, combined with strong branding is vital to driving growth in the outdoor market.”

Wholesale indicators collected as part of the EOG members’ survey complemented the picture, as 31% of the replying brands reported strong growth for the whole of 2014, 46% slight growth, 15% a flat year and 8% a decline. The outlook for 2015 is generally positive, although the overall rate of growth is expected to be less than in 2014. 19% of participants expect strong growth, 62% expect slight growth, 15% expect a flat year and 4% expect a decline.

The EOG also says there is strong consensus (from 75% of EOG members who completed the survey) about the top three issues facing the industry. These are the rapid changes in routes to market; issues with traditional sales patterns and the sector’s dependence on snow and cold conditions before Christmas; and the need for more hard market data.

Over recent years, the European Outdoor Group has increased its investment in market research, which has allowed the association to improve the range and scale of services that it offers members and the wider industry.

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