The OutDoor European trade fair and the leading companies in the mountaineering and outdoor-sports industry are still on course for success. “With 650 direct exhibitors and a net rented area of 27,300 square metres, OutDoor is the undisputed number one in Europe”, said Messe CEO Rolf Mohne with pleasure at the press conference on the opening day of the 12th OutDoor in Friedrichshafen. “Sales in our industry will continue to increase”, said Rolf G. Schmid, President of the European Outdoor Group (EOG). Albrecht von Dewitz, CEO of Vaude, reinforced this prognosis with figures obtained from an EOG member survey.

“We are talking about a total sales volume of Euro 5.1 billion in the European outdoor industry”, said von Dewitz, Member of the Board at the EOG. This is the result of a survey of all members of the European Outdoor Group. Manufacturers of clothing, rucksacks, alpine and hiking boots, and sleeping bags were asked about their respective turnovers.

“We have recorded a growth in all key markets of the outdoor industry compared with 2003”, was von Dewitz’s positive conclusion. At a turnover of Euro 1.98 billion in 2004 (2003: Euro 1.96 billion), the clothing sector remains the undisputed strongest sector, followed by alpine, hiking and all-round boots at Euro 686 million (2003: Euro 668 million). The rucksack sector experienced the strongest growth and expanded by 4 percent to a total turnover of Euro 335 million (2003: Euro 322 million). Sales of sleeping bags rose by two percent to Euro 145 million (2003: Euro 143 million).

The projected figures for tents (Euro 227 million / 2003: Euro 224 million) and hardware (Euro 629 million / 2003: Euro 618 million) were added to these product lines. Sales of discount and retail brands were also projected and these made up Euro 1.1 billion of the total volume of Euro 5.104 billion. With Euro 1.535 billion, Germany is by far the largest outdoor market, followed by the British market with Euro 1.036 billion, the French market (Euro 924 million) and the Scandinavian market with Euro 426 million. “At the final count, there is a 2 percent increase in turnover in Europe”, summarised von Dewitz.

“The outdoor market will develop from a purely high-tech, specialist market into a mass market”, expects EOG President, Rolf G. Schmid of the Mammut Sports Group. “The pressure of competition will increase but we should also see this as an opportunity to access new customer groups.” The fact that adidas is exhibiting at OutDoor in Friedrichshafen for the first time this year serves to illustrate this point. “Thanks to the tremendous growth of the last ten years, the outdoor market has also broadened”, explained Stephan Guter of adidas when discussing his company’s involvement. “Today, the market is also open to commercial brands.”

One more reason for the EOG to remember its roots: “You can’t do business on a dead planet – and it is precisely our industry that is dependent on an intact nature”, were the words of Hervé Charbert from Patagonia when explaining why, in future, the EOG wishes to become even more involved with environmental protection. The new Environment section of the EOG thus uses the 12th OutDoor to highlight this issue. “In the West Foyer, non-profit organisations will be exhibiting in an eco-café. Furthermore, this year, all halls will be designated non-smoking zones for the first time.”

The 12th OutDoor European trade fair will be held until Sunday, 24 July in Friedrichshafen. The “top 100” best-selling market leaders, as well as many other high-profile companies from the outdoor industry, will be exhibiting in ten exhibition halls. OutDoor is only open to the specialist trade.