The OutDoor fair in Friedrichshafen closed on a positive note on Saturday. The leading European outdoor trade show started out with a slight uptick in attendance on Wednesday.

By the end of the show, the total attendance had risen to a total of 21,507 daily visits, up slightly from 21,464 visits a year ago. Like last year, the visitors spent on average two days at the show.

The visitors came from 92 countries, and 60 percent of them were described as key decision-makers and retailers from Germany, Europe and other parts of the world. Many exhibitors told us they had had either a good business or useful contacts at the show.

The visitors' mix has become more international, with those coming from Germany declining from 37.9 percent a year ago to 36.7 percent of the total, those coming from the rest of Europe falling from 46.1 to 45.1 percent and those coming from the rest of the world rising from 16.0 to 17.9 percent.

All the twelve exhibition halls and the open-air exhibition grounds were filled, with a total of 960 exhibitors from 40 countries, up from 940. Most of the major outdoor brands had a presence at the show. The few ones that didn't have a stand will probably exhibit next year, when the show will take place at earlier dates, closer to the timing of the ordering season. The earlier dates will probably attract an even higher number of overseas visitors, unless the Outdoor Retailer show in Salt Lake City decides to show earlier, too.

The next OutDoor show will run from June 18 to 21, 2017. A similar schedule has been chosen for the 2018 show, which is set to take place on June 17-20. It will start on a Sunday, rather than a Wednesday, to offer small retailers the chance to visit the show on a day when they may not be busy attending to customers.

The European Outdoor Group (EOG) pointed out that its decision to show earlier was taken with the support of retailers, some of whom have started to join the association. However, several observers wondered whether smaller retailers, especially those that are located far away from Friedrichshafen, will be prepared to come over so early to look for new products, let alone to place orders.

Just before the show, the EOG held its usual Summer Meeting, gathering a record number of participants. The EOG's ongoing campaign to promote outdoor participation was one of the topics. The guest speaker at the meeting, Emma Arnesson, presented an interesting project that she runs in Sweden, called “Hej Främling” (= Hello Stranger), that seeks to integrate refugees and migrant workers into the Swedish society through sport and outdoors. Its grassroots approach aligns well with #ItsGreatOutThere, the social media program of the EOG.

Click HERE for the detailed attendance chart.