The Outdoor Industry Compass and its more generic sister publication, Sporting Goods Intelligence Europe, have decided to diversify their market research efforts, launching a specific study of the women's market for outdoor products and other types of sporting goods, which is often neglected by some brands and some of their retail clients. Focusing initially on the market in the German-speaking countries, the study will be conducted in cooperation with two experienced German researchers and consultants, Ulrike Luckmann and Karen Laubach. They have started to interview decision-makers at the OutDoor fair in Friedrichshafen and will continue the process in the next months, building on the research that we have already conducted in these countries and adding some consumer research.

As Luckmann pointed out at a conference during the OutDoor show yesterday, even though most outdoor and sports brands have developed specific women´s collections, it seems that they are still largely influenced by a rather traditional male view. The study will try to highlight the specific demands of female customers, indicating the strategies and the marketing and merchandising concepts that tend to work in reaching out to them, and which ones have failed.

For example, an important German player in the backpack market, Deuter, decided to develop a clear marketing strategy for women five years ago on, and its sales of women-specific products have risen by more than 35 percent since then. A typical Norwegian women's brand, Kari Traa, is growing at annual rate of 30 percent in Germany.

The sports participation statistics show that women have become more and more active. In reporting that it has reached this year the milestone of one million members, DAV, the German Alpine Club, reports that the number of female members has risen year-on-year by 5 percent for men and by 6 percent for women. The highest growth rates have been registered in the 19-25-year age group, showing increases of 7.43 percent for men and 9.25 percent for women.

Furthermore, women's lifestyles are changing. More and more women are working, and they have more money to spend. According to the Boston Consulting Group, their disposable income is set to grow worldwide from $13 billion in 2010 to $18 billion in 2015. Women are leading more stressful lives, and they are running and practicing other sports to compensate for that.

The new women's study will complement the numerous country reports that we have already published about the general sporting goods market and, more specifically, the outdoor market. After putting out a report on the outdoor market in the Nordic countries, we are now working on a report on the Polish, Czech, Russian and Ukrainian markets. A report on the Chinese market is due to follow in 2014. Many of our subscribers have already shown great interest in all these reports.