Held in São Paulo on April 19-21, the 13th annual edition of the Adventure Sports Fair (ASF) looked very busy, welcoming 268 exhibitors and a total of about 54,000 visitors – mostly consumers – on more than 15,000 square meters of space. The figures are not quite comparable with those of last year, when the ASF was held on different days of the week during the month of August, concurrently with the former Running Show, which was renamed for the occasion the Brazilian Sports Show.

Besides numerous informative conferences and workshops, an artificial snow slope, a paddling pond, a scuba diving tank, slacklining and several other outdoor activities made it look very lively, especially on Friday and Saturday, which were the last two days of the show. In contrast with the bustling atmosphere of the public areas, the B2B area of the show was quieter, but aside from a group of Chinese exhibitors, it was very active, too, as the other participants were involved in an almost uninterrupted series of pre-arranged meetings.

A total of 1,350 trade visitors registered at the fair, and they were mostly retailers. Placed in a dedicated space of the B2B area, a group of 20 Chinese companies and one from Pakistan did very little business, as they were mainly looking for national distributors. Instead, some of the 27 other firms from Brazil and other countries that exhibited in another area of the B2B section reported interesting contacts with trade visitors from all over Brazil, and to some extent also from other parts of Latin America. A new presentation that allowed some of them to address consumers on the other side of their stands was very much appreciated by the participants.

As at its previous editions, the ASF had large areas and activity zones devoted to tourist destinations all over Latin America and to automotive brands. However, some 20 brands of outdoor gear used the fair to promote their brands and their products to the general public and the trade. Salomon and Timberland had very attractive image stands at the fair. The stands of leading Brazilian outdoor brands such as Curtló, Kailash and Snake were often packed.

Focus group interviews conducted by us with consumers during the fair indicated that many hikers and outdoor enthusiasts practice running or cycling as well, and that they crave foreign travel for several reasons, including the considerably lower prices that they can obtain when shopping abroad. The meetings allowed us to go deeper into issues touched upon in a survey of more than 1,000 ASF visitors whose conclusions will be published in a report on the Brazilian sporting goods market that we plan to release a few weeks from now, in cooperation with Ispo.

High tariff barriers have led many foreign outdoor companies to rejigger their distribution policies for the Brazilian market, which is relatively small but full of potential. A full analysis of the Brazilian outdoor market will be an integral part of our research report.