Big and small brands are remaining loyal to the OutDoor show in Friedrichshafen, although it is being staged about one month earlier than usual, running from Sunday June 18 to Wednesday June 21. In fact, the total number of exhibitors who have booked space at the fair has risen by five from last July to reach a new record of 965 companies, coming from 40 nations and occupying 85,000 square meters of exhibition space. Rumors about the pullout of important players like Vaude and Petzl have been denied by the organizers of the show.
The industry's strong commitment to the leading European trade show in the sector has led the European Outdoor Group to maintain the annual time slot for the next two years, keeping also its Sunday-to-Wednesday schedule, even though its study of suppliers' and retailers' attitudes toward the show has not yet been completed. The organizers announced today that the fair will run on June 17-20 in 2018 and on June 23-26 in 2019.
Another sign of continued interest in the show is the fact the number of applications received for the OutDoor Awards has remained above the threshold of 300 and only 20 below the level of last year, in spite of the shorter time given for the development of the prototypes. It remains to be seen how many retailers will come to Lake Constance to see the latest novelties, to discuss cooperation with the brands and, possibly, to place orders so early during their selling season.
Meanwhile, the organizers report that a higher number of companies are going to exhibit in the watersports area of the fair. They have also announced a couple of new initiatives as part of a new “OutDoor Plus” concept, intended to expand the range of themes covered by the fair and to build up synergies with other sectors.
Next month's show will feature for the first time a dedicated running section, based on the notion that many brands of running footwear are now offering shoes for trail running as well as road running. Even Salomon, the leading brand of trail running shoes, is reportedly working on a project to launch a new line of road running shoes, starting perhaps in China, while working on a 3D-manufacturing project for customized shoes.
As a newcomer to the OutDoor fair, On will be one of the new exhibitors in the small new “Running Center” in Hall B4. The concept is backed by Lauf-Profis, the group of running specialist retailers sponsored by Sport 2000 Germany, which will also have a stand there. Hopefully, the new concept will attract other fast-growing players in the sector like Hoka One One, which stopped showing at OutDoor due to apparently low attendance at its booth in the past few years.
Visitors are also being invited to unwind in a new open-air “Hangout” area located in the inner court of the fair, between Halls A5 and B3. Created in partnership with the Scandinavian Outdoor Group, it will feature the camping-oriented product presentations of 22 firms – only half of them Scandinavian – in a chill-out zone where people will also be able to relax, meet friends and enjoy good food.
A respected outdoor expedition chef, Kieran Creevy, will organize the first European Outdoor Cooking Championships. He will also offer outdoor cooking workshops on all four days of the show, using equipment and tools from some of the exhibitors, such as Light My Fire Sweden. Nordic Pocket Saw, a newcomer to the fair, will hold a four-day chainsaw competition using its newly launched, manually-operated pocket chain saw.
As always, a big OutDoor Party will be held in the evening of the third day of the fair. This time, however, Gore-Tex will take the place of Polartec as its sponsor.