The OutDoor fair in Friedrichshafen will see the launch of a new outdoor market research project by EDM Publications, publisher of the Outdoor Industry Compass. It is expected to provide unprecedented details and insights into the scope, the dynamics and the most interesting players in up 23 outdoor markets in Europe, depending on the response of the outdoor industry to this new initiative of ours.

The first report, covering the Swedish market and available for perusal at the trade show, is part of a volume that will further comprise four other Nordic countries. EDM Publications' research in these markets is partly supported by the Scandinavian Outdoor Group (SOG), making the Nordic reports all the more insightful (and cheaper).

The findings are largely based on journalistic investigations, drawing on EDM's many years of experience in covering the outdoor business and producing market research reports on broader sporting goods markets in all European countries, as well as in India and Brazil.

The reports provide detailed facts and figures, as well as valuable analysis on the strategies adopted by the brands, distributors and retailers in each country, and ways to approach them most efficiently. They are based on documentary research as well as on scores of interviews with executives of outdoor companies, retailers and other sources in each of the countries.

The series is starting with the Nordic countries because of a lack of accurate and detailed information in these important markets for outdoor sports. They are amazingly buoyant compared with the size of their population, due to active participation and strong demand for technical products as well as outdoor lifestyle garments, due in part to local weather conditions.

Here are some extracts from the executive summary, which is available at the stands of the Outdoor Industry Compass in Foyer West (FW 100) and the Scandinavian Outdoor Group in Hall A5 - 314 in the Scandinavian Village.

• Swedish outdoor participation is varied and buoyant, with studies estimating that more than 90% of all Swedes go hiking at least once a year, and more than 60% of them do so at least six times per year…

• Owing to active participation and interest in technical products, the market is much larger than the size of its population might suggest…

• Fashion trends have played in favor of outdoor and outdoor-inspired clothing, pushing Swedish sales of outdoor lifestyle products like urban down jackets and more recently parkas by outdoor brands…

• The Swedish outdoor market is animated by a gaggle of home-grown brands, which have become familiar in many other countries in the last years but have raised their profile and expanded their sales in Sweden as well. Their approach of the outdoor market may provide inspiration way beyond Sweden…

• The scarcity of foreign brands makes the market appear somewhat impenetrable, but specialist brands have found their way to Swedish consumers in the last years with distinctive products and in other ways....

• The market has seen growing segmentation, as consumers increasingly demand products that are very specifically adjusted to their own requirements, and the targets have diversified in terms of age groups...

• The Nordic outdoor markets still have very strong national characteristics, but there is increasing interaction between them in terms of distribution and retailing, and Sweden is often at the center of these developments…

• The sports and outdoor market has been shaken up by the arrival of several large-scale entrants in the last years, putting pressure on prices, but the state of flux is also creating opportunities for outdoor brands…

• Another trend in the same direction is the increasing polarization of the market in price positioning…

MORE IN THE EXECUTIVE SUMMARY AND IN THE REPORT ITSELF