This estimate of €14.2 billion by the authoritative market research company NPD means that the outdoor sector represents about 20 percent of the overall European sporting goods market, previously estimated at around €70 billion at retail, including VAT.

According to NPD, this sector grew by 1 percent in 2008, therefore scoring better than the general sporting goods market which declined by 1 percent, with double-digit declines for sport-inspired lifestyle clothing and footwear.

This new estimate concerns the sales of all kinds of outdoor products made to end consumers in 2008 and covers all the European countries, including Russia but excluding Turkey. In contrast to a survey publicized by NPD one year ago, the new figure for the outdoor market includes skis, snowboards and all other kinds of clothing, footwear and hardware for snow sports, whose sales grew last year to reach €3.5 billion.

Excluding snow-related items, the European outdoor market remained stable in 2008, says NPD, in contrast to a 3 percent increase in 2007.

Like a year ago, the definition of the outdoor market used by the NPD comprises categories that are not always considered as being part of it, such as fishing (all products) and sailing (only outerwear and footwear). It includes hunting clothing and footwear but no weapons or ammunition.

It excludes items for trail running, mountain biking, paragliding, kite-surfing and any summer board sports. When it comes to tents, backpacks and other outdoor equipment, the survey only covers what is sold in the sports specialty stores, but other channels of distribution are covered for outdoor shoes and clothing.

The definition of outdoor encompasses items sold by outdoor brands that are not used for outdoor activities as well as the outdoor-specific products developed by generalist sports brands such as Adidas or Nike.

NPD has already reported an estimate of $284 billion for the global sporting goods market (see the last issue of SGI Europe), but this year it is not giving out a new figure for the global outdoor market publicly, which it had estimated one year ago at €29.8 billion, excluding snow sports. NPD can provide these and other data by country and by sports category for a fee.