It will be interesting to check the estimates of the European Outdoor Group about the European outdoor market, which we are probably going to publish in the Compass during the OutDoor show in Friedrichshafen on Friday. While the EOG figures are largely based on data supplied by the outdoor brands, those of the NPD Group are based on a consumer panel covering 34 European countries, including Russia but excluding Turkey.

According to NPD's consumer panel, consumption of shoes, clothing and equipment for hiking, walking and camping fell by 1 percent in value in Europe last year. Aside from Russia, where the outdoor market is booming, all the other countries followed the general negative trend. Sales of performance-oriented outdoor clothing declined even in the rather buoyant German market. Sales of outdoor shoes went up instead in Germany as well as in France.

Officials of NPD declined to provide other details from its study of the outdoor market, but pointed out that these trends are worrisome considering the fact that average selling prices went up by about 2 percent last year and that the overall sporting goods market rose by 3 percent, according to its estimates.

NPD's definition of the outdoor market is bigger than that of the EOG, which is similar to the one that we have adopted for our new study of the Nordic outdoor market. Besides hiking, trekking, climbing and camping, it also covers other outdoor sports such as hunting and fishing whose products are sold in the sports retail circuit. It also includes all winter sports and marine sports such as scuba diving and sailing.

Based on this definition, the total European outdoor market fell in 2011 by 1 percent to €14.7 billion, VAT included. Sales of snowboard products declined by 6 percent and the rest of the snowsports market by 2 percent (for more information, contact renaud.vaschalde@npd.com).