The stage is set for this year’s edition of the European Outdoor Summit. Organized by the British Outdoor Industries Association (OIA), the conference will take place in Sheffield, England, from Oct. 13-15. In an interview with ISPO Newsblog, Tobias Gröber, head of the consumer goods business unit at Messe München, explains why the outdoor sector is critical for the development of the sports industry – and why Great Britain plays a leading role in the evolution of European business.
This year, ISPO is a Gold Sponsor at the European Outdoor Summit in Sheffield, UK. What has inspired ISPO to take this step and what do you think of the venue in the United Kingdom?
We have been an established partner of this event ever since the first European Outdoor Forum took place in France. The decision-makers within the international outdoor industry come together there, and we at the ISPO team can benefit from this gathering and also contribute towards it.
The outdoor exhibitors take center-stage at our trade shows ISPO MUNICH, ISPO BEIJING and ISPO SHANGHAI, and we support the outdoor industry by providing our services as a year-round partner. The EOS offers the ideal setting for further cementing these links.”
Tobias Gröber, executive director business unit consumer goods, Messe München
ISPO greatly welcomes the fact that this year’s summit will take place in Sheffield. The United Kingdom represents one of the most important markets in the European outdoor business. Especially in the relatively new health & fitness segment, the island nation’s sportspeople play a key role. This is a societal shift, which ISPO perceived early on, dedicating an entire hall to it at ISPO MUNICH. In this area, the significant trend for wearables also sets the tone. As a means of self-control and self-improvement within sports and everyday life, it is increasingly popular and has given new impetus to the outdoor market.
Catchphrase: new impetus. What challenges does the outdoor industry face?
After 15 years of strong growth, the outdoor industry is currently experiencing a phase of consolidation. Competition has become more fierce both within the retail sector and between offline and online trading. It is therefore all the more important in these times that the outdoor industry creates a tightly meshed network and exchanges information. The EOS is the ideal platform for this.
ISPO also focuses on topics like increasing digitization, urbanization, new markets in Asia or multi segmentation. We respond to changing market conditions with our services and we support the outdoor industry with our professional competence, as for example, with our further training platform ISPO ACADEMY or the crowd sourcing platform ISPO OPEN INNOVATION and our year-round consumer platform ISPO COMMUNITY.
ISPO OPEN INNOVATION is a response to increasing digitization in the sports industry. In what way can the outdoor industry profit from this service?
ISPO OPEN INNOVATION offers the outdoor industry the opportunity to implement innovations more rapidly and successfully in order to gain a competitive advantage over other industries. This independent online platform set up by ISPO brings brands closer to the consumer. Here, companies from the sports and outdoor industries pick up ideas from the outside in order to offer even better products in the future.
At ISPO OPEN INNOVATION, the customer’s opinion is highly valued because the customer knows what a new product should look like and how it should work. The knowledge and expertise of the sports community is made use of via web-based crowd sourcing throughout the whole year. Members can contribute ideas and suggestions for products, or test them thoroughly before their launch onto the market.
Particularly in the outdoor sector, customers are becoming more and more sophisticated and are very critical when choosing their products. The end consumer’s active integration into the development process has the potential to create a very new type of brand loyalty.
The aim is to move from customer loyalty to consumer engagement. Thus, ISPO OPEN INNOVATION also takes up the specific challenges the industry has to meet: in order to counter the ageing market, it is possible to address the young target group directly and connect with it via digital participation. Brand products can also be given a clear profile in an over saturated market. This strengthens the company brand, generates new followers and increases the companies’ publicity.