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OutDoor by ISPO concept for 2025

The European Outdoor Group (EOG) and Messe Munich have shared more details of their new concept for OutDoor by ISPO, as the first stage of consultation on the proposals has begun.

Since announcing the outline concept during this year’s event, the show partners have been engaging with brand and retail stakeholders, with an ongoing feedback loop that is helping to refine the concept. Already, the overall response from consultees has been positive, demonstrating a strong appetite in the sector to collaborate and ensure that its international trade fair has a successful long-term future.

During this year’s OutDoor by ISPO, the EOG and Messe Munich unveiled plans to make fundamental changes to the format of the show, designed to sustain its position as a high value platform for all parts of the outdoor sector. The two partners made a commitment to consult on the new concept, through the main OutDoor by ISPO Advisory Council, and a new OutDoor by ISPO Retailer Council. That process began immediately, and the EOG also conducted a survey of its members, who overwhelmingly expressed the view that they care about the future of the show, and that unity within the industry is essential for a successful event.

During the first stage of the consultation, the show partners shared more information about quantifiable objectives that they aim to achieve with the changes to OutDoor by ISPO. These include a 20-30% increase in retailer attendance, a 20% increase in the number of exhibitors (with a particular focus on brands), and a targeted reduction in costs of 20% for exhibitors.

Brand and retailer consultees have agreed that OutDoor by ISPO is a platform that can remain hugely relevant for all parts of the outdoor trade if the right changes are implemented. There is consensus that the show must deliver more return on investment, better efficiency, an improved balance of the financial burden, and more representation by both brands and retailers. There is also a clear acceptance that the show is very relevant to many individual functions within businesses and can better cater for and market to them.

The consultation feedback has been very supportive of the proposals for a radically different built environment at the show. Brands have expressed support for the new in-hall format, designed to improve the visitor experience and make participation more accessible to many more exhibitors. The changes include ‘freestyle’ areas, which will introduce size limitations and focus on smaller displays, showcasing innovation and product concepts, with deeper brand storytelling.

All consultees have welcomed the plans to introduce many more meeting spaces, including pre-built meeting rooms that can be booked for appointments by the hour, day or full show. While initially designed as an extra attraction for brands and other stakeholders, this development has been warmly received by retailers, who currently have no secure base for their team members who visit the show. Under the new proposals, they will be able to rent a comfortable place to work from, away from the main parts of the halls. The introduction of additional meeting spaces is also part of a wider strategy to better balance the burden of cost, ensuring that anyone who attends the event to do legitimate business, contributes to its financial viability.

Retailers have also made it clear that they want to attend an event that will help them increase sales and service levels, and not simply act as a buying opportunity. Plans to enhance the conference programme within the show have been well received, with content that includes more retail-specific topics, offering practical ideas and solutions. The subjects that are of most interest – and which are also relevant to other visitors and exhibitors – include retail technology/digitization, social media know how, and the latest insights and ideas relating to the in-store experience and point of purchase.

Alongside changes to the format, key to the project will be the introduction of a new approach to customer relationship marketing that will improve the ability of show organisers to directly target different audiences within the industry with relevant, bespoke communications about the show and how to engage with it. This change is not simply about new software or a bigger database, but a concerted effort to create ongoing dialogue between the show and all of its key stakeholders.

Tobias Groeber, Executive Director Consumer Goods at the ISPO Group, comments: “We have been really encouraged by the level of engagement and enthusiasm that there has been for our vision to reshape OutDoor by ISPO. Crucially, this has come from all parts of the industry, and from all over Europe. Brands, retailers, and other shareholders in the show have all offered positive feedback, along with with constructive suggestions of how to enhance the concept even more. The consultation will continue and is a key element of finalising the format of the show, which will be ready to launch in full in October.”

EOG President Matt Gowar adds: “Everyone who has contributed to this process so far has recognised that the agreed mechanism for addressing major topics such as the European outdoor industry’s international trade show, is through collaboration and unity. It has been clear so far that colleagues recognise how important OutDoor by ISPO is to our sector and want it to succeed. That can only be achieved by working together and the threat of fragmentation has much wider and more serious implications. We are keeping our promise to fully engage and consult, and so far, the overall response to that from across the trade has been very positive.”

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