Five Takeaways From ISPO Munich 2018.
I am not long back from the annual ISPO winter sports trade fair which takes place in Munich every year around the end of January.
This is a chance for anyone involved in the Outdoor business to get a look at what is coming onto the market next winter, discuss local market requirements and develop contacts and relationships with people who might otherwise be just a name at the end of a press release or email.
For a small Irish company like Charles Camping this is a rare and welcome opportunity to look beyond a local perspective, into the collective crystal ball and try to figure emerging trends for coming seasons in the outdoor marketplace.
This show allows us to plan our range for the winter of 2019. We can consolidate the brands that we deal with already and look at new previously unconsidered brands that may have caught the eye whilst strolling around the halls of the Messe Muenchen showgrounds. For manufacturers it is a last or not quite last chance to draw the attention of buyers; bring new customers onto their stands and focus the attention of existing customers who may be encouraged to expand their ranges.
As the largest show of its kind in Europe it is not surprising that ISPO draws a very large crowd indeed; 2800 exhibitors took space and over 84,000 visitors passed through the doors over the four days of the fair. Manufacturers come from China, Pakistan, USA, and dozens of other countries and buyers come from every imaginable corner of Europe and often beyond.
One a personal level the show not only lets me make final decisions on ranging for winter 2019 but in the area of footwear gives me a chance to look at what is being worked on for years up to 2021. The early CADs and prototypes can often be a bit rough but the concepts being worked on are sometimes brilliant.
For delivery in September of 2018 most orders have to be done and dusted in February making the weeks following the return from Munich a bit hectic. For manufacturers though this period is even more hectic. Order patterns may mean that factory production of some items has to be increased whilst other things, which may have failed to generate sufficient orders get scrapped completely. I am currently a beneficiary of this as I am wandering around Blessington these days in a very warm, prototype jacket that will never be seen on the shop floor anywhere as the combination of style, price and performance just w