ISPO Munich, the world’s largest trade fair for sporting goods.
85,000 visitors from 120 countries. 18 exhibition halls of the Messe München showcasing a plethora of sporting goods. Brands big and small.
For more than 40 years ISPO Munich has consistently strengthened its leading position: It is a global platform for the industry and a popular meeting place for sports business professionals from all over the world, driving innovation and hosting exciting events.
I first started coming here in the mid-nineties – perhaps this year was even my silver anniversary! Over time my reasons to visit might have changed yet the show still remains a cornerstone of my domestic and international business effort and a place to reflect and plan.
A place to connect with contacts, past and present.
A place to look at new opportunities and revisit some old encounters.
A place to “check in” with the sporting good community.
A place to (maybe) find the next new thing.
The show is effectively split into six segments:
ISPO Munich manufacturing and suppliers
Suppliers from China, Taiwan, Pakistan, Hong Kong, India and further afield arrive with their varied wares.
Many simply fill their 30kg airline baggage allocation with as many samples as they can (usually just a small representation) and sit within their 3x3m shell scheme waiting to either meet existing customers or to tempt new customers.
(By the way if you are ever looking for a bargain hang around these halls on Wednesday afternoon and see what you can pick up. I’ve seen locals walking off the show with anything from treadmills to snowboards as its cheaper for many suppliers to sell or give away these items on the last day than it is to ship them home)
For me this area continues to thrive.
The trend of brands becoming retailers and retailers becoming brands makes this area more and more appealing even for the smaller businesses.
Add the fact that many suppliers are prepared to offer smaller and small Minimum Order Quantities (MOQ’s) and it is now easier than ever for a retailer to fill some product range holes with high margin own label lines.
Of course there is an element of risk – trust in the supply chain is critical – and an element of hassle/ cash tied up/lead times etc. However, this can easily be overcome.
And once the first few shipments have come in the process becomes easier and easier.
ISPO Munich trends, innovation and industry services
Its not just the sourcing halls where I have noticed a wider range of customers and more footfall.
Perhaps the most exciting addition to ISPO Munich’s range: the “Trends, Innovation & Industry Services” segment in the new Hall C6 offers a glimpse into the future of the sports industry.
This year’s crowd-pullers were the successful competition ISPO Brandnew Digital, the esports arena, providers of digital solutions and services around the entire product value chain as well as the unique training and innovation platforms: the sportmas Retail Lab and the ISPO Academy.
This, of course, allows the shows organises to continue to attract new blood to the show but it can also throw up some interesting new trends.
ISPO Munich snowsports
Spread across five halls, this segment reveals the changing face of the winter sports sector, as the boundaries between skiing, snowboarding, sledding, crosscountry skiing, and winter hiking become more blurred, and a steady flow of new activities and trends emerge.
This segment has always been the true heartbeat of the show in my eyes.
The outdoor segment continues to be one of the focal points at ISPO Munich
Alongside the Snowsports segment this area represents the largest brand offer with everything from ultra-light cookers and SUP (stand-up paddle) boards to climbing skins for touring skis and multi-functional, all season jackets on display, retailers and members of the press can explore the broad spectrum of the industry in the Outdoor halls.
ISPO Munich health and fitness
A booming health and fitness sector allows ISPO Munich to present a credible and innovative health fair that shows trends within this segment, which covers wearables, running, urban fitness, and body and mind.
ISPO Munich urban
As a relatively new area of focus ISPO Munich is attempting to develop and nurture this category developing its new Urban exhibition area where sport meets fashion in an exclusive special exhibition called Urban Lab.
ISPO Munich teamsports
As far as the sporting goods industry is concerned, team sports are a key economic factor, bringing in profit all year round and thus, whilst this area arguably lacks the presence of some of the major European players it does cover football, hockey, floorball, basketball, tennis, table tennis, badminton, volleyball, or ice hockey and more.
ISPO Munich vision
At ISPO Munich, Vision is home to the world of premium sportswear. Professionals and retailers can feast their eyes on next season’s collections in the premium clothing segment in Hall B1.
There were some this year that suggested that numbers were down and, indeed, at certain times this did feel the case.
Perhaps Brexit kept some away, a large dump of snow delayed many arriving on the opening Sunday, and the challenging European economy may have had an impact.
But ISPO, as a group, continues to thrive with Fairs in Beijing and Shanghai and a new Outdoors how this summer adding to the global offer.
Its easy sometimes to reflect on business challenges in our domestic market and lose site of the bigger picture.
ISPO is a great time to remove oneself from those thoughts and plan for the year ahead.
I’ll see you there next year!