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Jun 12, 2018

Big changes for Outdoor Trade Show 2018

Marta Williams, Outdoor Trade Show organiser, talks to editor Mark Hayhurst about this year's event being held on July 3-5 at its new venue at EventCity Manchester and what it has to offer

How have the preparations gone for the show at the new venue?

It’s been a big change for us after 12 years at Stoneleigh Park, but so far so good! The team at EventCity have been really helpful and supportive in the run up to the show so we’re confident that we are in good hands!

What has the reaction been to the move?

We have had a fantastic reaction to the 2018 show so far, with many of last year’s exhibitors having rebooked and some increasing the size of their stands. It’s great to be welcoming a variety of new exhibitors to this year’s show too, which is likely to be due to the new North West location and the continued support from major retailers to bring their buying teams to the show. The move has also allowed us to incorporate ROKS which was previously held in Kendal and this has broadened the appeal to new exhibitors.

How many brands will be taking part?

Over 100 exhibitors have signed up so far - many of which showcase products from a lot of different brands, such as Bradshaw Taylor, Burton McCall, Mountain Boot Company and ProAgencies - we estimate around 500 brands in total.

What is on offer at this year’s show?

OTS 2018 highlights include the UK Outdoor Industry Awards - following the same successful format as last year, all products entered for the UK Outdoor Industry Awards 2019 will be displayed to visitors, who will be able to vote for their favourite products. The most popular products in each category will be presented at the OTS Party on July 4. Please visit www. theoia.co.uk/awards for further information.

Also there is the New Brands Area - a special area dedicated to new brands looking to showcase their products will once again be hosted at the show, providing smaller brands the opportunity to break into the market and showcase their new products to retailers and the press. Please visit www.outdoortradeshow.com/new-brands-area for further information.

How is it different from previous shows?

Aside from the new location, the show is now going to be in one larger hall, rather than two - and of course there are many new brands to see! It will differ in terms of layout and format.

What do you hope people will take away from the show this year?

That OTS is the place to be! It’s not only ideal for doing some serious business, but provides a great opportunity to network and really be a part of the outdoor industry.

How has the market changed over the 13 years that the show has been going?

There has always been a debate about dates, location and order deadlines - OTS started in September but is now held in the first week of July due to the demand from exhibitors and retailers and the change of dates of the European show. Many companies have consolidated and there are always newcomers joining the industry with innovative new products and technologies. Consolidation has also taken place at retail level and as a result there are less specialist independent shops in the market.

What future trends do you see in the marketplace?

We will have to wait and see! But there are definitely some trends that are noticeably on the rise, with an increased focus on sustainability, which is great to see. Protection of the environment is a very topical issue and many outdoor brands are investing in eco-friendly policies to help build a sustainable future.

Do you see an increase in people wanting to enjoy the outdoors?

Our partner, the Outdoor Industries Association (OIA), has been campaigning to get more people active outdoors over the past few years and has gained a great deal of support from Sport England and the Government as a result – with outdoor activity now being high on the agenda, it can only have a positive effect on consumer spending.

How is this manifesting?

Outdoor clothing is now designed for daily use, with specific kit for women and children. There’s a great influence from the high street and vice versa.

Will the show be putting themselves at the head of this increase in outdoor participation?

The target of the show is outdoor retailers, but we do have visitors from mainstream stores such as Tesco, TK Maxx and Decathlon that demonstrate interest. As a trade show we are keen to encourage and support an increase and many of our exhibitors and visitors are actively involved in camping and initiatives to promote an active outdoor lifestyle.

Entries for the uk outdoor industry awards 2019 are open

It’s time to find the best outdoor products of the year

The Outdoor Industries Association (OIA) has launched the 2019 UK Outdoor Industry Awards.

They are now open to entries from brands across the UK outdoor industry and will close on June 22, 2018.

Award categories include Accessories, Backpacks/ Travel Luggage/Bags, Camping Equipment, Climbing Equipment, Clothing, Footwear, Sleeping, and Tents/Awnings, Family Products, Digital Products.

Following the same format as previous years, all products entered will initially be displayed to over 1,000 visitors at the Outdoor Trade Show (OTS 2018), the UK’s largest outdoor trade exhibition, held over July 3-5, at EventCity, in Manchester. At the event a panel of expert judges will select the finalists in each category.

The products will then be displayed within a dedicated area to over 90,000 consumer visitors at the Caravan, Camping and Motorhome Show on February 19-24, 2019, allowing them to vote for their favourites in person, as well as online.

The 2018 Awards received 102 entries across the ten categories, as well as a great amount of media coverage and over 2,000,000 impressions on social media, before the panel of expert judges, including specialist outdoor retailers and journalists, proclaimed Katadyn’s BeFree bottle as the overall Product of the Year at the OIA Conference in March.

For further information and to download the entry form, please visit www theoia.co.uk/awards

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