With 20,460 trade visitors from 87 countries, Europe’s leading outdoor sports trade fair OutDoor in Friedrichshafen, Germany, July 15-18, once again managed to top its attendance figure from the previous year (19,300). "In its role as the industry’s key barometer, OutDoor has sent out trendsetting signals worldwide,” summed up Messe Friedrichshafen CEO Klaus Wellmann.

Europe’s leading outdoor sports trade fair highlighted a renewed business enthusiasm that eclipsed previous financial woes, an eager exchange of information, and a 6% attendance increase. A total of 868 exhibitors (up 7%) from 39 countries presented more than 200 world premieres in Friedrichshafen. Among the many international outdoor specialists in attendance at the Lake Constance trade fair was mountain climbing legend Reinhold Messner. "I was amazed to see how many manufacturers there now are. The range of products and services today is practically endless, which means of course that the market is growing,” he said. “I think Friedrichshafen has managed to develop a really attractive and valuable trade fair here on Germany’s southern frontier.”

As an important trend, climbing and bouldering again seemed to be very strong with new products and new brands. Maloja, for example, presented its first climbing collection, while Salewa broadened the young bouldering and climbing collection La Mano. In the collections, a new trend towards lightweight insulation, even for the summer, was obvious. Patagonia, for years one of the leaders in lightweight insulation products, presented its new Ultralight Down Shirt, weighing no more than 150 grams (5.6oz). Other brands like Peak Performance, Klättermusen and Mammut also had insulation jackets with down or Primaloft in their collections. The fair also promoted “urban outdoor,” or the fusion of fashion and outdoor styles, as a new trend. To illustrate it, OutDoor and Sportswear International presented a fashion show blending fashion and outdoor brands in single outfits. The topic was further reinforced by a lecture.

Meanwhile, a great deal of information was exchanged at the trade fair stands, but also in the conference halls. Numerous trade visitors and exhibitors took part in the OutDoor Conferences, which addressed a wide variety of topics and featured many workshops. In addition to being held during the four days of OutDoor, the conference program began early starting before the show opened each day. "We are delighted that almost 450 people representing over 250 brands and suppliers attended the early morning breakfast events,” said Mark Held, secretary general, European Outdoor Group. "It is good to see that the exciting and interesting topics being covered at these early morning sessions have proved so popular and we will aim to continue with these going forward.”

“The atmosphere was again very relaxed and business-driven. Still, at many stands the retailers were buying, not only viewing the products. Our exhibitors are very pleased to have had profitable business discussions with a competent and international assembly of trade visitors,” reported Project Director Stefan Reisinger. "We deeply regret, however, that OutDoor happened to fall on the hottest days of the year thus far and that this led to some difficult working conditions for the exhibitors,” he added. "High temperatures have meant warm halls but, as always, Friedrichshafen has proved to be a very welcoming and professionally managed event,” said EOG President David Udberg.

A trade visitor survey carried out by an independent polling company revealed the international makeup of OutDoor. Sixty per cent of trade visitors in attendance travelled to Friedrichshafen from outside of Germany. Meanwhile, 98% of visitors judged the outdoor sports industry’s future development to be either “favorable” or “stable.” When asked whether their visit to OutDoor 2010 had been worthwhile, 90% responded positively, with 86% reporting their intentions to return to Lake Constance next year.

OutDoor 2011 will take place from July 14 to 17.