European Outdoor Group 2018 Annual Assembly update

The European Outdoor Group (EOG) held its Annual Assembly ahead of ISPO MUNICH, which was attended by 83 representatives of the brands, retailers, technology brands and national associations that make up its membership.

During the meeting, the EOG board and executive updated members on a range of issues, and outlined priorities and plans for 2018.

The key topics covered during the EOG Annual Assembly were:

  • Vision 2020 and the future of OutDoor
  • Market research – initial indications of positive market performance in 2017
  • CSR and sustainability – updates on work on microfibres/microplastics and the development of new public resources on recycled down and wool, and chemical use in product manufacture
  • #itsgreatoutthere – news of progress made by the It’s Great Out There Coalition.

Vision 2020

At the EOG Annual Assembly, members were presented with proposals for the long-term future of OutDoor by three potential partners – Messe Friedrichshafen, Messe Hamburg and Messe München.  There followed an opportunity for those at the meeting to ask questions and discuss the relative merits of the options.

Following ISPO, EOG members will participate in a secure digital voting process that will run from 1 February, during which they will be asked to vote with their preferred options for OutDoor.  This stage will be managed by an independent provider of electoral services (Electoral Reform Services) and the result will be announced by 14 February at the latest.  The successful partner will run the OutDoor platform from 2019.

John Jansen, EOG president, comments: “The Vision 2020 process has been comprehensive, robust and transparent.  It has looked at all aspects of what our sector needs from OutDoor and has thoroughly reviewed the definition of what a trade show platform needs to deliver in a rapidly changing market.  The three potential partners embraced the challenge that we set them and presented their visions of how to elevate OutDoor into a true focus point for thought leadership in our sector for the long-term, while also delivering a sustainably successful trade show.  The final decision about the future direction of OutDoor now lies in the hands of the EOG membership, in the final stage of a truly democratic process.”

Market research

EOG members were presented with results of a new survey of 50 brand members of the association, which indicate that 2017 was a year of positive sell-in growth for the outdoor market:

  • 47% of brands reported growth of over 5.1% and 32% reported growth of between 2.5% and 5%

  • All categories experienced growth and that was strongest in hardware and apparel

  • 85% of respondents reported that the winter 2017/18 season is performing better so far compared to last year

  • 91% expect 2018 to perform much better (47%) or slightly better (44%) than 2017.

While the survey does not provide a full picture of the performance of the outdoor market in 2017 (and only represents sell-in information), it does indicate that the sector has experienced good growth in the last 12 months, reinforced by a strong winter so far.  When asked what was driving growth, survey respondents highlighted increased participation in hiking, trail running and climbing, and a greater appetite for outdoor activities among urban populations.  Sustainability issues were also cited as driving sales more than in the past.

In February, the EOG’s industry leading State of Trade project will start collecting a full set of data for 2017 from over 115 brands, for seven main categories and 48 sub-categories.  Results from State of Trade 2017 will be released at OutDoor in June.

Meanwhile, the next phase of the EOG’s Retail Sales Barometer is in development.  Thanks to the increased number of its retail members, the association has been able to enhance this initiative, which provides an insight into sell-through performance in the market.  The EOG intends to publish the next set of results at OutDoor.

CSR and sustainability

During the Annual Assembly, EOG members were provided with an update on the association’s CSR and sustainability activities.  The EOG is playing a central role in industry-wide work relating to several hot topics:

  • Outdoor Industry Microfibre Consortium.  This is an EOG-led initiative that has attracted broad membership and wide support.  Working collaboratively with stakeholders, the consortium is undertaking research projects designed to improve industry understanding of the challenges that microfibres present to the textile sector and find sustainable solutions to those.  The consortium is also playing an active role in engaging with policy makers and media on the subject and the EOG is central to that work.
  • Microplastics cross industry agreement.  The EOG is a signatory to this agreement (launched on 16 January) by outdoor, sports and textiles trade bodies, which outlines a commitment to combat microplastic release during the washing of synthetic textiles.  The organisations involved are now cooperating closely on research work, and engaging with the European Commission (EC), to influence European policy making in relation to polyester use.
  • Launch of enhanced member and public resources.  With relevant partners, the EOG has developed, and is continuing to expand, a library of documents that provide vital up to date information on sustainability issues relating to the manufacture of outdoor products:
  1. The Recycled Down Guide has been completed and is now available on the EOG website here
  2. The Chemicals in Textile Production Guide is being launched at ISPO and will be available online immediately after the show
  3. The Recycled Wool Guide is in development and will be launched in due course.


EOG members were briefed on the progress and plans of the It’s Great Out There Coalition.  Since its launch at ISPO MUNICH 2017 with its first 12 Founding Members, coalition membership has grown to 34 and the organisation is now officially an International Non-Profit Association with a base in Brussels.

Coalition plans for 2018 include:

  • Ongoing collaboration with the EC as a key partner of the European Week of Sport
  • The allocation of more #itsgreatoutthere grants to support projects that take new people into the outdoors
  • High profile collaboration on like-minded initiatives designed to engage and inspire, such as:
  1. #GetOutside with Ordnance Survey
  2. #MyFirst with MyOutdoors and other media and partners
  3. The curation of an international #itsgreatoutthere photography collection on Unsplash.

European Outdoor Summit 2018

Association members were reminded that this year’s European Outdoor Summit (EOS) will be held in Malmo, Sweden, from 19-20 September.  The 2017 EOS in Treviso was hailed the best in the event’s history, building on the success of previous years.  2018 will see the sixth EOS and the theme for the summit will be ‘Activate the Population’.  Full details of the programme will be posted on www.europeanoutdoorsummit.com once they are confirmed and places at the event will also be booked on the website.

Other EOG matters

During the EOG Annual Assembly, Jean-Marc Pambet and Eddy Codega were re-elected as vice president and treasurer respectively, and Richard Leedham and Martin Axelhed were re-elected to the board.