New research has been released, revealing that the European outdoor sector experienced significant growth in 2017.  The European Outdoor Group (EOG) has published figures from its latest State of Trade report, which indicate that the wholesale outdoor market grew by 7.2% in value* and 6.7% in volume.  The 2017 State of Trade results offer a contrast to the flat market of 2015 and modest growth (3% in value) in 2016.  Last year, the wholesale outdoor market was worth €5.86bn.  Based on the wholesale figures, the estimated retail value of the outdoor market in 2017 was €12.3bn.  State of Trade uses data from 115 brands from across Europe, analysing sell-in information for seven main categories and 48 separate sub-categories.

Countries and regions

The largest three individual country markets are Germany, France and the UK, which together represent 50% of the sector.  Germany grew by 3% in value, the same growth that was experienced in 2016.  Conditions were more challenging in France with a dip in value of 2%.  In contrast, the UK enjoyed a very good year, growing by 8%, above the average of 6.7%.  Despite variations among individual countries such as those outlined above, all regions reported growth in value and volume.   

Category development

All product categories experienced year on year growth, with the exception of tents.  Footwear performed strongest, recovering well after a decline in 2016, with double digit growth in value.  There was a similar story for sleeping bags, again following a decline in 2016.  Apparel, the largest category, grew by 5% in value and 6.7% in volume, after a particularly strong autumn/winter season, helped by the good seasonal conditions.  The decline of tent sales was underpinned by a difficult start to the spring/summer season in 2017, particularly in the UK, which is the biggest market for the category.  Typically, spring/summer represents around 70% of tent sales.

Since its launch, State of Trade has developed into the most comprehensive and robust market data project for the European outdoor sector.  As well as analysing the data that was submitted, the EOG also sought expert opinion from across the industry to peer review figures.  That work helped to validate that the numbers and growth in 2017 was in line with the expectations of those who were consulted.

Pauline Shepherd, EOG head of market research, comments: “The 2017 State of Trade results are very encouraging and showcase a vibrant and successful sector.  We are always exploring how we can improve the project and with EOG members, we are currently assessing how we can use technology to enhance data collection and continue to develop the product categories.

“In addition, as we now have a number of retail members, we are currently running a pilot project to develop sell through reporting.  Any retailers who are interested should get in touch and as the project progresses, we will share more updates.”

To find out more about the EOG’s market research programme, contact marketresearch@europeanoutdoorgroup.com or call Pauline Shepherd on +44 (0) 7798 668999.