Topping out at 438 exhibitors -- a leap of nearly 14 percent over 2006 -- the FIBO fitness and wellness show in Germany showed the economy was likely ready to shoulder another upswing in sales in the exercise and health sector.
Trade visitors at the show April 19-22, 2007, in the northwestern town of Essen were up 4 percent and, with a two-day weekend opening for the public to shop and gawk, total attendance of both trade and consumers hit 45,000. That was down about 1,000 from last year's show with a drop in consumer numbers that was blamed on sunny and warm spring weather. Sixty-three percent of total attendees were trade visitors, with strong increases from Eastern Europe and Asia and an accelerated demand from Germany itself.
U.S.-based suppliers turned out in force to show their products, lining 765,852 of exhibition space in 10 halls with equipment, accessories, apparel, sports nutrition, wellness gear and supplements, with large activity and show areas taking up some halls.
For Vectra Fitness, FIBO attendance was a way to meet current and potential distributors -- a goal that was successful, said Vectra's Buell Ish.
"We're there to maintain contact with distributors and to find additional ones," Ish told SNEWS®. "The numbers in the aisles were high. It did seem like attendance was up."
SportsArt Fitness' director of marketing Scott Logan agreed that the show seemed extremely busy not only for the company but in general. The company used the show to introduce its distributors to the product and to continue its sales of its commercial selectorized strength line that, Logan said, sells as many units in Germany alone as it does in the United States.
"It was a very successful show for SportsArt," Logan said. "We used it for the European launch of our Xtreme Series Cardio products. We also utilized our FIBO meetings to roll out all of our new marketing and advertising themes, most of which will be used by our European friends. This will go a long way towards building a cohesive global message, and reinforce the brand in all markets."
The show's traditional Innovation Awards in three categories -- training equipment, health promotion and sports nutrition -- were chosen from 42 nominations and awarded on April 20 to the Nautilus TreadClimber 916, training equipment; Kettler's training software "Tour Concept," health promotion; and LSP Sports Nutrition's VASO NO-X complex supplement, sports nutrition.
Other finalists in the equipment category were Life Fitness Summit Trainer and Absolo's individual medicine ball training workout system; in the health promotion category, Amer's Suunto Team POD system and SMT Medical's SenseWear calorie-counting Armband; and in sport nutrition were Peak Performance's Tonic protein bar and StarVital's supplement system. To read more about the finalists and winners, click here.
Vibrating all over the floor
Vibration training continued to make a big hit, with more platforms introduced as well as a vibrating treadmill like the one SNEWS® covered at the Denver Health & Fitness Business show called the "Shaking Treadmill," which came from Sing Lin of Taiwan. We're not sure if it's the same one, but we do know the Sing Lin company was looking for someone to partner with to distribute the machine.
The country's Bild Newspaper -- a bit like the U.S.'s National Enquirer with a specialty that has been called "sex, smut and shock" -- had its own version of FIBO coverage, using ex-porno star Kelly Trump to walk the show and test equipment for them, posing for photos, such as one on the vibrating treadmill, which she called "her favorite piece," adding "this really makes fitness fun." About Precor's AMT, Trump said, "Crazy, what the fitness industry thinks of." We're, of course, not sure why an EX-porno star's opinion is vital. Or even why a porno star's opinion matters.
A show survey of attendees indicated that the dry spell of the recent years was perhaps over, with more than 70 percent of respondents noting optimistically they expected some amount of turnaround in the industry. Only 6 percent said things would get worse. In addition, 40 percent of buyers attending said they were ready to spend money on new equipment and gear at the show, while 73 percent said they would be investing in new equipment immediately after the show.
Among exhibitors surveyed, more than 85 percent said they would rate the show as "very good" or "good."
Next year's FIBO show will take place April 10-13, 2008. For more, go to www.fibo.de.