European outdoor market larger than thought: Germany dominates; Poland emerges

German consumers and apparel sales dominate the European outdoor market, according to preliminary figures from the first Europe-wide survey of sales in 19 countries. SNEWS sat in on a preliminary release of data in Germany to find out more.

German consumers and apparel sales dominate the European outdoor market, according to preliminary figures from the first Europe-wide survey of sales in 19 countries.

The European Outdoor Group (EOG) released the figures at the 2011 OutDoor show in Friedrichshafen, Germany (, with the caveat that they were conservative and still to be reviewed over the next few months.

The group attempted to define specialty outdoor tightly, leaving out sales at mass merchants as well as pure snowsports product and ski companies. However, apparel that crosses over from outdoor to snowsports was included, said Mark Held, EOG executive director, when presenting the data.

“How you define outdoor makes a difference,” he said, “and the data you get is always subject to variance.”

The study was kicked off in 2010 (click here to see details about its launch and methodology) because the EOG and its member companies found broad sales data that would help the industry were completely lacking. The group ( asked both member and non-member companies to submit sales data for 2008, 2009 and 2010 to a third-party notary public who would eliminate information that would identify the company it belonged to.

Market value

Total market value for 2010 based on preliminary data is EUR 9.677 billion in retail sales (USD $13.8 billion), including taxes (or about EUR 4.582 billion, or USD $6.5 billion, in wholesale sales). That represents about 62 percent of total sales in Europe of outdoor gear and apparel. Other figures often include snowsports, as well as segments such as hunting and fishing, which these do not, Held said.

Of that figure, apparel represents 49 percent of sales, footwear 23 percent, and equipment 28 percent.


The apparel market has been estimated as having an adjusted value of EUR 4.774 billion at retail (USD $6.8 billion), including taxes. Germany represents the largest segment with retail sales of EUR 1.179 billion retail (USD $1.684), followed by the United Kingdom, France and Switzerland. Germany represents 25 percent of all sales, while the German-speaking core countries (Germany, Austria, and Switzerland) represent 36 percent of sales.


According to the statistics, more than 25.5 million pairs are sold with a retail value of EUR 2.505 billion (USD $3.578 billion). The largest markets are Germany, France, UK, Switzerland and Italy, in that order, accounting collectively for 55 percent of volume and 60 percent of value. Switzerland has the highest average price.


A total segment value has been estimated at 12.2 million units, valued at approximately EUR 550 million (USD $785.5 million). Preliminary figtures show sales volume increased 3.3 percent in 2009 and 6.1 percent in 2010, with value growing 12.1 percent and 10.8 percent, respectively. Germany accounts for the largest percentage with the United Kingdom second.

Sleeping bags and tents

Analysis at this point shows a segment value for sleeping bags of EUR 185 million (USD $264 million).

Tents have a market of more than 2 million units with an estimated value of EUR 288 million, retail (USD $411 million).

Climbing equipment

The value is estimated in euros of 230 million retail (USD $328.5 million), with Germany holding the largest market share at 20 percent, followed by France, Italy, Austria and Switzerland.

Other products

Lumped in as other was everything from lighting and food, to navigation and poles, with an estimated market value of EUR 1.478 billion (USD $2.11 billion).

How the countries compare

Across the board, Germany is No. 1 with EUR 2.293 billion retail (USD $3.275 billion) or EUR 1.521 billion wholesale (USD $2.172 billion). Behind Germany, in order, are the United Kingdom, France, Switzerland and Italy. If sales in Scandinavian countries were combined, the region as a whole would rank No. 4 with EUR 1.2 billion (USD $1.7 billion).

Among emerging countries, Poland ranks first with sales of EUR 158 million (USD $225.7 million, and the Czech Republic is second with EUR 154 million (USD $220 million).

For the report, approximately 80 companies representing 100 brands supplied sales data covering EUR 7.4 billion (USD $10.57 billion) in 19 countries and 11 product sectors. A final report is expected in November 2011, although only participants will get all of the detailed analysis. Topline information will be available to the industry.

(Conversion of Euro into U.S. dollars is for information only, is not necessarily relative to sales data, and is based on the currency rate as of July 22, 2011.)

-- Therese Iknoian


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