ispo summer show attendance down, energy not bad

Despite slightly lower attendance numbers for its first summer show that pushed weeks earlier than before, ispo promoted new activities, forums and segments to keep interest and energy high in many areas.
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Despite slightly lower attendance numbers for its first summer show that pushed weeks earlier than before, ispo promoted new activities, forums and segments to keep interest and energy high in many areas.

More than 1,200 exhibitors from 44 countries put out their wares in nine halls for 30,000 registered visitors, down from last summer's 34,985. The winter show fills nearly 14 halls. International visitors once again tipped the scale at approximately 17,000 or more than 56 percent of visitors compared to last year's 54 percent. Overall, visitor count was slightly lower than last year, which show management attributed partly to the slightly depressed economy worldwide. Running from June 29 to July 1, the show was three days for the first time, and attracted 10,000 visitors per day, compared to last year's 8,700 daily visitors over four days. The show was also open later – until 7 p.m. each day – to help account for one less day of business.

"The presence of international key accounts and buyers contributed greatly to both a higher qualified and interested public and an increase in contacts between industry and trade," said Manfred Wutzlhofer, chairman of the trade show management group. "Almost the entire sales volume and decision-making competence were present in Munich. On this basis, the signs for the future point once more towards growth."

Although some had been pessimistic about the show's success at such an early date, reports floated in to SNEWS that many were surprised and, yes, satisfied by the results, energy, and "quality" of visitor.

"It was better than expected," was the comment heard frequently by one attendee. "There was a lot more going on than expected," another reported. To accommodate the pessimists, some wondered if their reaction was more positive because their expectations had been lower.

The new (as of Winter) running segment, which also incorporated walking, bustled with visitors, and the new Nordic Walking area drew mixed reviews with some reporting it was dead and others saying it was non-stop action. Go figure. A Nordic Walking course was set up with exhibitors (such as Odlo, Leki, Komperdell, Hi-Tec, Merrell, Meindl, and Tao Technical Wear) also nabbing spaces there to display poles, clothes and shoes to participants.

Fitness was quiet as a mouse and an exhibitor told SNEWS the show is always a "non-starter for fitness equipment." The biggest clamor during the summer show seemed to circulate around action sports, with skateboarding taking over an entire hall and offering the noise and action to accompany it.

Regarding outdoor, it was reported to SNEWS that only a few of the big guns were there, such as Columbia, Lowa and Meindl, and a few companies opted for what were called "mini-stands." Most booths, mini or maxi, managed enough action to keep exhibitors – how should we say it? – not unhappy.

Winners of several annual awards were also announced with adidas, Chung Sui and Schoeller taking the ispo Outdoor Awards. Chung Sui won the footwear category for its balance-step, an all-around sports shoe that offers a special type of sole that is said to stimulate acupressure points and reduces loads on the spinal column. Schoeller won in the textiles category for its NanoSphere equipment, which has a self-cleaning principle. adidas won in the specials category for its Elevation ClimaCool sunglasses, which offer protection for mountain climbers whose eyes are often exposed to extreme conditions.

Some shoe companies like Reebok, Fila and Pony returned to the show, and retailer The Athlete's Foot, opened a booth in the running segment. The company is apparently discussing global franchising opportunities.

The day before the show Volvo put on its second Design Forum, attracting some 300 attendees for 10 hours, once again with keynote by Henrik Otto of Volvo, with the topic "New Materials and Technologies – The Influence in Performance, Look and Feel as well as the Advantages for the User." At the winter show, the forum was on a show day, but that meant that if you wanted to see the show, it was difficult to get into the forum, resulting in this change. Volvo also sponsored a trail race on June 30 that attracted 100 four-person teams and 424 runners for the 5.3-mile cross-country race.

Other opinions on the show from ispo:
"The date chosen for the trade fair was ideal. One of the advantages is that for the first time the ordering in the running sector begins after the ispo. The entire major decision-makers in the German and European specialist retailers were present at the trade fair and worked with maximum concentration," said Werner Haizmann, president of the VDS, the association of German specialty retailers.

"The ispo has gone even better than expected. We are very satisfied and received extremely positive feedback for our appearance. The quality of our contact with customers is very high and we were able to consolidate all major contacts," said Herbert Horeld, country manager for Haglöfs.

"For me, ispo has been extremely useful for research regarding new business opportunities, both at home in the U.S. as well as potentially overseas. I loved the diverse characters of the show," said Mike Morford, president of altrec.com.

The ispo winter '04 is being held from Feb. 1-4. More info is available at www.ispo.com.

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