OutDoor Show: Study highlights hiking's influence in Germany

A new study out of Germany, entitled "Hiking: A Market with a Bright Future," has provided the first reliable data on avid hikers and the economic aspects of hiking as a leisure and holiday market.
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Friedrichshafen, Germany – Hiking is Germany's favourite recreational activity. Some 40 million Germans regularly lace up their hiking boots and hit the trails. A new representative study entitled "Hiking: A Market with a Bright Future" has provided the first reliable data on avid hikers and the economic aspects of hiking as a leisure and holiday market. These results are also highly interesting for exhibitors at the OutDoor trade show in Friedrichshafen, where the top brands of the outdoor industry will meet on July 15-18, 2010.

The "Hiking: A Market with a Bright Future" study, commissioned by the German Hiking Association, provides reliable data and facts on the hiking market. The study's key result is that 39.8 million Germans, or 56 per cent of all respondents, rated themselves as "active hikers". "This means that hiking is Germany's favourite outdoor activity", says Dr. Hans-Ulrich Rauchfuss, Chairman of the German Hiking Association. The popularity of mountain recreational activities is also reflected by the large numbers of members in the German Alpine Association. "Over the past few decades, we've seen a steady increase in membership. With roughly 37,000 new members – that's a growth rate of 4.57 per cent – in 2009 we've even registered the largest increase in the history of the German Alpine Association", says Thomas Bucher, head of press and media contacts at the German Alpine Association.

There are often no clear-cut boundaries between the individual disciplines of walking, hiking and mountain climbing. But one thing is crystal clear: "Outdoor activities have become mainstream in today's society", says Messe Friedrichshafen CEO Klaus Wellmann. Friedrichshafen has hosted the OutDoor since 1994, helping it to become Europe's leading outdoor trade fair and an event that annually attracts the industry's top companies to Lake Constance.

International manufacturers use the OutDoor to present their product innovations for the coming season. One of these exhibitors is backpack manufacturer Deuter. "Hikers are by far the largest target group for Deuter. This means that hiking backpacks are the largest product group in our collection", says CEO Bernd Kullmann. According to the study conducted by the German Hiking Association, the most popular pieces of equipment include jackets (92 per cent), followed by day packs (80 per cent), hiking boots (72 per cent), sleeping bags (62 per cent) and hiking maps (58 per cent). No matter what product hikers purchase, the key criterion for outdoor gear is the right combination of quality and functionality.

Not all exhibitors, however, are coming to Lake Constance with special products exclusively for hikers. "Our target group includes everything from leisurely hikers to avid climbers. As a multi-specialist, we provide all products from a single source. Customers select from our collections to meet the demands of the terrain and their personal standards," says Stefan Rosenkranz, CEO of Salewa Sportgeräte GmbH.

A common thread among all manufacturers of outdoor equipment is their awareness of the attractiveness and enormous potential of the hiking market. One of the main results to emerge from the "Hiking: A Market with a Bright Future" study is that hikers spend an average of 92 euros a year on equipment. By taking this figure and extrapolating it to all hikers in Germany, researchers concluded that Germany currently has an annual total market volume of 3.7 billion euros. This amount does not include expenditures made by the rest of the population for outdoor equipment.

A total of 7,500 interviews were conducted for the "Hiking: A Market with a Bright Future" study, which was initiated by the German Hiking Association and supervised by the European Tourism Institute at the University of Trier.

The latest trends and product developments that manufacturers intend to use to shape the hiking market of the future can be viewed at the OutDoor trade fair on July 15-18, 2010 in Friedrichshafen. "A large number of exhibitors use the industry's top trade fair to debut new products and present their latest developments to trade visitors", says OutDoor Project Manager Stefan Reisinger. With 847 exhibitors from 39 countries, the leading international trade fair is enjoying record demand for booth space this year. The product showcase for the outdoor industry includes special lectures, presentations and discussion forums.

Further information is available at www.outdoor-show.com