Under the motto: “New Perspectives on Sports”, the world’s leading sports trade fair offered a host of product innovations, a prominent conference program and many well-known athletes as guests from November 28 to 30. 1,700 international exhibitors and around 40,000 trade visitors from 117 countries celebrated a successful reunion of the sports community with the restart of ISPO Munich at the Munich exhibition center.
Sustainability and innovation were the top topics at the restart of ISPo Munich from November 28 to 30. It was clear to see there that within the sporting goods industry, the outdoor sector in particular is a pioneer when it comes to sustainability. And it’s not just about the innovative processing of environmentally friendly materials, but about the entire value chain, from the design to production and packaging. “Durability is the most important factor in sustainability,” as Rainer Gerstner, Senior Vice President Marketing at Schöffel, stressed at ISPO Munich, saying that it was up to the brands to make it clear to consumers that sustainability also costs more. Antje von Dewitz, CEO Vaude, added: “At the moment, sustainability is an add-on in the purchasing decision for most people.” She said, however, that this attitude was beginning to change especially in younger target groups.
The focus was also on sustainable business practices in the award of the newly designed ISPO Cup, which was presented on the evening of the first day of the trade fair to Patagonia for outstanding social commitment. The company has already stood for decades for the fight against the climate and environmental crisis. Ryan Gellert, CEO Patagonia: “We are humbled and honored to receive the ISPO Cup for this work. As an industry built on a shared love of the natural world, this is the moment for us all to be bold in our activism, in reducing our footprint and in supporting those working to save our home planet.”
It was clear to see that ISPO Munich has, in the meantime, become far more than just a product show for the sporting goods industry: It is the platform for driving forward partnerships, initiatives and innovations beyond the trade fair, and discussing current pressing issues. The ISPO Munich Conference therefore also kicked off on the first day of the trade fair with a panel on the future of winter sports in the face of climate change and energy shortage. All the participants agreed: Winter sports only have a future if they change and develop more sustainable approaches. Reto Aeschbacher, Chief Marketing Officer at Scott: “The last two years were a challenge for us all. Issues such as reconciling sustainability and innovation, and, especially for us, the decline in ski tourism, are a lasting concern for us. What ISPO Munich has shown us is that there are still many people who want to experience “nature” and are fans of winter sports, and that proves to us that there are opportunities and potential for giving the ski industry a boost again.”
1,700 exhibitors from more than 50 countries
Alongside the product innovations of the more than 1,700 exhibitors, ISPO Munich offered extensive insights at its November premiere into the entire ecosystem of the sports industry. Just under 90 percent of the exhibitors came from abroad, and a total of more than 50 countries were represented. The five countries with the most exhibitors were Germany, Italy, France, China and Taiwan. Around 20 percent of them were at ISPO Munich for the first time. The 40,000 trade visitors came from a total of 117 countries, and 73 percent of them were international guests. The top five participating countries were Germany, Italy, France, Great Britain and Austria.
“The revamped concept of ISPO Munich, with the Future Lab as its centerpiece, scored particularly well with the international sports community, both exhibitors and trade visitors,” as Stefan Rummel, CEO of Messe München, concluded. “This year’s ISPO Munich also clearly showed, however, that the market is changing. We will take account of that as we further develop the trade fair. The sporting goods market will continue to be very relevant, but at the same time the focus will increasingly be on topics such as sports fashion, tourism, digitalization, health and fitness, nutrition or esports. We will therefore promote innovative formats that also give us access to new target groups and segments,” said Tobias Gröber, Head of ISPO Group, who also announced ISPO’s partnership with the streetwear and fashion blog Highsnobiety under the brand name “520M”.
ISPO Conference in the Future Lab as a meeting place and centerpiece
The newly created Future Lab, with innovation, sustainability and retail transformation as key topics, was a major attraction at ISPO Munich. The conference program additionally focused on social topics: Martin Frick, Director of the UN World Food Program, discussed “How the sports industry can lobby for the good of people and nature”. The Sustainability Hub was a designated area in the Future Lab, devoted exclusively to the topic of sustainability. It was also where the ISPO Award 2022 was presented on the second day of the trade fair. A total of around 100 award-winning products and services were showcased at the trade fair.
In the Future Lab, more than 70 startups that took part in the ISPO Brand New Award also presented their innovations and new approaches for the industry. Ida Sports, an Australian company that makes sports footwear specifically for women, pitched successfully against all the other competitors. Laura Youngson CEO/ Co Founder IDA sports: It’s a great honour to win the brand new award as it gives us exposure to a wider audience. We came to ISPO to network with retailers and distributors, it’s great to be able to represent and see more women in sports tech.
Prominent sports personalities at ISPO Munich (keep reading at this link).