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Market Intelligence France: hiking and trekking - all systems a go!

By Emmanuel Gravaud, Outdoor Experts The number of avid hikers in France continues to grow, and the outdoor footwear market remains strong. Here are the key market figures you need to know. The hiking market continues to grow at the same pace as a long multi-day trek: slowly but surely. Along with biking and skiing, hiking remains one the three key pillars of the outdoor sports market in France. The number of hikers is increasing a slow but steady pace. For the FFRandonnée (French Hiking Federation), growth ranges from 2.5% to 3% per year. By using a broad definition for hiking, from leisurely walks through the forest to the Annapurna circuit, there are 15 million hikers in France according to the 2016 BVA Union/Sports Ministry figures, and 18 million according to a 2014 FFRandonnée/Sportlab survey. More significant for the market, the number of truly avid hikers ranges from 5.5 million according to BVA to 6.5 million according to Sportlab. For both, France has approximately 1.1 million hikers who venture on at least one  "multi-day hike" per year. This core group of 1.5 million hikers uses guidebooks and are obviously very avid hikers. Over the last five years, from 1 million (Sportlab) to 2.6 million (BVA) Nordic walkers have entered the fray. The study conducted by France's Ministry of Sports indicates that 73% of hikers in France are over 35 years old, 27% are retirees, and 52% are women. However, we often forget that the avid hiker also participates in several other outdoor sports (3.7 on average): 26% road bike, 21% mountain bike, and 15% alpine ski, 10% snowshoe, 8% Nordic walk, and 4% trail run. The hiker in France is a multi-sport enthusiast and therefore purchases all different types of gear. The footwear market provides the key baseline figure. “In 2016, the hiking footwear market in France represents 237€ million in sell-out revenues for approximately 5 million pairs of shoes sold,” explains David Richard, sports market analyst for NPD. “Hiking is in 3rd place behind the leisure and running markets. The average price for a pair of hiking boots or shoes in France is 48€, which is higher than the average price for a pair of athletic shoes. The category grew 15% in 2016, due in large part to increased sales and a higher average price.” These figures do not include trail running, which NPD places in the running category. However, in a market trending towards low-top footwear, we observe that an significant percentage of trail running shoes are used for hiking and Nordic walking. This strengthens the position of trail running brands in the Top 5 of the “outdoor retail” panel, which places Salomon in the lead, ahead of Merrell, Asics, Columbia, and Adidas. The leading hiking-specific brands, Meindl and Lowa, are in sixth and seventh place respectively. When all systems are a go, the challenge for most key stakeholders is to give hiking a much more dynamic, youthful image. Clothing and footwear brands are hard at work. Through its Hike+ Out-Path range, Salomon now targets, “a younger, multi-sport customer.” A modern iteration of the X-Hiking range. Several brands, including Millet, are busy designing high-end technical products for the “fast-hiking” enthusiast, a segment that at present is a bit overshadowed by trail running and needs more work on the marketing side of the equation. This article is a condensed translated version of an article originally published in French in the September 2017 issue of Outdoor Experts. Outdoor Experts is one of France's premier trade magazines for the outdoor industry in France. http://outdoorexperts.fr/magazine/

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ISPO Open Innovation: the crowd-sourcing platform for intelligent product development and valuable market insights

ISPO Open Innovation connects brands with passionate consumer experts all over the world to test, share, and create ideas for sports products with the goal of gaining valuable consumer insights. We allow you to involve your customers in the development process and show you how they can become ambassadors for your product innovations. In addition, uncover hidden customer requirements, generate new ideas, and promote innovative products! From idea generation to testing the final product, ISPO Open Innovation enables cooperation with real consumers and experts from other industries. To learn more about the ISPO Open Innovation platform, click here. ISPO Open Innovation also offers brands the opportunity to contact numerous international retailers in order to receive valuable feedback on future products, strategic developments, new segments, and market potential via an online questionnaire. Our latest project is in collaboration with Salewa, part of Oberalp Group, combines both approaches: expert consumer feedback and retailer opinions worldwide. As a functional and technical mountaineering brand with a focus on their strong roots and core competencies, Salewa is a world leader in climbing and mountaineering gear, with a presence in more than 30 countries around the globe. With one important missing link, Salewa is thinking about adding headlamps to their wide range of products. They need information on how mountaineers use headlamps, the key factors in the decision making process to buy a headlamp, and where they normally buy this type of product. In addition, Salewa would like to ask retailers about the potential they see in the brand launching a new product category and what they in general expect from Salewa’s product range. Got your interest? Take part.

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Market Intelligence France: rock climbing - reaching out to a new type of climber

By Emmanuel Gravaud, Outdoor Experts From the Olympic Games in Tokyo to the north face of the Drus in Chamonix, by way of the huge rise in the number of bouldering gyms, climbing in France continues to grow at a fast pace thanks to the hard work of the FFME (French Climbing and Mountaineering Federation) and the FFCAM (the French Alpine Club), as well as local city governments, gear manufacturers, and climbing gyms who all have decided to invest heavily in the sport. Today, the two major trends in climbing are bouldering, a sport that started in Fontainebleau, and indoor climbing, which has grown steadily with the increasing number of climbing gyms. These two phenomena prompted the huge rise in the number of bouldering gyms in France and, as a result, opened up climbing to a much wider public. Other subcategories of climbing such as deep-water soloing and urban climbing (ex.: along the banks of the Garonne River in Toulouse, France) are also growing at a steady clip, demonstrating just how dynamic climbing is today.“Climbing is thriving,” explains Benoit Gazagnes, Director of Sales for Petzl. “Climbing outside at the crag or the boulders continues to grow and multi-pitch climbing remains stable. However, the real growth in the market comes from indoor climbing, especially the strong growth in the number of climbing gyms.” In France, it is hard to estimate the total number of climbers, all disciplines combined. The FFME (primarily focused on sport and indoor climbing) has 93,000 members, and the French Alpine Club has 92,000 members. However, these figures to not reflect the number of people climbing at privately-owned climbing gyms. To provide a idea of scale, the group Climb’Up (with gyms in Lyon, Aix-en-Provence, Dijon, …) has almost 100,000 pass holders. However, many people “climb on their own” without joining a club or a gym. According to Pierre You, president of the FFME, this represents the majority, and he estimates that there are approximately 1.2 million climbers in France. Certain professionals, such as JB Tribout, CEO of XXL, a company that distributes Arc’Teryx in France and manages several climbing gyms, estimate the figure to be closer to 2 million. The new climber Urban, a young thirty-something, or a student, the new climber in France usually starts in a privately-owned climbing gym. Twenty years ago, rock climbing served as an escape for the climber or mountaineering living in the big city. Today, the gyms appeal to an urban clientele looking for a new activity. "The client base has changed. We have transitioned from sport climbers who use the climbing gym as a means to train for rock climbing outdoors at the crags to a new urban clientele where 80% never climb outdoors," explains former world champion, François Petit, now general manager for the group Climb'Up. "Climbing has become a cool activity for staying in shape. We now have a much younger clientele overall that started out bouldering and climbs 90% of the time indoors," says Gérard Goupil, the founder of Murmur. The new climbers is different from the typical FFME member, who is usually younger (40% are under 15 years old and are 22 years old on average) and more interested in competition climbing, which shows in how hard they climb. For Pierre You, head of the FFME, "the average level has gone up since kids start climbing at a pretty young age. Those who start today will be climbing 7a or even 8a by the time they are 14-17 years old." Whereas in privately owned gyms, François Petit observes that, "the average level has dropped from 6a+ to 5c for route climbing. There are more and more climbers who dabble in many different sports." Philippe Mathieu, marketing director at Altissimo, has observed the same phenomenon, "There are more very strong climbers, but there also are more people overall at every level, with the average climber hovering around 5c." "The average level outdoors at the crag is 5c," confirms Benoit Gazagnes. The new climber is also a new type of consumer who, "is interested in the technical details of high-end climbing shoes and who cares more about style and how they look," highlights Nicolas Geydet from Plein Nord, Scarpa's distributor in France. "We need to move away from the cliché of the dirtbag climber who lives out of his van and who eats granola morning, noon, and night. Today's climber has money for lodging, coaching or guiding services, gear…" says Pierre-Henri Paillasson, technical director for the FFME. Contrary to the pure outdoor climber who spends most of their time at the crag or in the mountains, the new climber who started and spends most of their time in the gym will more likely identify with the 2020 Summer Olympic Games in Tokyo, where climbing will be an official Olympic sport for the very first time. "This is a good thing for climbing, which will gain greater visibility over the next four years," says Gerard Goupil. This should be measurable as early as the Climbing World Championships from September 14-18, in Paris. Beyond the differences, the different styles of climbing and climber indicate a dynamic sport and genuine market opportunity. This article is a condensed translated version of an article originally published in French in the September 2016 issue of Outdoor Experts. Outdoor Experts is one of France's premier trade magazines for the outdoor industry in France. http://outdoorexperts.fr/magazine/

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A warm welcome to the 11 entrepreneurs accepted into the 2018 Annecy Base Camp business incubator program

On May 14, 11 new entrepreneurs will join the Outdoor Sports Valley community by entering the Annecy Base Camp business incubator program. Following the call for projects that ended on March 23, 49 applicants were in competition to join the incubator's 3rd cohort. A jury made up of OSV partners (Grand Annecy, the Auvergne Rhône-Alpes Region, the Haute Savoie CCI, and Cluster Montagne) pre-selected 24 projects to make their pitch before the final selection jury. On April 24 and 25, a second jury made up of members of OSV's and Cluster Montagne's boards of directors, entrepreneurs from the industry, and members of OSV's executive team picked those projects that best met the selection criteria: an economically viable idea, sustainability as part of the project's core values, innovation, and the entrepreneur's ability to manage and see their project through. A luxury outdoor apparel brand, an avalanche safety system, a website making it easier for the handicapped to participate in outdoor sports, a mobile repair service for cyclists, and an ultra-light tent are just a few of the projects that will be able to put their ideas to the test and develop an economically viable business plan during phase 1 of the incubator program. Startups like Whympr (an outdoor mobile application to plan an outing), Qaou (a multi-use hammock), Run Motion (a coaching application), and Open Runner (an application for creating, tracking, and sharing itineraries) will be able to conduct marketing tests and accelerate the go-to-market launch of their product or service. The business incubator will provide them with a structured work environment, as well as professional support and consulting services all throughout their time in the Annecy Base Camp business incubator program. They will have the chance to discuss their ideas and learn from both entrepreneurship experts and volunteers from Outdoor Sports Valley member companies. Congratulations and best of luck to all of them! To learn more about the Annecy Base Camp business incubator  >> click here <<

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Calendar

Sport Achat Summer

Sport Achat Summer

Monday 10 sep - Tuesday 11 sep
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 UP! THE COMPANY MANAGEMENT FORUM

UP! THE COMPANY MANAGEMENT FORUM

Friday 21 sep
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THE EVENING BEFORE - High Five

THE EVENING BEFORE - High Five

Thursday 04 oct
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OUTDOOR SPORTS VALLEY - OSV

"Outdoor Sports Valley - OSV" designates both a region and industry cluster dedicated to outdoor sports. This region covers the entire Alps and ecompasses thousands of employees who work in the sports and recreation industries, the headquarters of most outdoor industry companies, and represents one of the planet’s most unique playgrounds.

The Outdoor Sports Valley concept, developed in Annecy in 2009, became an official association in 2010, and a certified industry cluster (Grappe d'Entreprises) in 2011 by the French state (DATAR). Annecy, exceptional geographic and strategic location, is the official capital of the Outdoor Sports Valley.

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