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Sport trade shows:

October 2007

5th Fitness Convention

The Sports Science Institute of South Africa and Discovery Vitality are proudly hosting the fifth Discovery Vitality Fitness Convention taking place from Thursday 28 February to Saturday 1 March 2008 at Vodaworld in Midrand, Gauteng

The Discovery Vitality Fitness Convention is a neutral platform providing great networking and learning opportunities for all role players in the health fitness and sports industry.

The SA fitness industry requires fitness professionals to be multi-skilled. Often the fitness instructor is the coach, the trainer and the administrator. However, there is little opportunity for continuing education in SA both in the field of fitness and coaching.

Not to be missed!

  • Group training summit: Always a highlight at previous conventions, the group training summit will include practical group training sessions with local and international representation.

  • Personal training track: Practical and theory sessions covering various topics and trends relevant not only to personal trainers but all those involved in health, fitness and sport.

  • Sports coaching track: New to the 2008 convention, this track will include presentations from leading sports coaches and trainers.

  • Business and entrepreneurship track: A track dedicated to business development opportunities catering for individuals starting out as entrepreneurs to established operators.

  • Science and research track: This track will deliver cutting edge research and how it can be applied to benefit all.

  • Industry related forums: Panel discussions for fitness professionals in the industry with representation from key industry role-players.

  • Industry trade show: The ideal platform for suppliers, manufacturers and service providers to showcase their products and services.

  • Amongst the confirmed keynote speakers are Prof. Tim Noakes, Professor of Sports and Exercise Science at the University of Cape Town; Richard Beddie, CEO of Fitness New Zealand; and Deshun Deysel, motivational speaker and mountaineer embarking on a 7 Summits programme to climb the highest mountain on each continent.

    For more information and to register Tel: 021 659 5705, Email or visit

    June 2006

    8 Reasons to be at SASGAM

    On the weekend of 4-6 August, the SA activewear, sporting goods, outdoor and fishing tackle industries will (hopefully) be converging on Johannesburg, where the SA Sporting Goods Agents and Manufacturers’ (SASGAM) Show and the SA Fishing Tackle Trade (SAFTTA) Shows will be held

    This year heralds the second "revived" SASGAM Show, following a 7-year gap after the last of the regular annual shows was held in 1998. For many in the industry, this year’s show will be a watershed: a test if the industry really needs and wants a trade show.

    This will depend on exhibitor support — and retailer attendance.

    Because the SASGAM committee decided to waiver the rule that all members must exhibit if the organisation decides to organise a trade show (which incidentally led to the departure of Tatlow & Pledger from SASGAM in 1998 and the founding of the fishing tackle trade show), several of the big brand members will be absent. Pressure from principals to withdraw from trade shows, has seen many of the international brands withdrawing their support from international trade shows. Their SA offices often have no option but to follow.

    Iqbal Baruffwala, of Bar Global Trading (Wolverine) and West Side Trading (Kappa), believes that shows like SASGAM need to be encouraged. "As someone who travels extensively to international trade shows, I would like to see SASGAM become a fully-fledged seasonal trade show, similar to other international trade shows, where you invite your customers to come and review new product and ideas, place orders and network with key players in the industry."

    John Fontyn of Eiger Equipment feels optimistic about the future of the show. "I am sure more retailers will visit as the show becomes more established," he says — a view shared by Chris Bryant of JRT Crampton: "It is the old turning wheel effect — if retailers do not attend, exhibitors do not return and the show dies. If retailers do visit, more exhibitors will come on next season, and the show will grow from strength to strength."

    Worldwide, trade shows are considered the ideal vehicles to launch new brands. Texas Peak South Africa, a subsidiary of the branded sporting goods importer, distributor and marketing group from Australia and New Zealand, will, for instance, use the show to introduce themselves, and the two leading international sports brands (Woodworm and Brooks) they will be distributing here, to the SA market.

    "We hope to connect and meet up with retailers who are seeking exciting new brands to add to their existing product mix. Obviously, we are hoping to secure sales from retailers, remembering that every customer to us will be a new customer!" says Michael Shandler. "But, we also wish to meet with people in the industry and increase our network in SA. We will also be speaking to potential sales agents who want to represent the brands across the country."

    Local apparel manufacturer Peter Constan-Tatos of SwimEezy, hopes that more local manufacturers will make use of the show as a springboard to launch new products "as this is what keeps retailers coming back. The show should be a showcase of what SA manufacturers are capable of and give retailers the chance to see it at one convenient time and place."

    This will give retailers the opportunity to compare the quality and prices of the locally manufactured products with imported brands, agrees Jaco Kirsten of Orbit Sports, Stormforce protective manufacturer.

    Last year, there was some concern about retail visitor numbers, but several exhibitors, especially those who launched new products, were very happy with the new sales leads, customers and brand exposure that the show generated.

    There are many reasons why retailers should attend, say exhibitors:

  • A trade show like SASGAM is the ideal opportunity for retailers from outlying areas to see all the brands together in one venue, allowing them to compare product offering, pricing, new products, etc. which are often very difficult to do in their own stores when they might see a rep or agent for one brand this week, and then see another brand a week or two down the line, says Baruffwala.
  • "By seeing the whole range of a brand displayed, retailers would be able to gain a better appreciation and understanding of the intrinsic value of a particular brand," adds Diadora CEO Iqbal Abdulla. When agents visit retailers, they cannot take all the ranges in the brand with them.
    To be more specific, a brand like BadBoy, for instance, offers a variety of products through a system of sub-licensees and their sales forces, with the result that the retailer often doesn’t get an opportunity to see the whole brand presentation — but at SASGAM, they will be able to see everything on one stand, says Jean-Marc Tostee.
  • Therefore, a trade show is an ideal sourcing opportunity for retailers as it is a one stop shop for a vast array of sporting and leisure goods, explains Kevin de Wet of De Wet Sport.
  • Besides, it is a great opportunity for socialising and seeing clients who you might not have met personally before.
  • And, mentions Tony Barker of Optimum, it is also a chance to compare prices between brands.
  • Because new ranges, products and even brands, are often launched at a trade show, the retailers who do attend, gain a competitive edge "because they get the first bite at the cherry," says Du Toit Botes, Gilbert SA Brand Manager. They plan to reward retailers who pre-book orders at the show, by offering a 2.5% discount.
  • Retailers also get the opportunity to meet distributors face to face and to discuss their ranges, says Fontyn. "Although we don’t focus on sales at the show, we hope more retailers will get to see our products and consider adding them to their ranges."
  • "Often the agent is about the only person that the small independent ever sees," adds Baruffwala. "SASGAM is of particular importance to out of town retailers who are often the last to hear of any new developments, concepts, brands etc. I picked up a lot of business at the previous SASGAM Show from out of town retailers — some of whom were in areas where I did not have agents."

  • That is why a brand like Canterbury will have their full sales force on their stand — so that agents can write orders if necessary, make appointments with new clients, or just sit down and chat to old and new clients.

    Last year, it was felt that visitor numbers were relatively low in certain categories because of the mid-week timing of the show, the fact that retailers who did not register online had to pay, and the lack of awareness about the show among many retailers who were used to getting personal invitations from clients who made special appointments with them.

    Most exhibitors share the hope of Russell Kwong Hing of And1 that because it is the second year running, new retailers who did not visit last year, will make the journey to SASGAM this year.

    Peter Howard of Howard Manufacturing feels strongly that the show must also attract coaches as visitors — "as they are not only VIPs as users, but their input is vital to their aspiring players."

    For Bryant it is crucial that as many exhibitors as possible support the show in order to keep it alive. "I am extremely disappointed that more of my competitors will not be exhibiting."

    February 2008

    Biggest ever ispo

    The recent ispo winter was the biggest ever with 64 000 trade visitors and over 2 000 exhibitors attending. Seventy percent of the visitors came from foreign countries — including SA — with 113 countries represented. Exhibitors came from 47 countries

    The Outdoor segment attracted 20 000 visitors on its own and the organisers went out of their way to attract the interest of the outdoor trade.

    The Snow Ice & Rock summit attracted close to 8 000 visitors interested in topic-specific presentations on sustainability, GPS navigation and trail running. Various representatives from outdoor companies and relevant companies outside the industry provided their expertise. Gerd Bittl of Sportsella gave a training presentation, which can still be accessed online at

    This year’s board_ispo shop summit gave retailers the opportunity to meet and consult with experts.

    The Wearable Technologies Show is a platform for the marketing of new technology in the sports and lifestyle sector. Approximately 20 exhibitors presented their technological product innovations. Participants included Falke, Quiksilver and 3M. This year participants brought market-ready innovations, whereas last year there were predominantly only prototypes, for example this year Sefar and Falke cooperated to create a heated kidney warmer.

    Several of the products are already in production, which means the show has evolved into a genuine market place that brings the electronic, technology and systems industries together with the sports and apparel sectors.

    ispo winter 08 gave floorball, a blend of ice and field hockey, special focus. The number of floorball fans in Germany increased by 20% last year, which in turn reflected positively in the sale of floorball products and equipment. Since the founding of the International Floorball World Federation (IFF) in 1986, 45 member organizations from Europe, Asia, Oceania, and America have joined.

    October 2007
    February 2008

    dmg partners with SGMA

    dmg world media and SGMA will be partnering to launch the SGMA Team Sports Show and SGMA Sports Licensing Show, both scheduled for 9-11 June at the Sands Expo Convention Centre, Las Vegas. They replace the SGMA Spring Market. dmg world media also produces SurfExpo.

    October 2007

    EuroShop, where retailers shop

    Nearly 80% of the 82 000m² exhibition space at EuroShop, the global trade fair aimed at the retail industry, has already been booked. This fair, organised every three years, will run between 23-27 February 2008 in Düsseldorf, Germany. So far, 1 035 exhibitors from 43 countries have confirmed

    The latest trends in store design, lighting, POS marketing, security, displays etc. are housed in four different exhibition areas.

    For more information contact Annette Pringle-Kölsch at the Southern African German Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SAGCC) on Tel: 011 486 2775 or Email

    February 2008

    FFR visitors increase

    The recent FlyFishing Retailer, held in conjunction with the American Fly Fishing Trade Association, saw a 50% increase in attendance over 2006

    The show saw 3 045 visitors (up by 33%), while buyer numbers rose by 18.5%. The total stores that attended rose by 4.5% over the 2006 show.

    The increase in attendance was due to moving the show from August back to September.

    February 2008

    First Sports Source Asia

    The first Sports Source Asia, the international sourcing fair for sports equipment and sports apparel, took place end of October last year at AsiaWorld-Expo, Hong Kong

    The show featured 300 exhibitors, representing seven of the leading manufacturing companies and regions (Hong Kong, China mainland, Korea, Malaysia, Pakistan, Taiwan and Thailand). They were grouped into five theme sections: sportswear; sports equipment; sports shoes; sports accessories; fabrics and materials.

    Just under 6 500 buyers from 89 countries and regions visited the fair, with the majority coming from China mainland. After China, the countries with the biggest representation of visiting buyers were Taiwan, USA, Japan, Australia, Canada, Philippines, Germany, Italy and France. The 2008 show will take place 28-31 October at AsiaWorld-Expo, Hong Kong.

    For more information visit

    June 2007

    First test for new style ispo

    The traditional ispo Summer show has a new identity

    Nowadays, there are hardly any boundaries between sport and fashion brands, with the youth thinking fashion, rather than participation when they buy clothes from brands like Nike, Puma or adidas … but, fashion brands like Levi’s, Skechers or Converse are likewise occupying shelf space in sport stores. Apart from that, the equipment take a back seat to all the clothing and footwear on display in any modern sport store.

    Keeping track with these changes, Messe Munchen, the organisers of the ispo sport shows, have decided to change the focus of the traditional ispo Summer show and launch ispo SPORT & STYLE, with the motto Lifestyle Meets Sports. This year will see an interaction between fashion, lifestyle, sports and music in Munich from July 8 to 10, 2007.

    With David Beckham voted the coolest icon by the youngsters who participated in the Sunday Times Generation Next survey, it is obvious that these sport stars are no longer seen as athletes, but are also style icons.

    On the other hand, traditional sportswear like polo or golf shirts and sneakers have long become accepted casualwear.

    ispo SPORT & STYLE markets itself as the only trade fair that unites fashion suppliers and manufacturers of sports equipment. The core segments of the show will be ispovision, sportstyle, performance and trends & innovations as well as with the new lifestyle community MUC.

    There will also be specific services for visitors — for instance, a service aimed at retailers that will give information about the new features at the trade fair and offer helpful tips to simplify their visit.

    In addition to action areas on the trade fair grounds such as the Style Lounge, Games Area and Chill Out Zone, two evening events will round off the show — the big Reef ispo Party on July 8 and the GQ Style Night presented by Volvo.

    Approximately 1,000 invited guests from the fashion, lifestyle, music and sports sectors as well as prominent people from film, TV and high society will watch the presenting of the Global Sportstyle Awards on July 9.

    Apart from many regular visitors from previous years, many new participants have confirmed their stands — Canterbury will, for example be showing their off-field range. Among the other exhibitors well-known in the SA market are Quiksilver, Arena, Hummel, Reef, Asics, the North Face and many more. Many traditional sport brands, like Asics, will be exhbiting in different theme segments like performance, sportstyle, and ispovision.

    Ispo tickets can be obtained from the SA German Chamber of Commerce at R125 for a day ticket, R185 per 2 days, R350 for a season ticket and R750 for an ispocard. Contact them on:

  • Johannesburg: contact Nombuso Saterdag on Tel: 011 486 2775 or Email;
  • Cape Town: contact Natali Varney on Tel: 021 422 3311 or Email

  • June 2008

    International trade show update


    30 July to 2 August in Nanjing, China. This show, a cooperation between Messe Friedrichshafen and the exhibition grounds in Nanjing, China, will be held for the third time this year.

    The organisers reported 30% growth in the number of registered exhibitors at the end of March, indicating a rising interest in the Asian version of the OutDoor Friedrichshafen show. They are expecting more than 250 outdoor exhibitors — the first show in 2006 attracted 174 exhibitors and last year the number increased to 215. They were seen by 8 218 trade visitors attend as well as about 3 000 enthusiasts, who attended the open day for the public.

    “China’s outdoor market offers the greatest growth potential. Currently, the market volume in China is rising by 30–40% a year,” says Knut Jaeger, the show’s German representative in China.

    For more information visit

    GDS/GSL Shoe Trade Fair

    12-14 September in Düsseldorf, Germany. The GDS/GDL has established itself as one of the major international sourcing platforms for the international shoe trade.

    The GDS/GDL fair held in March this year attracted 34 000 visitors from 76 countries — 3% up from the previous year. Nearly half of the visitors came from countries outside Germany to see the new ranges from 1 382 exhibitors.

    Most exhibitors expressed their satisfaction with the show — 75% achieved or exceeded previously set targets and 91% of them rated visitor quality as good.

    The areas Lifestyle & Sports, International Selection, Exclusivity, Young Fashion and the noticeably enlarged White Cubes generated the most interest from visitors.

    Contact the German Chamber of Commerce representative in SA for tickets or exhibitor information: Annette Pringle-Kölsch on Tel: 011 486 2775 or Email: or visit


    19–21 February 2009 in the China International Exhibition Center (CIEC) in Beijing. The exhibition area will be considerably bigger than in 2008 — covering an area of 25 000m², compared to 20 000m² in 2008.

    Having formed partnerships with Nielsen Business Media from the US, FieraBolzano (the trade-fair organization of Bolzano) and the CCAGM (China Commerce Association for General Merchandise) the organisers are now focusing on marketing the show abroad.

    Nielsen Business Media is responsible for some of the biggest trade fairs in the US, like the Outdoor Retailer (OR), Action Sports Retailer (ASR), Interbike and Health and Fitness Business (HFB). They will be marketing ispo China in North America.

    See more at

    October 2007

    ispo BrandNew Awards open for new entries

    ispo is looking for new ideas and products in the sports industry to compete in the ispo BrandNew Award

    Winners will receive a free booth and promotion at ispo winter 08 that will run 27-30 January 2008.

    To be eligible to compete, brands have to fulfil the following criteria:

  • founded or introduced to the market after January 1st, 2004
  • the product or brand is hot and new
  • the product or brand has never been registered to exhibit at ispo before

  • Deadline for applications is 2 November 2007 and application forms can be found online at

    The winners and finalists of the ispo BrandNew Awards presented by Coolmax competition are selected by a jury of international sport experts in different categories, for example Hardware, Sportswear, Accessories, Style, etc.

    For more information, visit or Email

    Feb/ Mar 2009

    ispo shows that trade shows still work

    NICOL DU TOIT braved the cold and snow to visit 2009 ispo Winter in Munich. SA retailers and suppliers who want to stay abreast of new trends should attend these international shows, he reports. Especially the workshops and seminars held during such shows keep us in touch with developing trends in Europe and the US

    The 2009 ispo Winter Show held in Munich in February demonstrated that numbers are not the only important factors to determine a trade show’s success. A strike by Munich’s Transportation Authority (MVG) was probably the reason why the visitor number was slightly down: the 69th ispo Winter show attracted 60 000 visitors from over 100 countries — 2008 saw 64 000 visitors from 113 countries. Close to 60% of all visitors came from abroad and 83% of exhibiting brands were foreign. The 1 950 exhibitors from 50 countries were also down from the 2 206 exhibitors from 47 countries in 2008 — probably due to the economic recession.

    Despite the drop in numbers, the show had plenty to offer. Apart from the new products and trends on the stands, the various workshops, seminars and shows once again demonstrated how important this kind of international exposure is for SA retailers and suppliers who are so far from international developments. The subject of sustainability (see Sustainability: What brands are doing to make the world a better place) was as intense as ever. This year’s ispo Winter featured a new award (the Eco Responsibily Award) for products incorporating sustainability. Other topics discussed included the future of retailing (see The year ahead: 2 International views on retail), new product safety legislation (see The year ahead: 3 Ways to trade better), new product classification system (see box below) and sourcing from Asia (next issue).

    FEDAS classification code

    FEDAS, the Federation for European Sporting Goods Retail Associations started a product classification system in 1997. They teamed up with European distributors and manufacturers as well as organizations outside of Europe to come up with a universally acceptable classification system for sporting goods, introduced during ispo Winter 09. They developed a six digit code, which classifies all products in terms of:

    1) category (the first digit);
    2) activity (the next two digits);
    3) and product groups (the next three digits).

    They are trying to apply the standardization worldwide so as to provide a universal code that can be seen as a commercial language that will simplify understanding. The FEDAS code will not be a substitute of customs codes.

    June 2006

    ispo Summer 06: more, bigger, better

    ispo summer 06, which will take place with approximately 1,000 exhibitors on 85 000 m2. of the New Munich Trade Fair Centre from 16 — 18 July, will again provide retailers from more than 100 countries with a wide-ranged trade fair

    The special area WT - Wearable Technology is new and creates a bridge between the sports, fashion, ITK and high-tech industries. Innovative and modern products from the different areas will be shown twice daily in modern fashion shows. Product ranges vary from backpacks with solar cells to functional jackets and gloves with integrated MP3 players and even portable playstations. For additional information visit

    This year’s show will also be dedicated more strongly to the triathlon segment. Panel discussions with experts and athletes from the triathlon scene, product presentations and fashion shows will be held at a new separate platform within running_ispo. They will also conduct neoprene tests in a small pool, among other things.

    board_ispo will focus on kitesurfing with TradeWind, the new kitesurfing initiative. Leading brands are presenting new functional materials, a gallery will communicate the background and development of the sport, and a kite demo will show which manoeuvres and jumps are currently in fashion. In line with that, the new ispo Project Glass & Resin provides the chance to obtain information from the leading brands specialized in surfboard construction about current trends and developments.

    For the first time, ispo is opening an exhibition hall to the public. Apart from inline_ispo and an inline skate track, there will be a tennis court and an indoor driving range, which will turn hall A4 into a true action zone. Members of the public will be able to obtain information at the booths and in the action area about product novelties and the individual sports.

    Other Special Areas of ispo have already been successful for years. For example, board_ispo will again present six selected streetwear brands from the boardsports area at seedbed. Young, innovative brands get a platform unique in the world to exhibit to a wide-range of people in the industry.

    Fashion shows, among other things, will be held in the show area in the center.

    Renowned exhibitors from the Outdoor and Nordic areas have already confirmed their presence. Various activities, exciting forums and interesting supporting events will also make outdoor_ispo into an important and interesting communication platform for industry and commerce.

    Running_ and teamsport_ispo and the Runner’s World Action Point will occupy Hall B1. racket_ispo with the Sweetspot Village and the joint booth of tennis equipment companies will also be there. There will also be a show for tennis clothing on the stage of the Runner’s World Action Point.

    The Promostyl Trend Baro-meter, WGSN Colour Forum and IDEAS, the International Designers´ Exhibition of Active Sports, will provide information about the sports fashion trends for the upcoming season.

    The Special Community sportswear_ispo will for the first time include golf clothing. In addition to their individual trade fair participation, a package deal is being offered to manufacturers, in association with Golf Europe in Munich in October.

    Sports action will get its due share during ispo, as the World Inline Cup will be held in Munich on the first show day. The largest inline event in the world, the Munich Blade Night., which usually attracts between 15 000 and 20 000 skaters onto Munich’s streets will start directly from the trade fair grounds on the second trade fair day.

    The ispo organizers will again be providing support to young, innovative companies from the outdoor industry with the Greenhouse Project and giving them the chance to exhibit in a special area at ispo designed especially for this purpose.

    The world’s largest young entrepreneur contest for the sporting goods industry, ispo BrandNew, has notched up a new registration record for the summer event. A total of 156 applications from 24 countries have been received till now, already 16% more compared with the ispo BrandNew Awards at ispo summer 05.

    Attention is also being given to the next generation of retailers. The ispo Trainee Project will again bring many trainees in European sport retailing to Munich and provide important additional benefits to their training with seminars and workshops in collaboration with partners from industry.

    October 2007

    Messe München suspends ispo Russia

    The fifth and last ispo Russia drew 4 004 trade visitors to the Crocus Expo Center in Moscow in September this year

    The latest show saw 233 brands from 21 countries exhibiting (2006: 284 brands). Messe München International, the co-organisers, announced that they are suspending their involvement in ispo Russia due to the high concentration of importers and vertical distributors, as well as the respective order mechanisms and timing that they consider to be harming the implementation of a strict trade fair concept.

    Their re-consideration of their involvement with ispo Russia therefore depends on further developments in, and the restructuring of, the Russian sporting goods industry.

    The Sport Communication Group will, however, next year organise the In_Sports, International Trade Fair of Sports Brands in Russia as a partner trade fair in the ispo Group.

    Next year’s show will be held in the Crocus Expo Pavilion between 14-16 February.

    For more information contact Anastasia Vasilkova of Sport Communication Group on Email

    March 6, 2008

    Messe München has new summer concept for sport trade fairs

  • ispo summer is being canceled until further notice following discussion and agreement with purchasing and industry associations
  • New offers in 2008: "Running" and "Sports Source Europe"
  • Additional segment-specific trade fairs starting in 2009
  • Messe München GmbH has concluded a strategic alliance with the largest North American sports trade fair organizer Nielsen Business Media / cooperation in all markets / planning joint trade fairs starting in 2009
  • Messe München GmbH has developed a new concept for its summer events in the area of sporting goods/sportstyle to do justice to the far-reaching changes in the summer sports market. Two changes are characterizing the industry: on one hand, strong segmentation in individual areas such as running, outdoor, canoe/kayaking, sourcing, etc. with their own actors, order periods, industry demands as well as lifestyles, and on the other hand rapidly progressing internationalization, "We as Messe München work closely with the sporting goods and sportstyle industries to detect developments at an early stage and consider them in our offers. The industry has confirmed to us in numerous discussions with exhibitors and retailers that the need for platforms in the summer remains substantial. As we have done for more than 35 years, we are also considering the new developments in the market now and will provide customized offers for the respective segments in the industry. In agreement with the purchasing associations Intersport and Sport 2000 as well as the industry associations World Federation of the Sporting Goods Industry (WFSGI), German Association of the Sporting Goods Industry (BSI) and Association of German Sporting Goods Retailers (VDS), we consequently decided to suspend ispo summer with its very wide range of offers until further notice. But there will still be summer platforms of Messe München for the sporting goods industry. With the Running Order Show and Sports Source Europe, we are already providing concepts in the summer 2008, which are customized to meet the specific requirements of these segments," Manfred Wutzlhofer, Chief Executive Officer of Messe München, stated.

    Running Order Show will be the first B2B event for the Running segment worldwide

    Messe München is holding the Running Order Show in the M,O,C, Munich Order Center from June 29 till July 1, 2008. "With that, we are providing the sole B2B platform worldwide for the running segment, which is the driving force of sporting goods retail sales with approx. 20 percent of sales," Tobias Gröber, Head of ispo Group, explained.

    The trade fair will be held in collaboration with the LEX Group, the leading retailers' association for running and walking. "We are looking forward to working together with Messe München. Many of us often visited ispo with pleasure in the past. We expect that the Running Order Show will provide new stimuli for positioning ourselves on the market in the coming years," according to Christian Bossow, Managing Director of the LEX Group.

    The Running Order Show is divided into the areas of shoes, clothing, accessories, triathlon, Nordic Walking, nutrition, running analysis methods and materials management.

    Sports Source Europe will bring suppliers and exhibitors in Europe together

    With Sports Source Europe, which will take place parallel to the new Running Order Show at the M,O,C, from June 29 till July 1, 2008, Messe München GmbH is creating a professional and independent platform in Europe for the growing sourcing segment in addition to the Sports Source Asia, which started successfully in 2007. "At our trade fairs, an increasing number of exhibitors and wholesalers with their own brands have spoken to us about an independent sourcing platform in Europe. It is a lot more efficient for them than visiting individual sourcing markets," Tobias Gröber explained. "Because sporting goods are becoming increasingly more fashionable and more oriented to lifestyle, they are increasingly subject to shortterm trends. In addition to Asia as the leading production region for sporting goods, sourcing markets at the doorstep of Europe such as North Africa and Eastern Europe and especially Turkey and Portugal are becoming increasingly more important."

    Another trade fair will be launched in 2009

    Messe München is already preparing another trade fair in Munich. "We are paying special attention to the growth segment of sportstyle in this. Consequently, we are planning a platform for sports-inspired lifestyle in 2009", Manfred Wutzlhofer stated.

    Strategic Alliance with Nielsen Business Media

    Messe München GmbH has concluded a strategic alliance with the largest North American sports trade fair organizer Nielsen Business Media to be able to act in all important markets worldwide. "The creation of lucrative new markets, above all in China, is contributing to the continual internationalization of the sporting goods industry. Consequently, we have concluded a strategic alliance with the biggest North American sport trade fair organizer Nielsen Business Media. Together, we are represented in all important markets worldwide. Thanks to this cooperation, we can also expand our activities substantially in the important North American market. In addition, we are planning to hold trade fairs jointly on new markets," according to Manfred Wutzlhofer.

    Susanne Fischer
    Messe München GmbH
    Head of Marketing & Communications for Consumer Goods Trade Fairs
    Tel: +49 (89) 949 202870

    April 2006

    SASGAM + 2 shows all set to go

    The weekend of 4-6 August is a red letter day for sport & outdoor trade show goers, with three industry shows drawing visitors to Johannesburg

    The Coca-Cola Dome is host to the SASGAM Show, a trade exhibition of the footwear, apparel, sport and outdoor equipment available from SA suppliers to the retail market. For the second year running, it will be organised by Classic Events, under the banner of an expanded SASGAM industry committee.

    Across town, in their usual Eskom Exhibition Centre venue, the SA Fishing Tackle Trade Association is holding their popular annual show for the fishing tackle trade.

    And on Saturday the 5th and Sunday 6th, Akals is holding the Johannesburg leg of their countrywide trade shows, exhibiting their extensive ranges of outdoor and fishing tackle equipment in the VW Centre.

    This year’s SASGAM Show will be free for all trade visitors and will be open from 9h30 to 6pm over the three days. While retailers will be the primary target as visitors, organiser Nigel Brown says other categories that will be encouraged to visit are:

  • Professional sports coaches, managers and organisations;
  • Gym, fitness and Country Clubs;
  • Sports clubs (professional, semi-professional and social);
  • Large sports departments and clubs (military, navy, air force, police, prison, fire department and mines);
  • Universities and college sports clubs;
  • Schools with a sports retail outlet
  • Hotel groups with gyms, retail outlets or sports facilities;
  • Government and official sports bodies
  • All major corporate sponsors (eg: Sasol, Momentum, Coke a Cola, Vodacom, Ford)

  • The SAFTTA fishing tackle and Akals shows will be free, as always, and strictly trade only.

    For information about the shows contact:
    SASGAM: Nigel Brown at Classic Events on
    SAFTTA: John Pledger on
    AKALS: Debbie Soogreem on

    Other dates of the 2006 Akals Shows (all on Sundays):

  • 30 July: Durban (Hellenic Centre)
  • 13th August: PE (Boardwalk Casino)
  • 20th August: Cape Town (Grand West Casino)

  • April/ May 2009

    Trade fairs reflect industry trends

    The GDS winter footwear trade fair in Düsseldorf this year reflected the apprehension of many in the fashion industry about trading conditions this year. In contrast, bookings for the OutDoor Europe Show are already at a record high — reflecting the global optimism in the outdoor industry as customers relieve the stress of the economic crunch with outdoor activities

    GDS smaller, but organisers positive

    Well-heeled and elegant, footwear buyers from across the world, including South Africa, again made their way to the sprawling trade fair complex on the outskirts of Düsseldorf, the fashionable Westphalian capital on the banks of the Rhine river, for the March GDS & Global Shoe international trade fairs for footwear and accessories.

    Twice a year, the latest trends, colours and footwear shapes (see the article on trends seen at the show) are shown to buyers from across the world, who come to see, learn (there are several seminars), catch up on what is happening in the industry (crisis, as in economic crisis, is a refrain) and meet friends.

    Representatives of the well-known international footwear brands lining the wide passages (plenty of space for socialising), smiled positively (“it will get busier, its still early”). The daily fashion shows, introduced by international model Lily Cole on the first morning, were an elbow-thrusting fight for space, especially on the Sunday, when the shop assistants attended their conference in droves.

    The roughly 800 exhibitors from 29 countries represented a 3% drop from the previous year. Visitor numbers* (31 000 buyers) were about 2 000 (6%) down from the previous year. This reflects global conditions in the fashion industry.

    The lower visitor numbers were, however, due to leading retailers sending fewer buyers, not because retailers stayed away, says Kirstin Deutelmoser, director of the GDS & Global Shoes trade fair.

    She also describes the fewer exhibitors as defying the cyclical downswing in the industry. “More than ever before the show offers all forms of trade a strong platform, not only for gathering information on the latest trends but also for scouting new trends, comparing merchandise and drawing inspiration.”

    The show has a distinctive German flavour — many lectures were only in German, without translation — although nearly half the visitors to the GDS show came from 90 other countries. Apart from Germany, the top five countries represented by visitors were the Benelux countries, UK, Austria, Italy and France. Exhibitors were mainly from EU and European countries, with German distributors predominant, but there were also exhibitors from Australia and New Zealand, Turkey, Israel, US, Canada and Brazil as well as China, Hong Kong, Taiwan and Japan showing their ranges.

    About a fifth of these visitors (6 200) also visited the Global Shoes sourcing show, combined with the GDS show for the first time. The approximately 310 manufacturers that exhibited came from 19 countries in Asia, the Far East, Europe etc.

    “We have probably never needed GDS as much as we do today,” said Ralph Rieker, chairman of the Federation of German Footwear Industry. He warned that 2009 will not be easy for many in the footwear industry. “What we need today is ideas and new concepts. Trade fairs are the perfect location for trade and industry to exchange views, to take new courage, and to provide new momentum.”

    But, despite the worldwide economic crisis “the labour market has shown itself to be robust, so that the buyer confidence is currently still positive,” he said. Employment in the German footwear industry grew by 5.3% in 2008 to more than 13 000 employees — the highest level for years. Consumer prices have remained, and will remain, stable so that buying resistance from this quarter is not indicated either, he reported.

    However, the German shoe production of approximately 26.3-m pairs in 2008 was slightly down from 2007 (minus 1.1%), reported Manferd Junkert, GM of the Federation of German Footwear Industry. The production of outdoor shoes with leather uppers dropped significantly (9%), while the domestic manufacturing of less labour intensive sandals and safety shoes grew. Annual turnover fell 3.6% from €2.8-bn to €2.7-bn in 2008.

    Shoe imports remained stable at 498.5-m pairs, an increase of 0.2%, with average prices increasing 1% to €8.86.

    The anti-dumping measures to protect European manufacturers introduced in 2006 had no effect, says Junkert (also see p28). Despite restricting quotas, imports from China grew 4.9% from 252-m to 264-m pairs. Imports from Vietnam had the second highest growth (10.8%). China and Vietnam now have 68.8% share of the German footwear market, up from 60.1% the previous year. Imports from Asia increased 3.8%, or 14-m pairs, to 388-m pairs.

    In comparison, shoe imports from the EU and other European countries fell 12.6%. Imports from Italy decreased from 21% to 5.5% of the market from 2007-2008. Imports from Spain dropped 23% to 5-m pairs.

    Yet, footwear exports from Germany rose 10.9% from 141-m pairs to 156-m pairs in 2008 — with Poland as the top importer (15%). The average price remained static at €15.57.

    He was optimistic that studies showing improved consumer confidence at the start of the year as a result of lower fuel and energy prices and a drop in the inflation rate would further strengthen the German footwear industry this year.

    Women are by far the largest footwear market — with women buying about six pairs of shoes per year, compared to men buying 1.5 pairs.

    According to Brigitte Wischnewski, President of the Federal Association of German Footwear Retail Trade (BDSE), the income of footwear retailers dropped about 2% last year, and about half the retailers lost income. However, 18% of companies participating in a BDSE survey reported an increase in turnover.

    The turnover of the whole footwear market is about €8.5-bn, and retail turnover of about €6.4-bn therefore constitutes about 75% of the total.

    “In the second half-year the effects of the global financial crisis began noticeably to affect the domestic market,” she said.

    “The greatest concern for footwear retailers is currently the fall in customer frequency, something which 58% of respondents (in the BDSE survey) complained about. Second among current problems is income development, almost 50% of companies reported a decline here. Rising energy costs are also causing a headache, affecting 94% of respondents.”

    As can be expected in the rainy, icy German winter weather, boots are the best selling footwear category. “Apart from the weather, fashion was the most important factor promoting sales of boots,” says Wischnewski. “Particularly when combined with jeans, they developed into a defining fashion image of the last season.

    “Among young customers, demand for fashionable footwear such as Converse and Vans continues.”

    Men’s (with a share of 16%) and children’s shoes (with a share of 12%) make up just half of the turnover achieved with ladies shoes.

    According to the BDSE survey, 40% of German footwear retailers anticipate the same turnover as last year and 11% expect a rise in turnover in 2009.

    “A five-year comparison shows clearly that the fluctuations in turnover in the footwear retail trade have been moderate. Wear and tear means that there is a steady demand for shoes. Women, in particular, want to keep up with fashion.”

    * Please remember that at international shows individual visitor numbers are counted when entrance tickets are clocked at electronic gates – a visitor attending three days of a show will be counted at least three times, more if he or she moved between sections (e.g. GDS and Global Shoes halls) or went in or out to attend seminars.

    Crisis, what crisis?
    Outdoor and cycling shows buck the trend

    Despite constant reminders in the European press that the economy is taking a turn for the worse, the news out of Friedrichshafen is upbeat: outdoor and cycling industry manufacturers appear determined to defy the current economic crisis and have already booked exhibition space for OutDoor Europe (July 16-19, 2009) and Eurobike (September 2-5, 2009) in record numbers.

    The two recently completed Friedrichshafen exhibition halls (A7 and B5), increasing exhibition space to 85 000m2, have already been filled, say Klaus Wellmann, MD of organisers Messe Friedrichshafen. Thus far, OutDoor has booked 707 exhibitors from 39 countries, representing a 10% increase over the same spring period last year (which was the biggest ever).

    Perhaps not so surprising, says Rolf Schmid, president of the European Outdoor Group (EOG): “Our industry will benefit from the change in social values. More consumers are spending their money on recreation, their health and leisure time. People won’t be buying stocks with their money, they’ll be getting out into nature and enjoying life.”

    Horst Penzkofer, head of trade show research at Munich’s IFO Institute for Economic Research, however, believes that this trend is unique. “Generally, the numbers of exhibitors and visitors at a trade show bear a direct relationship to the state of the economy,” he explains. “With the current recessionary conditions, falling figures would therefore have been expected.” But, as he points out, particular industries can experience growth in generally difficult circumstances.

    Both the outdoor and cycling industries are benefiting from this emerging trend in the marketplace,” asserts Stefan Reisinger, project director of the OutDoor and Eurobike shows.

    For example, Intersport, Germany’s leading buying association, broke the €2.4-bn sales barrier for the first time last year with outdoor, hiking and trekking (which together grew by 14%) as the major sales drivers. In general, the retail trade for leisure sport articles and accessories reported good to best-time sales figures for the closing European winter season.

    Both the outdoor and cycling industries are sending positive signals and will be introducing numerous innovations this year, says Reisinger. He believes the outdoor industry’s growth in the current economic crisis is due to continuous technical development in recent years, driven by consumers’ increasing awareness about quality. Innovation & Technology will therefore be the theme of this year’s OutDoor Show, with a lecture series to support it.

    The change in consumer behaviour — more and more people are adopting the bicycle as an alternative means of transportation — is also reaping benefits for Eurobike, Friedrichshafen’s second largest leisure and sport trade show. Thus far, 890 exhibitors from 40 countries have been registered for the September show, a figure higher than for any comparable time of year in the past.

    Outdoor industry manufacturers as well as those of the cycling industry are now hoping that their substantial investments will translate into correspondingly high order figures made by trade visitors. A good omen is that retailers are also expressing optimism about their future prospects. Intersport, for example, reports that consumer readiness to spend money on health and fitness continues to grow at an increasing rate, which should translate into sales growth.

    At the OutDoor show, the new halls A7 and B5 will be home to the Tent City, freeing more booth space in the other halls. There is also a new modern conference centre on the first floor of the new Foyer East, beside the exhibition access from the east. This offers exhibitors, associations, federations and media representatives more possibilities of organising conferences in attractive surroundings. The new Foyer East is fully integrated in the infrastructure network of the Messe, with WLan available free of charge in every corner of the exhibition site.

    To reduce individual traffic (and resultant energy consumption and pollutant emissions) to and from the exhibition site, the shuttle bus services will be extended at the OutDoor 2009. The hotel buses will now be running twice in the morning and twice in the evening. This also applies for trips to and from the most important regional airports.

    More information is available at and

    October 2006

    Why did the show not work?

    SASGAM 2006 will be remembered for a half-empty exhibition centre and a few scattered visitors. We could not find one exhibitor or visitor who said it was a success. TRUDI DU TOIT examines why

    It was very very tempting to write a rosy coloured review of this year’s SASGAM Show and to tell people it wasn’t really that bad.

    After all, the exhibitors went to a lot of trouble and spent a lot of money to design spectacular stands, many had to go to innovative lengths to get new ranges past customs in time for the show; there were plenty of interest to see and some visitors travlled from all over the country to attend.

    But, that would not be fair.

    Not fair to the exhibitors who expected to write orders to cover costs. Not fair to the visitors who expected to write orders for stock that would justify the cost of being away from their stores for the day. And certainly not fair to the SA sport and outdoor industry, as that will give the impression that this is the best it can offer.

    It will furthermore fuel myths that are certainly not true:

  • Myth #1: There are no more independent retailers left to attend shows;

  • Myth #2: Retailers are not interested in attending trade shows;

  • Myth #3: The SASGAM Show was always quiet and trade shows are dying worldwide

  • We can safely stick our necks out and call these fallacies, because two industry trade shows, held in the same city over the same weekend, as well as statistics from previous SASGAM and other shows, back us up.

    Myth #1: No independents

    There are about 3 500 independent retail buyers on the Sports Trader mailing list. More than 2 000 of them are in outlying areas, where they will not often see brand representatives or sales agents ... they therefore have an excellent reason for visiting a trade show. Many independents in the main centres have closed — but many more opened in outlying areas.

    Myth #2: No retail interest

    SAFTAD (SA Fishing Tackle Agents and Distributors), held a show for fishing tackle traders over the same weekend at the Eskom Convention Centre. There was such a demand for space that they had to accommodate exhibitors in aisles and foyers and there were so many retail visitors, that some complained about the crush on the Sunday.

    And yet, this show had no official organiser — the show is organised by a committee consisting of exhibitors — and no advertising is done, except through information published in Sports Trader and by issuing invitations to retailer customers.

    It got a life of its own over the past 7 years and just grew and grew, because every fishing tackle distributor wants to be at a show where buyers from more than 200 fishing tackle outlets spend at least one, often two to three days, to place orders with the 41 exhibitors (full report in Tackle Trader).

    Afterwards, several exhibitors held mini-shows in other provinces, which were also well attended.

    The SASGAM Show was indeed visited by buyers from more retail outlets than the fishing show — representatives from 350 stores — but most visitors to SASGAM only wanted to see a specific category of exhibitor.

    It is also significant that 63 of the SAFTAD show retail visitors were general sport and outdoor traders who did not bother to visit the SASGAM Show. Representatives from 37 sport and outdoor stores travelled from areas outside Gauteng — some so far as Namibia, Zimbabwe, KwaZulu-Natal, Western Cape, the Northern Province, Northwest and Free State — yet, they did not deem it worthwhile to visit the SASGAM show.

    The fishing show started a day after the SASGAM show and news travels fast in the industry. These retailers therefore preferred to spend all their time placing fishing tackle orders.

    It has become a tradition that the Johannesburg leg of the countrywide shows of Durban distributor, Akals, are held over the same weekend as the SAFTAD tackle show. As before, the show was packed with retailers viewing their new cycle, outdoor and fishing ranges ... many whom also visited the SAFTAD Show, but not SASGAM.

    Why visit one, not the other?

    Retailers travel across the country to visit trade shows — often at considerable cost if accommodation and travel costs for several buyers have to be paid — because it offers the chance to see most distributors of certain equipment categories and compare products

    Visitors to the fishing show could expect to place orders on 41 stands, because all exhibitors showed fishing-related products.

    SASGAM visitors could see:

  • Apparel & footwear 17 stands (32%)

  • Sport exhibits 10 stands (30%)

  • Overseas exhibits 16 stands (30%)

  • Outdoor exhibits 4 stands (7%)

  • Store design 1 stand (1%)

  • In other words, although there were 54 exhibitors, visitors interested in seeing one specific category would, for instance, have only 17 exhibitors to visit.

    When one looks at what the visitors expected to see, and compare it the number of exhibitors, reasons for the visitor dissatisfaction becomes clear — despite some excellent exhibits.

    April 2007

    Why ispo trade shows work

    While the demise of trade shows in other parts of the world — including SA — is being lamented, ispo is growing their portfolio of sport and outdoor trade shows. The latest is a show in Hong Kong, aimed at companies and brands seeking Chinese manufacturers

    Introducing a trade show to a new market is no easy task. Especially not if the work has to be coordinated from a country in a 6-hour difference time zone. And the one group speaks German, while the other are mainly Chinese speakers.

    It is therefore interesting to see how Messe Munchen International (MMI), organisers of the ispo sports trade shows, went about introducing the concept of a trade show to a market vastly different from their own.

    Although they had long-standing relationships with the 180-odd international distributors that would eventually fill 16 500m2 of Beijing’s Agricultural Exhibition Hall with more than 300 brands, not one stand would have been sold had they not been able to guarantee visits from Chinese retailers.

    The previous year about 11 000 visitors attended an ispo summer show in the sweltering heat of Shanghai, China’s equivalent to New York. This year the show was moved closer to China’s burgeoning snow industry in the chilly late winter season.

    Prior to the show, ispo China Ambassadors travelled to about 1 000 retailers in 12 cities in the North, East and Northeast of China to promote the concept and benefits of the ispo trade show, Manfred Wutzlhofer, CEO of Messe MMI, said at the opening press conference.

    In addition, the ispo China preview magazine, with news about exhibitors and sneak previews of launches at the show, were sent to retailers in the Asia-Pacific region a few weeks before the show. A weekly ispo and ispo China e-newsletter was sent to 20 000 potential visitors, providing information on the show, booking etc., said Wutzlhofer.

    This was finished off with mailshots to retailers in the Asian-Pacific region and helped by press releases to trade journalists in various countries.

    The result was about 12 000 visitors attending the 4-day show, which also included an Asia Pacific Snow Conference, presentations by sport style guru’s WGSN and Promostyl and a China Outdoor Retailing Conference aimed at retailers.

    "We succeeded because we had our key account programme in place, did extensive visitor promotions, had a support programme, have a strong international network, effective communication and created high media attention," says Wutzlhofer.

    Although considerably smaller than the ispo Winter and ispo Summer shows traditionally held in Munich, there was a lively atmosphere in the hall with global brands keen to establish a presence in this country of 1,3-bn people who have only discovered the joys of organised recreational during the past ten years — and are vigorously making up for lost time.

    Chinese brands were exhibiting alongside the many global brands well-known in SA — show sponsor The North Face made a big impact with an enormous stand that attracted plenty of feet, while other well-known outdoor brands include Buff, La Sportiva, Merrell, Petzl, Silva, Tecnica, and Vasque.

    Although this show centred mainly around snowsport — the main European winter activity — there were quite a few sporting equipment and clothing exhibitors. Thule showed their new cycle carriers to retailers catering for a city of about 6-m cars and probably as many cycles, while Trek introduced their latest cycle range.

    The Springbok rugby jersey introduced itself to the Chinese trade on the Canterbury stand, where their base layers (promoted by huge posters of Bryan Habana) attracted considerable attention, according to Canterbury GM Asia Pacific, Brendan Cheyne.

    Any form of activity attracted crowds: the mechanical bull riding competition on the Chinese brand Black Yak’s stand, the injury-wrapping demonstrations on the LP support stand ... and especially a dart throwing competition on the Unicorn stand had visitors eagerly queuing to take a turn at this new game unknown to most of them.

    Unicorn also displayed a snooker cue in the colours of the SA flag.

    While the liberalisation of trade barriers in 2005 had the effect that Chinese goods flooded other markets, it also opened the Chinese doors to international brands. In 2004, Euro Asia Consulting estimated that about 77-m Chinese are middle and higher income earners who would buy branded sports goods — this figure is growing as the GDP grows by an estimated 8% p.a. and more and more consumers enjoy the luxury of recreation.

    Hong Kong Sourcing Show

    A new type of trade show will be held from 27-30 October in Hong Kong — where Chinese manufacturers will be exhibiting to international distributors and retailers.

    It will be jointly organised by ispo organisers Messe München International (MMI) and the Hong Kong Trade Development Council (HKTDC), both with extensive experience in organising trade shows.

    Prospective exhibitors will be Asian suppliers of sports equipment — ball games, golf, watersport, cycling, field and track, indoor sports, fitness etc. — sport shoes, clothing and accessories.

    MMI is keen for a buying group from SA to attend this show and has asked SA Sports Trader to liaise with potential visitors.

    With the favourable Rand exchange rate (HK$1 is 90c), travelling to Hong Kong is much more affordable than travelling to Europe and could offer local distributors a cost-effective chance to meet with existing suppliers and make new contacts.

    Anyone interested in visiting the Sports Source Asia Show in Hong Kong in October can contact SA Sports Trader on Tel: 021 461 2544 or Email


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