Wednesday, 01. February 2017

Comments by Klaus Dittrich at the Main Press Conference 2017

Chairman/CEO of Messe München
at the Main Press Conference for ISPO MUNICH 2017

Wednesday, February 1, 2017, 10:00
Messe München
Press Conference Room, Press Center West
(Last update: January 26, 2017)

The spoken word applies.


Ladies and Gentlemen,
I cordially welcome all of you to this year's Main Press Conference for ISPO MUNICH, which will open its doors on Sunday with a record-breaking 2,732 (2016: 2,645) exhibiting companies. For four days, Munich will host a gathering for the international sports industry. The share of companies that come from countries other than Germany has never been higher than it is at this year's fair (2017: 89 percent/ 2016: percent). That confirms the growing international significance of this industry.

ISPO has enormous range as an industry and communication platform. These days, the ISPO MUNICH website reaches approximately 500,000 users. We reach an average of 250,000 users per month with, the news portal that we launched just less than a year ago. In other words, we network the industry 365 days a year. Now adidas is part of that network again, something that I am very pleased about. On Monday we are hosting a symposium together titled “Digitalization as a growth stimulus in industry and commerce.”

ISPO consumer report [Slide 2]

To assert yourself in the marketplace, now more than ever it is important for the industry to recognize future-oriented trends and track down new growth potential: How is the industry preparing itself for that? What strategies promise to be successful? Where does the potential lie? The consumer is at the heart of these considerations with his needs and wishes. To have long-term success on the market, knowing what the customer is thinking and what his interests are is more important than ever.

ISPO takes that into account and brings together brands, companies, dealers and customers to dialog. And it does so the entire year with a variety of services, some that go beyond the trade fair itself.

One of them is a recent representative survey of consumers that ISPO conducted in conjunction with the Konzept & Markt market research institute. Why do consumers buy which sports products? What is important to consumers? 3,500 consumers in the D/A/CH region responded to the survey. Here are the most important results of the ISPO consumer report:

[Message 1: ISPO consumer report—Stationary outlets are still a mainstay]
There is some good news for stationary retailers: Gather information online, but purchase offline—Most consumers definitely prefer the shopping experience in stores as opposed to buying online. When they go to a specialty retailer, above all they want competent and individual advice that pertains to their sport. They want to hold products in their hands, try it them and talk about the products' advantages with a salesperson who knows what he is talking about, hopefully from his own experience.

However, this much is extremely clear: Retailers must take a multi-pronged approach and develop attractive multi-channel solutions when it comes to sales so that they can pick up customers everywhere and not miss out on sales potential. Digitalization plays an existential role here.

A joint project involving ISPO MUNICH, Bogner and the Fraunhofer Institute for Integrated Circuits demonstrates how digital technologies can be used to make the stationary shopping experience more emotional in the future. A virtual reality headset makes possible for the customer to stand on a 500-meter-high tower of ice in a winter wonderland. An eagle is circling above him, and there is a snowstorm. A small bridge leads the guest through a portal and a journey through time through the world of Bogner begins. Then the traveller takes a short run down the ski slope in the latest Bogner outfits. You can experience it all at ISPO MUNICH.

[Message 2: Health and fitness sports disciplines are extremely popular, and the borders between function and fashion are becoming blurred]
The survey also revealed that health and fitness sports disciplines such as yoga or pilates are extremely popular. Approximately 40 percent of those surveyed actively participate in them, so products in these segments represent a major future market.

There is also another trend that has enormous growth potential. Sports have an ever-increasing influence on fashion, and vice-versa. Wearing sneakers to work or an ultra-lightweight down jacket to go shopping in the city—which used to be considered at least questionable from a fashion perspective—is now fashionable. The borders between fashion and functional clothing continue to dissolve.

[Message 3: Wearables are a rapidly growing market]
The market for wearable electronics, or wearables, also remains extremely promising. They include digital assistants that measure your heart rate, heat your clothing or record your sleep patterns, and ISPO MUNICH has a great deal of space devoted to this future topic. Exhibitors such as Samsung, Casio, Garmin and Polar will present that latest developments in the special “Mobile Health & Fitness” area in Hall B5. There will also be presentations as part of the ISPO TEXTRENDS Trend Conference.

The Wearable Technologies Conference EUROPE, which takes place at the ICM – Internationales Congress Center München at the same time as ISPO MUNICH, i.e. on February 7 and 8, will also show what growth potential this sector has.

Because wearables are relevant to several branches of industry, for the first time ever Messe München is offering to take exhibitors from its technology shows on a guided tour of ISPO MUNICH. For example, this year customers of LOPEC, the leading trade fair for printed electronics, will have an opportunity to make contacts with innovation managers and development executives. There will also be lectures on “The future of sports and electronics.”

We continue to expand these activities. Markets that have had very little to do with one another until now are increasingly seeking dialog. Here at Messe München, we use our events to bring these various markets together. In doing so, we create synergies so that our customers in the sports and electronics sectors can work together to sound out their potential, generate new business models and promote innovations.

In the next step, product and innovation managers from the sports industry will go to LOPEC to find potential business partners. In conjunction with ISPO, the World Federation of the Sporting Goods Industry's (WFSGI) World Manufacturers Forum is being held within the scope productronica, the International Trade Fair for Electronics Production, in November. There is a great deal of potential to collaborate here and to transfer innovations from one industry to the other more quickly and efficiently in the process.

The results of the ISPO consumer report will also be presented and discussed at the ISPO ACADEMY on Sunday and Wednesday. A summary is available on your press stick.


Besides an efficient business platform, ISPO gives its customers a direct connection to consumers. Three years ago, we launched ISPO OPEN INNOVATION to create a new way to involve end consumers in product development. As it turned out, it was a pioneering effort, and the initiative continues to thrive:

In December, we launched a project together with Chinese manufacturer KTC to develop a winter jacket that is as versatile as possible. The objective is not to mass produce the jacket, but to document a detailed product study for the entire industry. The project shows how a company can take advantage of our other services, i.e. ISPO BUSINESS SOLUTIONS, over a complete product cycle. You can find out what consumers expect from this kind of jacket from ISPO OPEN INNOVATION. Young designers from around the world develop concepts for the jacket—and they use materials that received the highest ratings at ISPO TEXTRENDS. We will then present the various concepts at the ISPO.COM portal, and you can examine them in person here at ISPO MUNICH in 2018. KTC wants to implement the best design as a prototype, reproduce it and the sell it to product designers via the ISPO SHOP.


Despite all forms of virtual contact, personal dialog is still important, and nothing can replace actually attending ISPO MUNICH: The trade fair is indispensible when it comes to making contacts and expanding one's network. It presents innovation, depicts trends and identifies potential and development alternatives.

As I mentioned earlier, we are very pleased that all 16 halls are booked to capacity again this year. A total of 2,732 companies (2016: 2,645) will be on hand, which is an increase of three percent over last year. 89 percent (2016: 87 percent) of exhibitors are from abroad. The countries with the largest contingents of exhibitors include Germany, China, Italy, Taiwan, Great Britain and USA.

We look forward to welcoming new companies and brands in all exhibition sectors—companies such as Samsung, Casio and even Triumph, just to name a few. The Outdoor sector has seen exceptional growth with 40 new exhibitors. Above all, they include international brands such as Scrubba, a former BRANDNEW finalist (2015) from Australia, and Sealand Gear from South Africa.

Last but not least, this success is attributable to our collaboration with our partners, and I would like to take this opportunity to thank them for their phenomenal support. The European Outdoor Group (EOG) and the World Federation of the Sporting Goods Industry (WFSGI) are just two of our very valuable partners.

I am particularly pleased that Mr. Haizmann from the German Sports Retailers' Association (Verband des deutschen Sportfachhandels) is here today. The association is the founder and conceptual sponsor of ISPO MUNICH and contributes significantly to this event's success. Welcome, Mr. Haizmann!


Targeting women and addressing them better can help to increase sales in the sports industry. The Health & Fitness sector in particular still has a great deal of potential to offer because athletic young women are clearly a growing target group. Whether as customers, managers or influencers—for the first time ever, ISPO will be a stronger platform for the topic of women in sports. Among other things, there will be a panel discussion about women as a target group in the sports industry at the ISPO ACADEMY. Women visitors can take advantage of the Women's Business Lounge in Hall B1. A guided tour of the fair for women, which is being organized in conjunction with Messe München's “Women Connect” initiative, is also planned. Another highlight in the program of events is a visit by the FC Bayern Munich Women's Football Team on Monday.

With more than 400 events, the ISPO MUNICH program is very extensive. Which is why I would like to take this opportunity to call your attention to our event database at the website and on the ISPO MUNICH App. It will give you a look at all of our events at a glance.


Ski touring and freeriding, which are great ways to enjoy the snow “off piste”, are an important trend. However, the danger should not be underestimated. That is why the ISPO Snow & Safety Summit in Hall A3 will be dedicated to the topic of safety and include an exhibition and brief presentations.

Another customer-friendly attraction will be a joint exhibition featuring several manufacturers of helmets and eyewear in Hall A4.

A perennial issue in the industry is sustainability. More and more manufacturers want to make products that are of high quality but are produced fairly and consuming as few resources as possible. ISPO MUNICH ensures added transparency on the market: Companies that are particularly ecology conscious will be labeled with a green leaf in the catalog and at their stands. To receive this distinction, they must indicate in advance which ecology certificates have been awarded to their products.

For the first time ever, there will also be a separate stand for sustainability (Corporate Social Responsibility) in the Outdoor Hall (A1). Experts will be on hand there to answer questions about product development, communication and design. Visitors can also gather information about labels and trade associations that are customary in the industry.

ISPO AWARD [Slide 7]

Another orientation aid for dealers and customers alike is the ISPO AWARD, which has an international reputation as a quality seal for outstanding sports products. This year the jury selected its favorites from more than 500 submissions in the categories ACTION, OUTDOOR, SKI, PERFORMANCE and Health & Fitness. But be sure to stop by the ISPO AWARD exhibition in Hall B1. Additional information about the award's winners is also available in your press folder.

The ISPO BRANDNEW AWARD, on the other hand, is the most important award for new entrepreneurs in the industry. This year, nearly 400 applicants from around the world submitted their products, and an independent jury selected the Top 50 newcomers.

The PIQ Robot won in the “Wearables” category. The minicomputer is worn on the wrist and analyses movement patterns in sports. Then it makes recommendations on ways to improve via smartphone. In the “Accessories” category, YOYO MATS from the United States was voted Number 1. The company developed the world's first self-rolling fitness and yoga mat. Anticonf from Switzerland convinced the jury with environmentally friendly snowboards made of bamboo and cork. All the winners will present themselves in the ISPO BRANDNEW VILLAGE in Hall B5.


One of the reasons that ISPO has so many fans is all the prominent sports personalities who stop by the fair. Windsurfer and kite surfer Robby Naish, ski legends Bode Miller and Maria Höfl-Riesch and ultra-runner Florian Neuschwander are among the big names expected in 2017.

Thanks to the European Federation of the Sporting Goods Industry (FESI), we will welcome a guest from the world or politics, i.e. El?bieta Bie?kowska, the EU Commissioner for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs, to the fair on Tuesday. As a result, the relationship between European institutions and the sporting-goods industry will be strengthened even further.

The ISPO VIP Dinner with some 350 guests from the commercial, sports and media sectors takes place on Tuesday evening. In this case, we especially look forward to Hermann Maier, an exceptional athlete and one of the most successful ski racers in the world. He will be honored with the ISPO Cup 2017. Despite a number of setbacks, he never allowed himself to be thrown off course. His stamina and his internal strength have made him a role model for many athletes both in skiing and other sports. I still remember the hard fall that he took at the Olympic games in Nagano. Two days later, he competed again in the giant slalom and won the gold medal!


Speaking of the Olympic games, this is a good opportunity to take a brief look at ISPO BEIJING. It is being held in conjunction with Alpitec China in Beijing in mid-February. Naturally, the 2022 Olympic games in Beijing are already casting their shadow.

The largest multi-segment trade fair in the Asian region is already booked to capacity. It will feature a total of 502 exhibitors, which is another increase of more than seven percent over the same point in time last year. 728 brands including Fjällräven, GoPro and Thule will be represented there. Because demand is so high, we want to increase the amount of available exhibition space for 2018 and 2019.

Start-up Village, which gives interested new Chinese companies and brands a platform, is a new attraction in 2017.

Another highlight is the Asia Pacific Snow Conference (APSC). The conference revolves around designing ski resorts and their infrastructures and around training ski instructors. There is still a great deal of work to be done here before the Olympic games come in 2022. But it will be worthwhile, because the growth potential on the Chinese market is enormous.


Ladies and Gentlemen,
As you can see, ISPO is right at the forefront in everything that moves the international sports business. As a central hub, it helps to recognize opportunities and then take full advantage of them. Thank you for your attention. I wish everyone an inspiring ISPO MUNICH 2017. There certainly won't be any shortage of topics, stories or aha moments.


Kathrin Hagel
PR Manager

+49 89 949-21474

Julia Beckert
Communications Coordinator

+49 89 949-21478