Majority of EOG brands who completed a market feedback survey reported growth of +2.5% in value
Retailers report modest growth in sell out for Q1-Q3
45% of EOG retail members surveyed report winter season growth vs previous year
The European Outdoor Group (EOG) has released the first 2015 data from its ongoing market research programme. In an annual market feedback survey completed by 50 EOG members, 85% reported an increase in wholesale sales value compared to 2014, with 73% stating growth of +2.5% and 12% recording growth of up to 2.5%. Around 8% stated that sales were down, with the remainder reporting that they were flat.
Asked what key factors influenced the sales of outdoor products in 2015, EOG members highlighted that the overall value of goods sold is increasing, with consumers being willing to pay a premium for innovation, while there has also been a rise in year round products and fashion oriented styles, and trends such as ‘lumber-sexual’ have driven sales of outdoor style products. The growth of outdoor footwear, especially multi-functional styles, has also been strong.
The EOG has also published the latest results from its retail sales barometer4, with input from the association’s retail members and brands with own retail. Although not representative of the whole outdoor retail sector, the barometer includes some of Europe’s major players. With the Q1-Q3 surveys now complete, the study indicates that overall there was low single digit growth for the majority of retailers, although some months were tougher than others. Within that timeframe, a positive Q3 was influenced by warm weather in July.
Looking at the winter 2015/16 season, the picture is mixed. In a retail market snapshot survey of 11 major retailers and buying groups that are EOG members, 45% of respondents stated that unit sales are higher than at the same time last year and 36% reported a decrease. Retailers reported a challenging start to the winter, due to the wider business climate and the slow arrival of conditions conducive to selling seasonal products. In addition, unfavourable exchange rates have reduced profitability for many outdoor businesses and have put pressure on price increases.
Despite these challenges, the underlying trend and expectations are cautiously optimistic. Looking ahead, 64% of those retailers surveyed expect that by the end of the season sales (value and volume) will have increased compared to winter 2014/15 (55% expect growth of +2.5% and 9% expect the increase to be up to 2.5%).
Finally, the overall sentiment for the year 2016 is positive, according to EOG members, with over 75% expecting 2016 to be better than 2015 (30% expect the year to be much better).
Mark Held, EOG general secretary, comments: “Our industry continues to operate in a rapidly changing business and consumer environment. In the context of some very big challenges and accepting that there hasn’t been growth across the board, these early indications are signs of the underlying strength of the outdoor sector.
“Looking at the big picture, it is clear that outdoor businesses must adapt to attract the next generation of consumers. Finding ways to inspire more people to get outdoors and participate is vital to the long term health of our industry. The good news is that consumers do value innovation and that is something that this sector has a great track record of delivering. Businesses need to keep doing that, while finding ways to engage effectively with those people who will become the next generation of outdoor enthusiasts.”