Final report: ISPO Munich: Digitalization drives growth in the sporting goods industry

ISPO Munich, the world’s largest sports trade show, ends today. The snowy setting boosted interest in winter sports products and filled the corridors during the four-day event.

  • Snowy winter generates high demand
  • First ISPO Munich Sports Week thrilled consumer
  • More than 84,000 visitors from 120 countries—international character of fair increases

ISPO Munich, the world’s largest sports trade show, ends today. The snowy setting boosted interest in winter sports products and filled the corridors during the four-day event. In addition to the latest winter sports equipment, the 2,801 companies at the fair showcased innovations and trends in the areas of outdoor and health & fitness. The focal point was the increasing digitalization of the sporting goods industry, a topic that was explored in the new format ISPO Digitize.

Klaus Dittrich, Chairman and CEO of Messe München, said: “With ISPO Digitize, we have pointed the way to the future for the sporting goods industry and sports retailing. The next step will be to apply this positive momentum and to get more people excited about sports.” The Digitize Area in Hall A4 provided a glimpse of the digital future. Representatives of sports retailing and the sporting goods industry had an opportunity to learn about digital solutions in product development, manufacture, marketing and sales. With the help of the Digital Readiness Check, they could see just how fit their own business is.

The Digitize Area included adidas, which took part in the fair for the first time since 2006. “ISPO created a platform where the opportunities of the digital transformation for retailers and brands can be jointly refined. As the market leader, we came back in order to openly and transparently demonstrate our connection to retailers who see this as a clear opportunity,” says Roland Auschel, the member of the Executive Board at adidas who oversees global sales. One of the highlights of the fair was the joint symposium organized by ISPO and adidas. It posed one key question to visitors: “Are you ready for the future?!”. An in-depth report about the symposium is available at The format ISPO Digitize will be continued from June 28–29, 2018, at the ICM – Internationales Congress Center München.

Tremendous interest in winter sports themes
The winter sports segment attracted a large number of visitors this year. Powered by new trends and the use of new technologies in winter sports products, this area is generating huge amounts of interest. “We intend to respond to this dynamic development and will intensify our collaboration work with ski manufacturers,” announces Klaus Dittrich, the Chairman and CEO of Messe München. The ISPO Munich Sports Week brought the excitement about the products to the city of Munich and spoke directly to end consumers. “We intend to expand this concept further.”

Outdoor visionary Gertrude “Gert” Boyle honored with the ISPO Cup
The outdoor segment at ISPO Munich has continually grown. “The understanding about what outdoor is has changed over the years,” Dittrich says. “In addition to water sports, running and fitness, the segment now includes fashion as well.” A visionary of the outdoor industry was honored during the sports trade fair: Gertrude “Gert” Boyle, the former president of Columbia, was presented with the ISPO Cup for her lifetime achievements.

The ISPO Munich in numbers
More than 84,000 industry visitors from 120 countries came to Munich (2017: 86,841). ISPO Munich enhanced its international character once again. The largest growth was produced (in this sequence) by Austria, Japan, Turkey, the Czech Republic, Great Britain and the United States.

A total of 2,801 exhibitors showcased their products and innovations. This represents an increase of two percent compared with 2017. The expanded hall concept was well-received. Thomas Delago, the Managing Director of Nitro Snowboards, saids: “The new concept with the central aisle created a feeling of openness. We were able to reach retailers who are not so heavily involved in the snowboard business as a result. Products were not just simply displayed here. They were placed on center-stage, and trends were showcased.” Delago said his goal was to increasingly motivate and excite retailers. “The concept was really popular and is heading in the right direction. We are looking forward to refining the idea with ISPO Munich.”

ISPO Munich 2019 to have more exhibition space
The Munich trade fair center will open two new halls this year: C5 and C6. As a result, ISPO Munich will have a total of 18 halls starting in 2019. The sporting goods industry will profit from this expansion. Growth is expected to be generated primarily by the areas of outdoor, health & fitness and innovative textiles.

More information about ISPO Munich is available in an interview with Klaus Dittrich, the Chairman and CEO of Messe München, on

Photos from ISPO Munich 2018 are available in the media database. You will find all ISPO TV reports on our website and YouTube channel.

The next ISPO Munich will be held from February 3–6, 2019 in Munich.


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