The Outdoor Trade Show (OTS) 2018 closed its doors on its 13th year on a high, receiving excellent feedback from exhibitors and visitors alike. Taking place at EventCity, Manchester for the first time, the new location was also praised by all.
950 trade visitors attended the show over the three day period, representing a 7.5% increase from 2017, but what was more noticeable was the overall 30% increase on repeat visitors on the Wednesday and Thursday, indicating that more buyers chose to stay at the show for longer to accommodate the increased number of 118 exhibitors at the show.
For the first time at the show there were retail buyers from Tiso, Gaynor Sports, George Fisher and Craigdon Mountain Sports as well as from the multiples, including JD Sports, Outdoor and Cycle Concepts, Ellis Brigham, Decathlon, Go Outdoors and independent outdoor stores such as John Attwooll and Co, Taunton Leisure, Winfields, Trekitt and 53 Degrees North.
Simon Clark, Owner of Taunton Leisure said: “I thought the show and the venue was very good and for us this helps us maximise our time to do business with key brands and a valuable insight to other brands that we may not currently work with. All in all a good effort and I hope that both the outdoor trade and retailers alike will support a single show going forward. Up to now I have found it frustrating the amount of satellite shows around the country and I sincerely hope that going forward everyone can unite behind one show.”
Show organiser Marta Williams, from MCS commented: “The move to Manchester was daunting following 12 years at Stoneleigh Park, but we could not be happier with the venue and the team, nothing was too much trouble, it definitely was the right decision. The positive atmosphere was experienced in the hall from the build-up days and only got better during the three days of the show. Feedback has been excellent, not only due to the increase in visitor numbers but the quality of these who attended. We look forward to an even bigger and better event for 2019.”
Andrew Denton, CEO, Outdoor Industries Association (OIA) said: “OTS 2018 delivered with a great mix of brands and quality visitors and the OIA is proud to be part of it. We are already planning and looking forward to next year. OTS will welcome even more key brands for 2019 – now is the time to pull together, to save carbon, time, money & resource, let’s make OTS the central focus of the UK outdoor industry in 2019. As OutDoor moves to the new dates in Munich, OTS will follow on a week later, giving exhibitors time to move stands and samples from Europe and immediately follow up with presentations to their largest UK customers for second viewings and to show the independents what was at OutDoor. We will be introducing new areas for trail running and climbing, a bouldering wall, speakers, more events, more space, more opportunities.”
Highlights from the show included the world-renowned British Army parachute team, the Red Devils, who delivered an incredible display and parachute jump on the first day of the show, the display of over 90 products at the UK Outdoor Industry Awards 2019 area and the OTS Party on the Wednesday, which welcomed over 250 exhibitors and visitors with music, food, drink and games for all.
Ralph White, Managing Director of Rosker said: “It was very important that OTS succeeded to attract good numbers of existing and new customers. Our objective was to present a much wider range of products than we’ve ever managed to before. Moreover the trade needed a shot in the arm, which it got. Our hopes were more than met. We were busy much of the time and our meetings were high quality ones. I am happy with the return we will make on our investment. To buyers who weren’t able to make it this year I would say make a note in your diary now for OTS 2019.”
First time exhibitor, Jonathan Petty, Marketing Director of Osprey said: “The Outdoor Trade Show was a great success for Osprey. We were able to showcase our new and existing product lines to current and prospective customers in an environment filled with passionate industry leaders.”
Peter Rostron from Helinox UK said: “Helinox had a really positive show, we were delighted with the location of the show, timing of the show and our stand location. We were impressed with the number of retailers present, not only from the outdoor market but also from other sectors, it felt like there was a real togetherness between suppliers and retailers. Overall a big step forward and has definitely laid the foundation for a well-attended UK trade show which has been missing for a number of years.”
Matt Moore, Owner of Proagencies said: “We always have a great time at OTS, the show is really well organised and this year the new venue in Manchester provided a great atmosphere and brought in plenty of retailers and journalists to keep us all busy, it never really feels like work!”
Jason Myers, Owner of First Ascent said: “Thanks for a great show – honestly it was absolutely fantastic – it felt right from the moment we started to carry everything in. I’ll sign for next year right now!.”
Chris Wilson, from Charles Birch (Vibram) said: “Following a disappointing experience at Stoneleigh Park in 2017 we were very pleased that the show was moved to Manchester. We found Event City to be an excellent venue and were pleased with the number of good quality businesses who came through the stand. With minimalist footwear on the rise we were delighted with the orders placed and general interest in Vibram FiveFingers and Vibram Furoshiki”. Congratulations on the move to Manchester, we shall be re-booking for next year.”
Sam Fernando, Sales Director of Keela, said: “Big thumbs up from Keela. OTS with a new venue, fresh look and positive energy promised much and it delivered! The Keela team were kept busy with visits from existing partners and walk on new accounts. The networking offered including Rescue teams was also a refreshing change. “
“For us, OTS represents a platform that provides a complete overview of the UK outdoor market and effectively connects retailers and outdoor brands within the industry. We’ve enjoyed a high amount of visitors coming to our booth interested in further cooperation. We also appreciate the highest award in the UK Outdoor Industry Award. The whole team behind Skinners will definitely come back for OTS next year.” – Petr Procházka, Founder & CEO of Skinners
A follow up survey will be distributed to exhibitors and visitors to gain further feedback, and opinions for next year’s show, which will once again offer a fantastic opportunity for retailers to see a wide variety of outdoor brands presenting clothing, footwear and accessory products.