Equestrian sports industry optimistic for EQUITANA 2011

March 10, 2011

The German economy is recovering from the crisis. As a result, the equestrian sports market is already feeling the incipient upturn. The industry is now looking toward the coming EQUITANA (12 to 20 March) with anticipation. For many years, the Equestrian Sports World Fair has been considered a business barometer, providing important impulses to the entire equestrian sports industry every two years. Currently, prospects for EQUITANA 2011 are bright: 850 exhibitors from 25 countries have registered for EQUITANA 2011; many of the 17 trade fair halls have been completely booked for some time. Optimism is the prevailing mood among exhibitors.

Equestrian sports industry has recovered
The upturn has already reached the companies exhibiting at EQUITANA. This was shown in a representative survey conducted among the exhibitors of the coming trade fair by EQUITANA organiser Reed Exhibitions. Manufacturers and suppliers from the areas of tack and clothing, horse boxes, riding arena and stable construction, and feed and care products were interviewed. The result: overall, some 61 percent feel that business is picking up, for some of these (19 percent) even quite significantly.

Overall, the equestrian sports industry is looking towards the future with optimism: 65 percent of the exhibitors interviewed regard the business trend as positive and expect their area of business to show a “strong” to “slight increase”. Only 7.5 percent expressed a pessimistic view of their future and expect business to decline further.

Creativity instead of resignation
Almost half of the companies (45 percent) were affected by the crisis of the past two years. However, one in three companies took an offensive stand and responded with new product developments and increased sales activities (32.5 percent each). A reduction of the workforce (12. 5 percent) or stock clearance sales (7.5 percent), on the other hand, was a less prominent option among those interviewed.

Overall, the equestrian sports market came through the crisis well: among the interviewed exhibitors, companies who did not suffer any serious consequences from the economic downturn were almost the majority. Wolf Zimmermann of Joh’s Stübben saddlemakers is a case in point: “Other industries are certainly affected to a much higher degree, as in equestrian sports a certain number of customers will have the financial means for their hobby regardless of the economic situation.”

Strong sales markets abroad
The industry has great expectations for expanding sales markets abroad. While the countries of Western and Southern Europe are at present the most important markets for the companies interviewed, Eastern Europe, the CIS countries, Scandinavia, South East Europe and the Arab countries are clearly considered the most attractive future sales markets. There are also new opportunities emerging overseas: “For the future we see potential in China and, as a long-term perspective, also again in the US”, says Elfert Rüb of Röwer & Rüb Pferdesportsysteme. Lothar Bänisch of stable and pasture equipment manufacturer Großewinkelmann sees opportunities in new markets, but points out, “Establishing the quality ‘Made in Germany’ in the respective markets will require enormous marketing effort.”

Germany will continue as the core market for the equestrian sports industry. Production for this market, however, increasingly takes place abroad. 42. 5 percent of the exhibitors interviewed are already having their products manufactured in European countries like Poland, the Czech Republic, the Netherlands or Croatia, but Russia, India, China and Pakistan were also mentioned as production locations. One in four people interviewed plans to further expand production in these countries in future.

EQUITANA: The world’s number one meeting place for equestrian sports
As the “Mother of all Equestrian Fairs” EQUITANA has been setting standards in equestrian sports for nearly 40 years: This is the place, where new international horse breeds and riding styles started out on their road of success. World champions are celebrated here. Up-and-coming stars and experts in horse¬manship make their first appearance in one of the several shows. Novelties and news from the scene of equestrian sports make EQUITANA what it is today: the world’s biggest meeting place for equestrian sports.

With more than 200,000 visitors from 25 nations and more than 850 exhibitors, EQUITANA 2011, to be held from 12 to 20 March in Essen/Germany, will again be a fair of superlatives. As such it is a “must“ for all professional equestrian businesses, breeding associations and riders as well as for horse lovers. In the exhibition area comprising a total of 16 trade fair halls with a surface of almost 100,000 sqm, visitors will find everything to do with horses: from complete riding arenas and luxury liners for transporting horses to stable construction and event equipment to accessories and top quality equestrian sports clothing. Especially professional equestrian enterprises and large investors from all over the world take advantage of this internationally unique product density.

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