Outdoor Retailer and SIA at odds about growing slate of winter tradeshows in 2018
Outdoor Retailer tradeshow calendar
The venue for the Grassroots Outdoor Alliance Connect show will be at the South Towne Expo Center in Sandy, Utah. All Outdoor Retailer shows return to the Salt Palace Convention Center in Salt Lake City.
Jan. 10-12 — Outdoor Retailer Winter Market
Jan. 9 — All Mountain Demo
July 26-29 — Outdoor Retailer Summer Market
July 25 — Open Air Demo
Jan. 9-11 — Outdoor Retailer Winter Market
June 6-9 — Grassroots Outdoor Alliance Connect (invite only)
June 10 — Specialty Retailer Education Day
June 11-14 — Outdoor Retailer Summer Market
Sept. 6-8 — Outdoor Retailer Expo at Surf Expo
Nov. 7-10 — Grassroots Outdoor Alliance Connect (invite only)
Nov. 11 — Specialty Retailer Education Day
Nov. 12-15 — Outdoor Retailer Winter Market
Outdoor Retailer (OR), the nation’s largest tradeshow for tastemakers in the recreation industry, is changing the way it hosts winter and summer markets. And not everyone is happy.
In early November, OR officials announced a new slate of tradeshows for 2018 and beyond. The organization also announced revamped partnerships with two stateside groups, Boulder’s Outdoor Industry Association and the national Grassroots Outdoor Alliance, which helps OR’s calendar double from four annual tradeshows in 2017 — winter, summer and in-field demo days for both seasons — to eight shows in 2018.
“Outdoor Retailer is a respected home for the outdoor industry,” said Marisa Nicholson, vice president and show director for OR, in a Nov. 9 press release from the organization. “Thirty-five years ago, a small group of brands and retailers not only created an industry, but also an economic powerhouse…. Now, as before, it’s our responsibility to produce a platform giving specialty retailers and exhibitors the best opportunity to achieve their business objectives. This agreement gives credence to that goal and showcases that we are all in this together.”
Soon after the announcement, SnowSports Industries America (SIA), the Salt Lake City-based organization behind Denver’s SIA Snow Show from Jan. 26-29, released a statement decrying OR’s expansion, saying it will “result in unnecessary stress and economic duress on the suppliers and retailers, not only for SIA members, but across all winter outdoor stakeholders.
“We are all part of one large industry eco-system and the lines are increasingly blurring between winter snow sports and the general outdoor market,” continued the Nov. 10 statement from Nick Sargent, president of SIA. “Therefore, it’s crucial that we work together to find a way to minimize the number of national shows, while better supporting the regional shows.”
For OR, a new and growing tradeshow calendar is the best response to the evolving order-buy cycle of a growing U.S. recreation market. Beginning in 2018, the OR Winter Market moves to Nov. 12-15 — nearly two months earlier than the SIA Snow Show’s traditional timing in late January.
For SIA, however, OR’s expansion will harm small and regional retailers, especially those solely tied to the ski and snowboard industry. Sargent points out that the U.S. will now host four national winter tradeshows in 2018, and this saturation could burden buyers. The SIA president also notes that three of those four shows are overseen by OR and its production company, Emerald Expositions, and hosted outside of Colorado.
“The Snow Show has continually provided the lowest price per square foot to exhibit,” Sargent said. “Being located in Denver, Colorado — the heart of the outdoor industry and a leader in outdoor activism — the SIA Snow Show also recognizes the importance of the value of advocacy and stewardship when it comes to climate change, environmental concerns and accessibility to the outdoors.”
The tradeshow mix-up comes at a time when the U.S. recreation industry is booming. In 2015, a study from Outdoor Industry Association, a national nonprofit, found that Americans spent $646 billion on outdoor recreation in 2013-14, including $120.7 billion on gear alone.
“With the evolution of the order-buy cycles, research findings and feedback, we verified there are varying needs for exhibitors, retailers and reps,” Nicholson continued in the OR release. “By moving to June and November and providing additional events, Outdoor Retailer provides options that best cater to their business goals. Outdoor Retailer is looking forward to presenting full strategies and operational details associated with these events in the coming months.”