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ISPO Trade Show: 2018 Report

The annual ISPO Trade Show took place 28 – 31 January this year. It saw 84,000 people involved in the outdoor industry descend on south Munich. For those who haven’t been before the sheer size and scale has to be seen to be believed. The event takes place at Messe Munich, in 16 huge aircraft hangers. This year saw 2,800 brands profile their latest and greatest innovations across the health and fitness, outdoor and snow sports industries. Attendance was down slightly year on year, as 2017 had 86,000 attendees, however exhibitors were up 2%. For 2019 ISPO is planning to expand even further, with two more halls planned, so 18 total.

For 2018 ISPO focused on two key elements – sustainability and digitalisation. Wandering through the halls you got a genuine sense of how important sustainability was becoming to the outdoor industry, something which Nikwax has pioneered since our early years. This year’s ISPO saw the CSR Hub bigger and more present than ever. The CSR Hub at ISPO focused on promoting sustainable brands through two areas – Brands for Good and Greenroom Voice. We were lucky enough to be one of the brands included, with Brands for Good highlighting Nikwax carbon balancing business operations over 40 years. Brands for Good also hosted an ‘Audience with…’ talk in their Speakers Corner, that featured brands who do good, talking about it. We were in good company as Nick Brown, Nikwax CEO, talked about social responsibility, alongside Gareth Mottram Páramo Clothing’s Commercial Director, Micke Magnusson, CEO of WeAreSpinDye, and Oliver Spies, founder of Stop! Micro Waste.


The digitalisation of the outdoor industry was profiled by ISPO Digitize. The Digitize area showed great examples of digital in the industry across sales, marketing and production, profiling amongst others Adidas Terrex, who were back at ISPO for the first time in 12 years.

We focused on digital activation throughout the show – gaining over 100,000 Facebook live video views in the process. As Nikwax is more than just waterproofing at the end of 2017 we went on an expedition in the Alps to illustrate this. It was day one of the ski season in Oberstdorf, Germany and they had the biggest snowfall in 6 years. Our plan was to float two adventurers in Nikwax Hydrophobic Down treated sleeping bags, to show the superior water repellency of our technology. When we got there the temperature had dropped to -20 degrees and the lake we wanted to use was completely frozen over with 1 ft deep ice. Three of us picked up our ice axes and spent 3 hours breaking through the ice, to create a mini lake for our experiment. We then floated our two adventurers, at the same time, on the lake for 30 minutes. When they stepped out of the sleeping bags, they were totally dry thanks to Nikwax Hydrophobic Down being 50x more water repellent than conventional down.

Throughout the show we profiled Nikwax Hydrophobic Down in the Watersports Hall. We took outdoor industry journalists, put them in sleeping bags that use our Nikwax Hydrophobic Down technology, and floated them in the pool. As Nikwax Hydrophobic Down has supreme water repellency, the inside of the sleeping bag, and the journalist inside, both stay dry. After floating for ten minutes each the journalists stepped out of the bag and felt how dry it was on the inside, proving the superior water repellency of NHD. Industry media live streamed this to their Facebook and Instagram fans, gaining 113,000 video views as a result.


We also created a digital content portal for the outdoor industry that featured downloadable assets from our NHD Experience adventure, our latest videos, our press releases, and digital Aftercare Guides in 18 languages.

Our activity drove many people to our stand who wanted to hear more about our technology, including those who may not have previously been aware of it. We had an absolutely fantastic ISPO 2018 and are already looking forward to 2019. We hope to see you there!