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Outdoor Retailer Winter Market 2018: What to Expect

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The Outdoor Retailer Winter Market trade show is coming to Denver for its first-ever November event. This is what you can expect at the hub of winter gear in 2018.

Traditionally held in January, the Winter Market moved to Nov. 8-11 at the Colorado Convention Center this year. The Outdoor Retailer Snow Show will take place Jan. 30 to Feb 1, 2019, in Denver.

We spoke with Outdoor Retailer director Marisa Nicholson to learn more about the new timing of the show and what that will mean for attendees.

Still Three Shows, Now New Dates

Nicholson said that Outdoor Retailer’s move to November and June came after research showed the need to adjust timing to better serve retailer buyers and product makers. With the acquisition of the Snow Show, a third show focused largely on the ski and snowboard industry now supports the cycle.

Source: Outdoor Retailer

“For winter, there are two very distinct times for products being introduced depending on market segment,” she said.

Smaller Show Size

“For our winter show, compared with when it was in January, we’re seeing fewer brands and buyers, as expected,” Nicholson said. She explained this is in part due to a core group of categories that don’t work in that production timeline. So instead of attending the November show, many of those will present at the Snow Show in January.

Nicholson said that brands continue to adjust timelines and that she expects to see the November show grow in the coming years.

Demo Experience

Historically, the Outdoor Retailer Winter Market hosted “demo days” at ski resorts near Salt Lake City. With the move to Denver and new show cycle, the Demo Experience now sits at the end of the Snow Show. The November show does not have a related demo.

For those looking to try out the latest and greatest ski and snowboard equipment, the Snowsports Industries America (SIA) and Western Winter Sports Representatives Association (WWSRA) will host the On-Snow Demo in February two days after the end of the Snow Show. The On-Snow Demo takes place Feb. 4-5, 2019, at Copper Mountain, Colo.

New Products Will Be Revealed

Nicholson said attendees can expect to see the most exciting and innovative products for winter 2019-2020 at this show. This is the first time many brands will show new products. It’s the time that brands can wow retailers and tell their brand story the way they want to.

“This is where brands are unveiling products for the first time,” she said. “They can share their brand story and show innovations they’re bringing to market. They also are hearing directly from the retailer with time to make adjustments to their orders.”

With the timing of this show, retailers will have the chance to see next year’s products before the main buying season for this winter is over. Nicholson said this gives them the opportunity to adjust their orders based on what they’re seeing in stores — to be informed for the next year before placing orders.

The new schedule also allows brands to adjust their production schedules based on feedback from retailers on what consumers want.

OR November: Shifting Baselines

The inaugural November event is the foundation of what will grow over the coming years as brands adjust their baselines. The new schedule allows them to adjust their production calendars to influence buying decisions.

Expect Brands Similar to Winter Market Past

Don’t expect a room full of skis and snowboards. These types of hardgoods will take center stage at the Snow Show in January.

Nicholson said previously there was less than 20 percent crossover between Winter Market and the SIA Snow Show when both events were held in January.

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“The move to November really is to serve the market needs,” she said “You’ll see brands that have traditionally done one or the other maintaining that. But I think we’ll see a bigger crossover among attendees between the November and January shows than we did when it was Outdoor Retailer and SIA. Now, both brands and retailers have been exposed to new markets and new opportunities.”

Co-Location With Partners

Part of the goal was also to co-locate with partners Grassroots Outdoor Alliance for
Winter Market and Sports Specialists Ltd. (SSL) and Snowsports Merchandising Corporation (SMNC) for Snow Show. This is in an effort to streamline the trade show calendar.

“By co-locating, we’re creating more efficient and cost-effective opportunities for brands and retailers who participate in these buying groups and attend Outdoor Retailer,” Nicholson said.

Winter Market in November is co-located with the Grassroots Connect show, held in the days leading up to OR. This show offers a group of 65 outdoor specialty retailers the opportunity to collaborate for the upcoming year. Grassroots Connect takes place November 1-4 also at the Colorado Convention Center.

Award Will Showcase Innovation

“Our big introduction for the November show is the Innovation Awards,” Nicholson said. “We’re highlighting innovation across the outdoor industry.”

The Outdoor Retailer Innovation Awards will “recognize the cutting edge and carefully considered products and retail services made famous at the trade show. A panel of expert judges will determine the winners from all seasons. We will hold a live awards show on November 8.”

Outdoor Retailer will host the awards annually and will announce a list of 2018 finalists next week.

Permanent Schedule

Outdoor Retailer has a set schedule for years in advance. As such, the November show will be on the docket for the foreseeable future.

“We have been listening to the industry’s needs and have made decisions to support what makes the most sense for them,” Nicholson said.

Feedback on timing or length of shows “will be important as we look to
future dates and continue to provide the most successful platform for the marketplace.”

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