More international flair – rising attendance: 145,000 visitors from 133 nations come to Cologne

“It’s the business, stupid” – business that brings the worldwide fitness industry to FIBO in Cologne. This is how a club operator from Miami summed it up and he could not have described the situation more aptly: registering trade visitors from 133 nations (previous year: 121) FIBO impressively underscored its status as the biggest and most important meeting point for the industry worldwide where trends are presented and where in excess of EUR two billion are invested. “Here’s the beef,” says the man from Florida with a grin.

Purchasing power exceeds EUR 2 billion

Purchases quickly add up when – like this year – 145,000 visitors come to Cologne, i.e. 2,000 visitors more than in the previous year. These included more than 84,000 trade visitors travelling from all parts of the world to browse innovations, sound out the market and do “big business” equipping their clubs, facilities and practices. About one in three trade visitors came with concrete intentions to buy and concluded the corresponding purchasing contracts at FIBO. The average purchasing volume amounted to EUR 77,000 – and EUR 125 on average for private visitors.

Most important marketplace for the industry worldwide

“This makes FIBO the world’s most important marketplace for the industry,” says FIBO boss Silke Frank working for organiser Reed Exhibitions, adding that: “The efforts aimed at further boosting the business-like feel at FIBO by making it more international, have fully paid off. The list of nations represented in Cologne is impressive. FIBO ranks higher year on year.” The line-up of nations spans the whole globe: ranging from Australia to China, from Thailand and India to Brazil and the USA, all of Europe from Sweden to Sicily and from there via Kenya to South Africa.

Fully booked: 1,105 exhibitors occupy all available exhibition areas

The trade show’s truly international flair – paired with top decision-making expertise – was also felt by the 1,105 exhibitors who had travelled from 49 countries to the Rhine occupying every bit of the 160,000 m² of available exhibition space. Over half the companies attending – 57% to be precise – came from abroad, thereby further underlining FIBO’s role as the No. 1 international trade show. Those countries considered the pacemakers in the fitness market can be found at the very top of the exhibitor rankings: Germany (478 exhibitors), China (103), the USA (52), the Netherlands (44), Poland (43) as well as Great Britain (37), Italy (36) and Spain (27).

“In the wake of our global strategy with FIBO events held in China, the USA, South Africa and Mexico we are also mobilising international customers recruiting them for FIBO in Cologne,” says Hans-Joachim Erbel, CEO of organiser Reed Exhibitions Deutschland, summing up the results of FIBO the last day of which – 7 April – incidentally coincided with World Health Day. “At the same time,” Erbel stresses, “the overall conditions are right: the investment climate is good, the market continues to develop dynamically and people’s willingness to spend money on their own health and fitness is rising.”

CEOs from throughout the world at the “Davos” of the fitness industry

This assessment is shared by the top representatives of the sector. They now traditionally travel to Cologne the day before FIBO opens and meet at the European Health & Fitness Forum (EHFF). This year’s sixth edition has finally made it the “Davos” (i.e. home of the World Economic Forum) of this industry. The event for executives organised by the European association EuropeActive was completely sold out hosting 500 participants. CEOs from all world leading producers of fitness equipment and multi-national gym operators came to Cologne.

Europe-wide sales in the industry stand at EUR 27.2 billion

The forum participants looked to the future with optimism although many of them critically viewed the pressure on prices that club operators are exposed to. However, the overall situation on the market sees continued positive growth. With EUR 27.2 billion sales generated in this industry Europe has become the world’s biggest fitness market, now ranking ahead of the USA. 62.2 million Europeans are members of a club. This is 3.5% more than last year – as is shown by the “European Health & Fitness Market Report 2019” produced by EuropeActive and Deloitte and traditionally published as part of the EHFF to kick off FIBO.

Germany is biggest European market

Germany has also seen another rise in the number of gym members. A total of 11.09 million people (10.61 million in the previous year) are members of one of the country’s 9,343 fitness clubs. This means almost one in seven Germans belong to a club – say the basic parameters of the German Fitness Industry 2019, which are surveyed by the DSSV and will be disclosed under the auspices of FIBO from 2020.

The next FIBO will be held at Cologne Exhibition Centre from 2 to 5 April 2020.

Note: FIBO visitor, exhibitor and floor space figures are calculated and certified according to the uniform definitions published by FKM – German Society for Voluntary Control of Fair and Exhibition Statistics.