FIBO – the acronym stands for the current fitness boom of the entire industry and its trade show, with the world’s largest trade show for fitness, wellness and health continuing its success trajectory and setting new records: more exhibitors, more internationality and, once again, more than 143,000 visitors.

A total of 1,133 exhibitors (prior year: 1,019 exhibitors, a plus of 11.1 per cent) presented current fitness and health industry trends and innovations on a floor space of 160,000 m². With 143,000 visitors, including 83.500 trade visitors, FIBO was sold out completely on Saturday and continued to perform at the record level set in the previous two years.

Accelerated growth

“Last year we thought that more fitness and more FIBO was hardly possible. But now we can see that, yes, it is. The increase in the number of exhibitors actually further accelerated, from a plus of 6 per cent to 11 per cent now. In particular, the international reach and relevance increased yet again”, says Hans-Joachim Erbel, CEO of organiser RX Global Deutschland. Altogether, 645 of the 1,133 exhibitors came from outside Germany this time – more than ever before in the 33-year history of FIBO, which made its debut in 1985.

Far ahead in the ranking of nations were countries that are among the worldwide pacemakers of the fitness market – Germany (488 exhibitors), the US (68), the UK (68), Italy (43), the Netherlands (41), Spain (34), Poland (47) and China (92).

International trade visitors from 121 countries

The same picture is reflected on the trade visitor side, where the world’s largest industry show has also boosted its reach. Whether they came from South Africa, the US or Brazil, from Japan, Thailand or even Australia, or, of course, from Europe – visitors from five continents and a total of 121 nations turned FIBO into the United Nations of Fitness, Wellness & Health. All told, that’s nearly a third of the trade visitors that came to Cologne this year.

“The significance of FIBO as the world’s most important industry event is going up year after year and is reverberating in ever-greater international circles. The line-up of nations present in Cologne is impressive”, says FIBO director Silke Frank.

Underscoring this point was the 5th European Health & Fitness Forum (EHFF), which has developed into the Davos of the industry, an economic forum that brings together the global decision-makers of the fitness industry, including the CEOs of the world’s market-leading manufacturers of fitness equipment and major international studio operators. Despite increased capacity, the Executive Event hosted by the European EuropeActive association was completely sold out with 400 conference participants.

Europe-wide industry sales of €26.6 billion

The attendees displayed an optimistic outlook on the future, even though they often see the price pressure faced by studio operators with a critical eye. The overall market situation continues to develop in a positive direction. With industry sales of €26.6 billion (+1.9 per cent over the prior year), Europe has now passed the US (€24.9 billion) as the world’s largest fitness market. Nearly 60 million exercisers in Europe are members of a fitness studio, 3.9 per cent more than last year. These are the findings of the “European Health & Fitness Market Report 2018”, which is traditionally presented by EuropeActive and Deloitte at the EHFF at the start of FIBO.

Germany largest European market

The number of gym members in Germany rose again. A total of 10.61 million people (prior year: 10.08 million) hold a membership in one of the nearly 9,000 fitness studios. In other words, one in eight Germans belong to a gym. By 2025, according to Deloitte forecasts, the number of members training in gyms is expected to increase to 14 million – 17 per cent of the total population.

FIBO goes global: FIBO USA to premiere in December

In December, FIBO will “Go West” with the premiere of FIBO USA in Orlando. The move indicates that RX Global are expanding their global activities. “With FIBO USA, we’ll be right at the heart of one of the world’s most important regions for the fitness industry, providing international companies with an essential anchoring point in the US market”, says Hans-Joachim Erbel. FIBO USA will take place at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, Florida, from 6 to 8 December, further bolstering FIBO’s position as a strategic partner for the industry worldwide. FIBO China has been staged with growing success since 2014. The first FIBO FITNESS BUSINESS SUMMIT SOUTH AFRICA in Johannesburg was added last year. Other concrete locations are currently being considered, according to Hans-Joachim Erbel.

The next FIBO will take place at the Exhibition Centre Cologne from 4 to 7 April 2019.

Note: FIBO’s 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.

Download: Final Report, Exhibitor and Visitor Testimonials


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