Sports, Leisure, Outdoor: What’s hot in 2023

By Sibylle Dorndorf

The Sports, Leisure, Outdoor segment is enjoying an upswing and bringing momentum to the shelves and to the activity areas of the toy trade, as Spielwarenmesse 2023 has demonstrated. There are plenty of cool and cheerful products for health-conscious customers who love exercising. The segment benefits from the new, active lifestyle of young families. For participating retailers, this means getting outdoors, because a successful outdoor presentation that whets potential customers’ appetite is of the utmost importance. By the way, if you’re rummaging around in your warehouse for some age-old skipping rope, you’re not on the wrong track. In fact, you’re actually bang on trend, because retro is in right now! With French skipping and rope skipping, with hula hoops and craft sets to make kites that have what it takes to be a high flyer… Not to mention balls – they roll whenever you feel like playing.

The garden has become a playground

Play Base / BERG

In the last three years, people have focused on their homes and gardens. In suburban settlements, Wendy houses, climbing frames and sophisticated toy horses for the garden are drawing people outdoors. Such items should preferably made of wood, because sustainability is the trump card and one of the criteria when making a purchase, as Klaus Müller, owner of the Spielwaren Schweiger toy store in Nuremberg, knows full well. Trampolines, slacklines and spikeballs are by no means out, because the Sports, Leisure, Outdoor segment isn’t driven by trends that much – at least not in the toy trade. Buyers tend to go more for brands and less for no names and fast-moving items. "Sand pit toys from Spielstabil are always popular," confirms Daniel Krömer, who is responsible for purchasing at Krömer Spielwaren’s 20 stores. The big sellers are still the ever-popular 'Bobby-Cars' in all their variants. They have occupied pole position for more than 50 years – freshly painted, newly tuned up and pimped year after year.

For older children, there are more racy must-haves. Micro Mobility’s freestyle scooters which are sold under the Chilli brand are not only real eye-catchers, they’re also tough. "Our scooters are actually indestructible," says Wim Ouboter, founder of Micro Mobility, based in Küsnacht, Switzerland. He adds, "Sustainability is also an important issue for us. We use recycled fishing nets as the base material for some of our products, and we pay one per cent back to the planet on those sales. And we’ve been repairing our pedal scooters centrally in Germany and Switzerland since 1999, and we have spare parts for scooters we sold 20 years ago." (Micro Mobility Systems AG)

Urban living: on the road again

At last there is some life back on the streets again, because scooters and the like have long since ceased to be purely sports equipment. They are everyday companions, status symbols of urban life; they enable us to travel in an environmentally friendly way and are coveted fun vehicles for kids. Products that can grow along with the child are always a good investment. Go-karts by Berg promise a new adventure every day.


[Translate to Englisch:] Henk Vision / BERG

The Dutch company is located on the edge of the De Hoge Veluwe National Park. That’s where young Henk van den Berg saw cars and tractors driving around the farm every day. He was fed up with walking and wanted his own four wheels, too. He worked on his dream in a shed for months. The product range of the resourceful Dutchman is now broad: "More and more people want to lead an active lifestyle and have fun outdoors. We want to inspire them to go outside to jump, ride and fly through the air," says the founder and 'driving force' behind the company Berg. (BERG)

A multi-faceted segment with an appeal that transcends the seasons

If you set yourself up as a retailer in a broad and family-oriented way when it comes to outdoor articles, then you can boost your sales all year round, as Jean-Marc von Keller, Managing Director of MTS Sportartikel Vertriebs-GmbH, also confirms. "The outdoor, sports and exercise segment has already been a very strong segment in the last few years of the pandemic. We were able to record very nice sales growth with our broad Schildkröt range and have gained many new retailers, especially in the toy segment." This trend could continue, since inflation, declining purchasing power and uncertainty have permanently changed people’s travel behaviour. People are now more likely to stay at home. Keller confirms this forecast: "Families are investing the money they save in making their home nice. So we’re definitely optimistic." The new mindfulness, the trend to live in a more body-conscious way and the healthy eating trend are all doing their bit to drive the segment forward, as Jean-Marc von Keller is also aware: "With our Funsport, Funwheel and table tennis products, we offer great variety on the market. With that, coupled with our more than 125-year-old German brand of Schildkröt, we’re up for any fun." (MTS Sportartikel Vertriebs-GmbH)

Are you dying to see more toys that make you want to get up and move?

You’ll find more products from the participating manufacturers in the Sports, Leisure and Outdoor product group at Spielwarenmesse Digital.

More details on Spielwarenmesse Digital here: