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A decade of industry change due to future megatrends


By Adriana van Tilburg (from a presentation by Dr. Katharina Wiegand)

During the WBFSH General Assembly in Dresden there were several presentations. There was also a very interesting presentation given by Dr. Katharina Wiegand of the Hanoverian Verband, and on behalf of Christina Münch of the HorseFuturePanel.

Dr. Wiegand wrote her doctoral thesis on marketing in Göttingen, specifically targeting equestrian sports. “During my doctoral thesis I worked part-time for the HorseFuturePanel for Christina Münch, who conducts market research, including surveys among riders, etc. She is still doing this and we continue to be friends and exchange our ideas. She does a lot of presentations and was supposed to be in Dresden, but was unable to attend so asked if I could come in her place. I know this presentation well, because I’ve done it before on behalf of the HorseFuturePanel, although I actually work for the Hanoverian Verband.

The presentation

With regard to the changes we are all facing in the equestrian world, breeding questions that need to be asked are:
• What is the future?
• What kind of breeders will we face?
• What kind of riders will we face?
• What kind of society will we face?
• What will be accepted in terms of housing and (sportive) use of the horse?

This is being reflected by the following megatrends:
• Gender shift
• Health
• Globalization
• Connectivity
• Individualization
• New work
• Mobility
• Safety
• Neo-ecology
• Knowledge culture
• Silver society
• Urbanization

The ‘silver society’ is a very important megatrend as the age structure is shifting and the 65+ age-group is growing – explosively so in China where large-group needs will require future care.
Another very important trend is ‘urbanization’. Currently, 75% of the EU population is living in or around cities, which has effected a disconnect between a modern lifestyle and nature. As Ingmar de Vos, president of the FEI later stated: “If you ask children in New York what a chicken is they will point one out in a freezer in the supermarket. They don’t actually know how a living chicken looks.”
Today, 25% of all German children are outdoors after school – which means that 75% remain inside. A smartphone and internet use are important components of the children’s world. They meet their friends several times a week online (50% of 10- to 11-year-olds). When I was about that age I was at a farm outside the town where I grew up. We brushed horses, playfully started mucking out, played where the straw was stored, saw how the cows were milked, etc. Children nowadays have less contact with (large) animals. Over the past 20 years, organized equestrian sport in Germany has lost 46% of memberships among children and young people up to the age of 18... To read the complete article you need to be a subscriber