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1.1 Definition and scope of the study

The climbing market can be divided into two segments:

  • Indoor climbing
  • Outdoor climbing

In this study we cover indoor climbing only. Often the two are intertwined in terms of interest from consumers, however there are structural differences. Indoor climbing requires heavy capital expenditure in infrastructure, investment into equipment and walls, and continuous maintenance. This form is accessible all year round. In contrast, outdoor climbing is more raw; in other words, intervention of man is much lower and nature dictates conditions and routes. Nevertheless, this form of climbing requires knowledge, more people, and a stricter adherence to saftey rules. On top of this, more equipment and gadgets are often needed. 

The global market for indoor climbing, dominated by the United States, has been growing explosively in the last couple of years. In 2018, 4.4% of all Americans practiced indoor climbing. Moreover, the global market is expected to grow at a CAGR of 7% between 2019-2023, driven by a rise in popularity and interest for the sport. This is fuelled by events such as the Olympic Games 2021, where climbing is now a discipline for the first time since 1992. 

In France, there were 1 million climbers in 2016. This figure is in continuous growth amid a rise in interest for the sport. One catalysator for growth in particular were the World Championships held in Paris in 2016, where many contestants were also French.

The market is fragmented with many players being present in the Hexagon. However, due to the fact that the business model of climbing gyms require large upfront investments and capital expenditures, the franchising model has increased in popularity. Well known players include Climb'Up, Block'Out, MurMur, etc.

Finally, COVID-19 will have a detrimental impact on the climbing market in 2020, with lockdowns put in force in France during March to May 2020, and new restrictions on movement implemented in October 2020. This results in foregone cash flows for industry players, and going forward we can expect larger market concentration amid more bankruptcies by cash-poor companies.

1.2 A global market in full bloom

Businesswire reports that the global climbing gym market will grow at a CAGR of *% (***) as a proxy to determine growth.

In ****, *.*% of the US population was practicing indoor climbing. [***] This implies that some *.** million people in the US are active indoor climbing. From this pool, **% were between the age **-**. 

Below ...

1.3 Strong growth in the domestic market

In **** there were * million climbers in France. [***] Moreover, mokaddict predicts that this number would rise to * million climbers in France in ****, and a **% increase in the number of climbing halls per year. From this, around **% of climbers which are registered with FFME (***).

Market size ****

In ****, **% of a climbers' expenditure went to ...

1.4 COVID-19's impact on the climbing gym market

FFME provides continous updates to measurements put in force by the French governement related to COVID and restrictions on movement, which has a direct impact on climbing gyms.  In latest news, climbing gyms have again had to close facilities amid the virus and the government's attempt to slow down the spread. ...


2.1 Profile analysis: the French consumer

Climbing is still a relatively novel sport to the French public; La Fabrique Vertical reports that **% of women and **% of men have practiced it between *-* years. Only **% of women and **% of men have climbed for more than ** years. 

According to a study by La Grimpe, the most frequent level of ...

2.2 Complementary products: equipment

Equipment is an essential part to climbing: the sport requires special shoes and chalk. Often times, climbers also use special textiles to facilitate and enhance the experience. 

According to lafabriquevertical the top five criterions for buying climbing equipment are (***): 

Technicality Price Offer (***) Aesthetics Communication and brand loyalty


Moreover, in **** the ...

2.3 Events fuelling the growth of the industry

The sport of indoor climbing's emergence is rapid and relatively novel. Indeed, bouldering's real upswing has come in recent years to several key trigger points; these include global sporting events. For example, in ****, USA climbing closed a deal with ESPN to broadcast the National Championships in climbing. [***] Moreover, commercialization of the ...


3.1 Starting a business

According to Le Point, there are around *** climbing gyms in France today, compared to around ** in ****. In other words, the market has become increasingly compeitive.

The Business Plan Shop reports on how to set up a climbing gym in France, broken down into the following steps:

Understanding the market: how many ...


4.1 Product Overview

To analyse products which are related to climbing gyms, we can break the analysis down into product sub-segments, presented below.

Climbing equipment

In general, textiles, shoes, and chalk make up the core equipment for indoor climbing. Moreover, if rope-climbing is practiced, further equipment such as helmets, carabiners, chalk bags, a harness ...

4.2 Price Analysis

In ****, the average male climber spent €*** in total on climbing in that given year. The equivalent number was €*** for women. As we saw in section *.*, shoes and equipment accounted for **% of expenditures, textiles were **%, and **% of expenditure was related to membership fees. [***]

Below is an overview of what the most crucial ...

4.3 Geographical distribution of indoor climbing gyms

Geographical distribution of climbing gyms France, ****, in number of climbing gyms Source: ****

According to Planet Grimpe's overview of climbing gyms in France, the majority of gyms are located in Rhône-Alpes (***). This can be explained by the fact that there is relatively more space than for exmple urban clusters such as ...


5.1 Current Regulation

FFME presents an overview of which laws apply to indoor climbing gyms. The regulatory framework comprises of three pillars of standards which are based on an international level (***).

The French standards include:

NF S***** on equipment, and in particular points of attachment of sports equipment to their supports. Functional and safety ...


6.1 Segmentation

  • Block'Out
  • Climb'Up
  • Arkose

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