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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.






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