Growing number of adventure seekers in the recent times has been translating into the rising demand for ice axe. It is designed to be used in hiking and mountaineering, providing balance and safety while climbing up and descending steep slopes. The ice axe can be used for various purposes such as handhold, foothold, as a brake during a fall on a slow slope, to dig and probe, and others. Increasing popularity of alpine tourism along with other adventure tourism is influencing the demand for various mountaineering tools which is likely to promote the development of ice axe market. Further, ever-rising adoption of multipurpose ice axe among various alpine associations and similar mountaineering organizations is expected to complement major revenue to the ice axe market.
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With growing popularity of ice climbing and mountaineering, especially among younger population, the ice axe market is likely to expand robustly in the coming years. High spending capabilities of population in emerging economies due to increasing disposable income have influenced the adoption of various adventure activities including ice climbing, thereby fuelling the growth of ice axe market. Manufactures are focused on designing tools that not only meet standard guidelines but also have essential assistance features which may create new growth opportunities of ice axe market.
Global Ice Axe Market: Snapshot
Used for hiking or climbing mountains, ice axe are a useful tool for adventure seekers. Currently, the global ice axe market is flooded with products. Those can be broadly classified into basic and technical. The basic tools mainly find usage in general mountaineering and winter hiking. The technical tools, on the other hand, have a curved design which is more suited for steeper and more vertical climbing.
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The global ice axe market is teeming with manufacturers, suppliers, and distributors. This is owing to the low entry barriers resulting from the lesser upfront capital required. Hence, the market is flooded with products to suit different budgets and requirements. In this cutthroat environment, manufacturers are also seen focusing on innovations to churn out better products.
However, there are numerous regulations which manufacturers in the global ice axe market will have to keep in mind while producing. They are required to keep in mind the manufacturing and design standards by the Union Internationale des Associations d’Alpinisme (UIAA). Apart from that, they are also needed to follow guidelines developed by the European Committee for Standardization (CEN). In addition, ice axe manufacturers must also procure a CE Safety Certification for selling those in Europe and elsewhere.
Demand for Ice Axe Driven by Increasing Participation in Ice Climbing and Trends of Alpine Tourism
In 2016, more than 144 million Americans participated in outdoor activities. The participation in outdoor activities grew significantly, up to 48.8% of the American population in 2016. In the U.S., ice climbing and mountaineering were noted among the favorite outdoor activities, which may reflect in the rising demand for ice axes in the U.S. market. Furthermore, the American Mountain Guides Association (AMGA) stated that with the increasing popularity of ice climbing and skiing, mountaineering guides generated roughly US$ 3.2 billion in the recent years. Attributing to the increasing participation in ice climbing and mountaineering, many ice skiing enthusiasts are taking up ice ski guiding as a career. It is expected to act as a primary driving force for the ice axe market in the near future.
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Apart from ice climbing and mountaineering, adventure tourism and alpine tourism sectors are gaining traction all around the world. As stated by the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), the adventure tourism industry reached over US$ 89 billion in 2013. It witnessed unprecedented growth in the next two years to reach up to US$ 263 billion. The World Wide Fund For Nature (WWF) states that over 120 million tourists indulge in alpine tourism by visiting the Alps each year. Increasing popularity of ice climbing and skiing has led to the development of around 300 ski facilities of over 3,400 km² of ski areas in the Alps. The remarkable growth of the adventure tourism industry and the alpine tourism industry is mainly attributed to the rising popularity of ice climbing and skiing, which is boosting the growth of the ice axe market.
Complying with UIAA and EN Standards to Create Sales Opportunities for Market Players
As an ice axe is an important ice climbing equipment, international authoritarian organizations have developed some guidelines that ice axe manufacturers must follow. All the market players in the ice axe market must make sure to get ice axes certified with the necessary safety standards in order to get inter ice axe markets in key regions. It can give consumers a better knowledge of the quality of the product, and it can help ice axe manufacturers to improve their sales.
Manufacturers must follow manufacturing and design standards developed by the Union Internationale des Associations d’Alpinisme (UIAA). Apart from UIAA standards, manufacturers in the ice axe market must comply with the guidelines developed by the European Committee for Standardization (CEN). Furthermore, ice axe manufacturers must get a CE Safety Certification in order to get an approval for distributing ice axes in European and most leading markets for ice axes. Typically, getting certified with two safety standards viz., standard EN-13089 and UIAA-152 is mandatory for manufacturers in the ice axe market.
Growing awareness of various standards, regulations, and laws associated with manufacturing processes of ice axe is boosting demand for certified ice axes in the market. Complying with the international standards can help market players in the ice axe market to improve the integrity of their products and enhance their global sales.
Manufacturers Produce Various Types of Ice Axes to Meet the Exact Consumer Needs
Ice climbing and skiing are becoming highly popular outdoor activities among consumers, which is why the demand for high-quality ice climbing equipment such as ice axes is increasing rapidly. As mountaineering is a recreational activity, not all consumers need highly technical and advanced ice axes. Considering the dynamic needs of consumers, leading manufacturers in the ice axe market are producing various types of ice axes to address exact requirements of consumers.
Grivel and Blue Diamond Equipment are the leading manufacturers in the ice axe market that produce excellent walking ice axes that prove to a perfect option for recreational mountaineering in winters. Designs of alpine ice axes and technical ice axes differ from normal walking axes, as alpine and technical ice axes are specially designed for technical ice climbing. Ice Rock – a leading manufacturer in the ice axe market – has introduced a lightweight technical ice axe, which offers both functionality and durability. The company substitutes aluminum shafts of ice axes for carbon fiber, which reduces its weight to a greater extent while maintaining the quality and performance of the axe.
Apart from manufacturing various types of ice axes, market players in the ice axe market are manufacturing ice axe accessories, such as ice axe leashes and picks. In this way, market players are making efforts to improve their product portfolio and gain a competitive edge in the ice axe market.
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