The President of Shimano Europe expects that prospects for the industry in 2021 will be as ‘unpredictable as COVID itself’.
Speaking to Angling International on the eve of his company’s 100th anniversary, Marc van Rooij said the recent Brexit agreement also had to be considered when looking at the year ahead. Yet despite the upheaval and uncertainty caused by the pandemic and Brexit, the Shimano Europe head feels there is room for optimism following the increase in fishing participation in the latter half of 2020.
“Last year was a challenging, but in many ways, exceptional year for the angling industry,” he said.“ The boom in leisure activities saw a significant number of people either take up or return to fishing as a pastime. This bodes well for the future of our industry as there is a good likelihood that many of those people will continue to fish over the years to come. In the near-term, 2021 is a prospect as unpredictable as COVID itself.
“Beyond short-term disruption, it is unclear what the impact on the UK and EU economies will be and how that will affect the industry. Despite the uncertainty, unless there is a significant deterioration in the current situation, angling should continue to benefit from the momentum built in 2020.”
Shimano celebrates its centenary year in just 66 days time, although the birthday will mark 51 years since it added fishing reels to its cycling business. It can look back on a series of classic product launches that introduced new standards of engineering and changed the way people fished.
In that time, it has also endured the energy crisis of the Seventies, which led to stagnant economic growth, the Great Recession of 2008, resulting in power shifts in numerous countries and, more recently, the financial instability stemming from conflict in the European Union. Now it faces another challenge in the lingering pandemic that promises more restrictions and disruption in 2021.