Here, Greg Thomsen, an outdoor industry veteran and the chief outdoor officer at Adidas Outdoor, Agron, shares some of the latest trends he sees emerging in the sector:
• Utilitarianism: It’s escapism that manifests itself in the outdoor industry. Consumers can wear one thing that serves 10 different purposes. It’s the trend of simplicity and less clutter.
• Outside is safer: The sovereignty of individual choice is key. Consumers want to have control over what they do. People don’t want to be inside.
• Backcountry trends: It’s really interesting how many people were heading into the backcountry this year. With parks, campgrounds, and public spaces filled up, a lot of people put in the effort to backpack, bikepack, or just do longer, out-of-the-way adventures. I think we’ve seen that reflected in gear sales.
• Riding bikes: Of course, it was great to see the bike industry surge this year, perhaps more than any other space in our outdoor world. It’s not so unique, but it’s a good story. What would be unique is if it continues into next year.
• Working together: While it feels like there have been more announcements lately in the industry, it seems to really be focused on partnerships, advocacy efforts, collaborations, virtual engagement, and less about a new product. So that’s not really a unique trend, but it also seems to be where brands have shifted their efforts in these times. Maybe it’s budget-related, or an outcome of our changing social climate, or because this reset has allowed companies to refocus their mission/priorities. Who knows!
Monique Lhuillier RTW Spring 2021
• Advocacy efforts: Brands have used this time to step up advocacy programs and partnerships, even when budgets are tight; and sustainability efforts, both brands and stores, have been announcing reductions in plastic packaging, B-Corp and carbon neutral certifications, etc.
• Inclusivity: Partnerships, programs and campaigns have launched to build a more inclusive industry, support diversity in the outdoors, highlight BIPOC advocacy efforts and creators, and increase representation.
• Accessibility: Products are being offered at price points that support the growth of outdoor participation, especially this year, to keep new and budget-conscious consumers engaged. And there’s gear for local adventures vs. expeditions.
• Undyed: Adidas, Salomon, Merrell, etc., have launched footwear in recent years free of dyes that reduce water, chemical, and energy use.
• Heritage/Classic: [Classic] styles with enhanced features, tech and sustainability [through the use of] new materials.
For more Business news from WWD, see:
Outdoor Brands Talk Coronavirus Impacts
Brick-and-Mortar, Digital Retailers Adjust Strategies in Wake of Coronavirus
Field Notes: How Fabric Is Helping Save the Planet
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