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After attending nearly a handful of technology, apparel and outdoor industry trade shows in January, CGPR founding partner Chris Ann Goddard highlighted a number of relevant trends taking shape in 2019:

  • Passions Are Running High at All Trade Shows

  • Technology is Influencing the Quality of Experience and Convenience

  • Sustainability and Traceability Are Driving the Fashion Community

  • The Blending of Fashion and Outdoor Is Here to Stay

  • Athleisure, outleisure and urban lifestyle are driving apparel and gear trends

Fifteen flights, 27,600 air miles, 65 miles, and 45 non-fat lattes later, Goddard’s laser-focus on trends net even more depth-filled tidbits:

 

Consumer /Industry Trends

  • Retail growth is rebounding but is beginning to level off
  • Athleisure product in both footwear and apparel is leading growth
  • Ecommerce growth rebounding
  • Climate is right for mergers
  • Global fashion brands including footwear, apparel and textile firms launched the Fashion Industry Charter for Climate Action; this is an important work in progress.
  • US outdoor industry up slightly, flat on units
  • There is a significant opportunity for women’s hard goods
  • The media landscape that services the sporting and outdoor industries is changing dramatically
  • Consumers will spend on products that will truly make their lives better and products that deliver this value will win
  • People don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it
  • Retail is not dead, it is just spread (Thank you, Matt Powell at NPD)
  • Predictions (again, thanks NPD):
    • Footwear will be flat
    • Active wear will decline in slow single digits
    • Race to the bottom continues
    • Retail rationalization continues
    • Outdoor remains challenged
    • Fashion remains an opportunity
    • Blended retail is key
    • Not a great year for sports retail
  • People are buying less and wanting to experience more
  • Consumers are demanding sustainable brands and want brands to stand for something
  • We are at a tipping point with recycled materials
  • People aren’t looking at wool as their grandpa’s union suits any more
  • Climbing gyms continue to boom, five million in North America spend time climbing outdoors
  • Consumers are looking for technology to make their outdoor experience safer, more enjoyable and more convenient, albeit skis, snowboards, tele skis, helmets, heated apparel, heated footwear or headed gloves
  • Adventure travel is growing
  • Urban commuter and urban outdoor devotees are driving trends
  • More and more travel is revolving around being outside and bringing the gear you need with you
  • Environmentally sustainable products using recycled materials and 100% PFC products continue to be key trends
  • Backcountry growth driving product offerings
  • Tariffs are top of mind
  • There is a significant trend in eco-friendly technology that enhances the consumer experience

Brands’ Focus

  • Snowsport brands will be forced to respond to climate change realities; snow conditions are becoming more uncertain
  • Apparel brands are beginning to reckon with the waste and pollution associated with their businesses
  • Designers are seeing a strong global movement toward adopting state of the art technologies that tackle environmental issues facing the textile industry
  • As consumers care more and more about how the sheep that grew the fibers in their cozy new woolies are treated, standout brands are making it easier for shoppers to trace the wool back to source farms
  • Brands are looking at their products with this is mind: simpler times that align with the free spirit of getting out and experiencing life
  • CEOs know that consumers are looking for a brand with purpose (What’s your why?)

Product/Apparel/Accessories

  • What is old is new, resurgence of retro combined with modern appeal
  • Laidback comfort is the word for Fall 2019
  • The line between fashion and function will continue to blur
  • Big opportunity in women’s work category
  • Socks, whether they are built for downhill ski runs, tough trail hikes or just a scenic walk, are evolving adding more tech and style. Customers are demanding socks that are comfortable, form fitting durable and versatile
  • Big trend in hi loft fleece
  • In particular, Sherpa, corduroy and handcrafted sweaters are re-emerging
  • Cozy is back
  • Overlap of looks for skiers/snowboarders across color, silhouette and big picture movements but core brands are maintaining their brand identity
  • Snow bibs are being used more in snowboarding now for functionality
  • Technical luxe/city to ski luxury apparel is growing
  • Bags are all the rage; the lifestyle outdoor trend has taken hold in the pack and bag category with consumers demanding comfort, ease of use, style and personalization options
  • Bomber puffers are trickling into the ski market
  • Purple is the color of the moment
  • Backcountry flash – trend of going bold and flashy is not only for snowboarders
  • Anything puffy is trending, especially if it uses recycled bottles
  • Lightweight convenience is top of mind
  • Stylish embellishments and sexy silhouettes lead hikers out of the woods and onto the runway
  • Brand collaborations, e.g. Fjallraven and Acne Studios and Kith and adidas Terrex are being introduced more frequently
  • Biggest growth in outdoor has been in sweats/active bottoms

Product/Footwear/Hardgoods

  • Resurgence in waist packs
  • What is old is new
  • Younger urban dwellers are asking for their outdoor products that offer both great protection from the elements and, at the same time, look cools and stylish around town
  • Super strong work and utilitarian trend and consumer demand for function trending
  • Boots are lighter faster and stronger
  • Sneaker boots are trending for wherever the trail heads
  • All- purpose boots with functionality definitely trending
  • Technology is at the forefront of fall 2019 outdoor shoes
  • Boots are now more utilitarian and stylish
  • Alpine boots accents echo heritage hikers
  • Significant advancements in skis, e.g. carbon fiber and magnets enabling easier carrying of skis
  • Casual vibes, athletic influence, color pops and trail running on the rise

Product/Technology

  • Consumers are looking for technology to make their outdoor experience safer, more enjoyable and more convenient, albeit skis, snowboards, tele skis, helmets, heated apparel, heated footwear or headed gloves.
  • Mammut had the first laser infused jacket
  • Odlo introduced intelligent-thermal regulation that reads the body’s temperature and can be adjusted via a smart phone app
  • Trekstra introduced retractable crampons
  • 41% in a survey by Lectra expressed interest in purchasing personalized products
  • Graphene continues to be the new “it” technology: It is two-hundred times stronger than steel, more conductive than copper, and lighter than carbon fiber. charges faster with graphene. Rubber is more durable with graphene.
  • Manufacturing processes that focused on decreasing water consumption garnered significant attention

And that, friends, is how 2019 shaped up in a few short weeks and across many, many miles. 

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