Consumers are expecting more from brands — not only with regard to their values, but also, with their online and in-store experiences.
As a result, iconic retailers found it tough to survive, and continue to find it daunting. We saw legacy brands Adventure 16 and Mountain Gear close their doors. The key to surviving in today’s competitive retail landscape has never been more unforgiving. Brands must be creative and nimble.
What does this say about the companies that are adapting, surviving, and doing it well? What does this say about the media sphere surrounding lifestyle brands of 2019? We explored the top ten stories for the outdoor industry in 2019. See what’s been a challenge for some outdoor brands, and read about what’s allowed these brands to thrive.
Sustainability is Front and Center
It doesn’t matter whether a brand manufactures apparel, footwear or gear, manufacturers know that it is a requirement today to take a good hard look at their supply chain and product development process. The industry demands it, but so to do global organizations and governments. The UN Alliance for Sustainable Fashion was established to halt the environmentally and socially destructive practices of fashion.
The Ellen MacArthur Foundation continues to remind us of the importance of a circular economy. The British Parliament is involved in the discussion on how to regulate and possibly tax fast fashion companies. Patagonia opened us its first ever physical second-hand store in Boulder, while the gear rental trend continues to thrive. In the, end it is about being smarter about how we use our natural resources.
The Demise of Single Use Plastic Movement Gets Stronger
It’s pretty hard to find a plastic bottle at Outdoor Retailer, let alone any trade show that is involved in this community. Guinness removed its plastic from its beer packs and Conde Nast is rethinking its plastic packaging.
Tariffs Wreaked Havoc with the Industry
The Trump administration made life difficult for many players in the outdoor industry, some holding the line on pricing, some not. The roller coaster tariff policy will continue keep brands on their toes as they look at manufacturing options outside of China or whatever the next country of choice is – which changes frequently.
Amazon Continues to Wage War on the Industry
Amazon has the muscle to outmuscle even the best online outdoor retailers. What it doesn’t have is heart and soul – but when it comes to convenience and digital marketing, it is the 80 pound gorilla.
The Trade Show World is Evolving
The existing trade show landscape saw the addition of the Big Gear Show in July 2020 in Salt Lake City shortly after Outdoor Retailer Summer Market. It is any one’s guess whether it will do well, but it is offering one day for the public to attend. No one really knows whether this will be of value or not, but brands and retailers are re-evaluating what makes the most sense. It is hard to beat the gathering power of having the industry all in one place in Denver, however, marketing directors and CEOS are trying to determine if this is a seismic shift that they cannot ignore.
Component Technology is Driving Innovation
PrimaLoft took the lead with the launch of the first biodegradable, recyclable synthetic innovation, setting the pace for brand designers to think of the “Intel inside” as a product champion. Component brands have the capability to dramatically change the world of apparel, home goods and fashion.
Fashion Continues to Influence the Outdoor World
The world of fashion and outdoor have been partners on the dance floor for a long time. With the sustained growth of the outdoor rec economy, growing faster than the U.S. economy, this trend will continue. In addition, the definition of the outdoor experience is changing to become more inclusive – which means more people are partaking in outdoor experiences. Outdoor brands want to be fashionable and fashion brands want to be “outdoor-able.” Will we see more takeoffs, such as Gucci/Keen that we saw this this past March? Maybe, it was good fun.
Street Wear, Meet Outdoor Wear
Street wear is not going anywhere any time soon. Consumers are wearing street wear for outdoor activities, to and from the gym, and yes goat yoga. Watch for continued blending of the lines in 2020.
Confusion and Change: The New Normal for the Media Landscape
In 2019, fewer entities control the media world that is trying to garner bigger audiences. It is fragmented and employs a lot fewer people. Publishing companies are content generators with marketing arms, while the world of streaming explodes with new players. This is the new normal. Buckle up.
2019 was total chaos in the world of media with one of the saddest consequences being the demise of local newspapers. The new media landscape is now a digital one, and this requires a strong PR strategy for outdoor and lifestyle brands.
CGPR is a communications and PR agency for outdoor and active lifestyle brands. Our strategic PR & media planning expertise will elevate your brand to the next level. Contact us to inquire about our services.