As recently as 2013, sales of outdoor performance apparel were growing at a rate of 6% in the US; by 2.5% in Europe; and by double digits in emerging economies. Outdoor industry sales were outpacing fashion sales, driving an explosion of new brands and “performance” spin-offs, along with a vast expansion of outdoor retail sites and sales channels.
Those were the good old days. In 2016, the call of the wild sounds a lot different. While interest and participation in the outdoors is growing, the outdoor consumer is changing, becoming younger, more diverse, and more social.
The lines between outdoor activities are blurring, while sales of traditional outdoor apparel, engineered for specific activities, are stagnating. Today’s outdoorists are searching for hybrid outdoor apparel with versatile functionality, rather than purchasing activity-specific kit.
“The industry has been obsessed with the core adventurer, but that’s not the way most people now experience the outdoors,” explains Michael Cattanach, global product director for performance fabric innovator Polartec.
This report gathers retail market data (for outdoor industry totals and outdoor apparel) for US, Europe, China, South Korea, Australia, Japan and India.
Online sales in China soared by 61.7% last year, comprising 28.4% of the country’s core outdoor market, but the report suggests international brands who are trying now to penetrate the Chinese market will no longer find an easy source of quick money, but will have to do their homework skilfully to be successful.
The report explains the current retail landscape worldwide, with coverage of major retail brands' latest activity in key markets. 2015 sales results are provided for over 50 core outdoor retailers and over 80 worldwide brands.
A round-up of the latest technology covers many important recent innovations and announcements by manufacturer, across sustainability, odour control tech, thermal regulation, lightweight innovations, stretch fibres, speed manufacturing and wearables.
New outdoor activities are discussed, including the growing popularity of trail running, cycling, camping, adventure travel, indoor climbing and "hipster hunting".
Finally, the report concludes with analysis of current manufacturing business models for sourcing and selling outdoor apparel. We suggest what may lie ahead in the short-term future and how key players may need to change their businesses to fit the new norms.
Quotes are provided throughout from many of the industry's leading suppliers, brands and retailers.
Introduction: The call of the new wild
- The outdoors as a social experience
Chapter 1: The only constant is change
- Seasons are becoming less relevant
- Outdoor performance apparel by another name
- Putting a number on it
- Value of the outdoor business in global markets
- So, what’s selling?
Chapter 2: Retail rationalisation
- The big get bigger: mergers and acquisitions
- When your supplier is your competition
Chapter 3: A mid-life crisis?
- Consolidations resulting in stronger brands, but less diversity
- Indies offer alternatives with authenticity
Chapter 4: Making technology relevant
- Sustainability as the driver of innovation
- Stopping the stink
- Thermal regulation
- The age of micro-lights
- A better way to stretch
- The need for speed
- The future of wearables
Chapter 5: Appealing to the new outdoorist
- Trail running ranks high
- Cycling’s resurgence
- Millennials and minorities gather around the campfire
- Social climbing
- A new generation of hunters and gatherers
- Lifestyle essentials upgrade with performance
- Outdoor performance growing in travel and fashion segments
- Encouraging the new outdoorists
Chapter 6: Inconvenient truths, and encouraging words
- The global economy has stalled
- Supply chain disruptions continue
- The trend toward transparency
- Finding the sweet spots
- A positive long-term outlook
List of Tables
Table 1: 2015 outdoor industry retail sales by region
Table 2: 2015 outdoor apparel retail sales by region
Table 3: Key outdoor retailers’ 2015 sales
Table 4: Key outdoor brands’ 2015 sales
List of FiguresFigure 1: Growth of US outdoor/sport apparel categories in value
Figure 2: Outdoor categories’ share of sales in Europe, 2015
Figure 3: Fastest growing outdoor activities in the US from 2014 to 2015
Figure 4: Growth in sales for US outdoor categories between latest period and projections to 2020