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Outdoor performance apparel 2016: A broader perspective

Outdoor performance apparel 2016: A broader perspective

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 and figures
Table 1: 2015 outdoor industry retail sales by region
Table 2: 2015 outdoor apparel retail sales by region
Figure 1: Growth of US outdoor/sport apparel categories in value
Figure 2: Outdoor categories’ share of sales in Europe, 2015
Table 3: Key outdoor retailers’ 2015 sales
Table 4: Key outdoor brands’ 2015 sales
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

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