Change in Consumer Preferences Calls for New Range of Hybrid Outdoor Apparels

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pixNow-a-days, outdoor activities are becoming extremely popular amongst young adults who like to take frequent ‘healthy breaks’ from their busy, competitive schedule. Wondering what ‘healthy breaks’ are? Well, these breaks include activities that freshen up the body and mind; these are real stress-busters. Outdoor activities generally take one away from the hustle and bustle of the cities; it is exploration and admiration of the nature. Outdoor sports range from mountain biking, canyoning, trekking, and rock-climbing to snowboarding, skiing, and ice climbing. These sports involve good amount of sweat-shed (physical activity) and sight-seeing.

Hybrid Outdoor ApparelsWith increasing popularity of outdoor activities worldwide, the demand for outdoor performance apparels has also been increasing over the years. As until 2013, the United States of America (USA) saw sales of outdoor clothing growing at 6%, whereas sales in Europe grew by 2.5%. Emerging markets have been registering double digits growth rate. In 2015, online sales in China accounted for 28.4% of the core outdoor market, growing by 61.7%. The recent past years saw strong growth of outdoor wears because of expanded retail chains and entry of international brands in emerging economies. In fact, outdoor apparel sales outpaced fashion apparel sales in many regions. However, there is one significant global change in consumer demand and preferences that is now pushing manufacturers to design newer business models and innovative products.

“Demand for Activity-Specific Outdoor Performance Apparels has become Stagnant as Adventurers’ Interests have Diversified”

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The year 2016 saw rising demand from more young, social and diverse outdoorists for hybrid outdoor clothing. So far, brands have been focusing of making activity-specific kits. These specific-kits are, however, now not appealing to the adventurers. Reasons:

  • Young adventurers are showing interests in multiple outdoor activities, not just one. They are looking for quality apparels that can be used for multiple sports.
  • Climate change is another factor that is changing consumer preference. Many outdoor activities are dependent of climate and seasons. Due to global warming, seasons have either become shorter or longer. Humidity levels also tend to change much more frequently now. Thus, skin-friendly apparels that can be worn in any climate are in much demand.
  • Tech-savvy youngsters love integration of information technology into sports and apparels. This is why many brands have already started venturing into designing and manufacturing of apparels featuring lightweight innovations, odour control technology, thermal regulation, etc.,

It can be concluded that if brands want to expand their markets and increase sales in the coming years, they need to create hybrid performance apparels, equipped with smart devices such as health trackers, keeping the above factors in mind. This now indeed calls for more research and development in the outdoor performance apparel industry.