Key Trends Highlighted at Outdoor Retailer Summer Market

25th Birthday event showcases luxury camping, growth in the footwear and action sports segments, and mounting interest in the youth market
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SAN JUAN CAPISTRANO, CALIF. – With 972 exhibitors spread over a record 400,200 square feet of exhibit space, the 2006 Outdoor Retailer Summer Market featured hundreds of innovations across a wide array of product categories. Amidst new product testing, events and business meetings, the show floor was abuzz with talk of trends, including the emergence of luxury camping, diversification of the footwear segment, the growing presence of surf and skate products and an increased focus on the youth demographic.

“This show illustrates the exciting changes and growth occurring in the outdoor industry,” said Peter Devin, group show director for Outdoor Retailer (OR). “It is refreshing to see consumers breaking out of the daily grind to pursue outdoor adventures of all kinds, from paddlesports and climbing to adventure racing and camping. Everyone at this show has a hand in inspiring active lifestyles, and we are extremely grateful for the endless support and enthusiasm demonstrated here at OR.”

Trend: Luxury Camping
Many exhibitors are addressing the needs of the maturing Baby Boomer Generation by introducing high-end camping gear designed around comfort, a trend regularly dubbed “luxury camping.” Exhibitors at Summer Market displayed top-of-the-line camp furniture, canoes and kayaks, wired apparel, grills, radio coolers, hammocks and more, all intended for campers demanding the comfort of home away from home.

“The enthusiastic response to our booth and our products was greater than we could have ever imagined,” commented Nate Borne, sales and marketing coordinator for Snow Peak. “Baby Boomers who grew up using the best gear while on the trail are currently shifting from backpacking to car camping. Whether you call it car camping, family camping, or base camping, we are seeing a greater demand for quality gear and comfort in all age groups.”

Trend: Footwear Segment Takes Off
The footwear segment also continues to build momentum as an essential part of the outdoor community. Since the premiere OR Summer Market in 1982, the presence of footwear-specific exhibitors has steadily increased. Summer Market now offers the opportunity to explore niche markets, such as outdoor walking and women's climbing shoes, yet also provides buyers with easy access to hundreds of top brands all in one place.

“Outdoor Retailer is extremely important to the growth of the Teva brand,” said Jaime Eschette, public relations manager for Teva. “The footwear industry has realized the opportunity to create product for the full spectrum of the outdoor athlete lifestyle, making this a natural place for growth within the industry. For instance, Teva has a new high performance river shoe that can be worn all day on the water, yet look great for the office on Monday.”

Trend: Increasing Action Sports Presence
Yet another buzz factor is the steady emergence of the action sport market at OR. New exhibitors such as Quiksilver USA, 686 and Olukai had attendees talking about the fusion of action sports with outdoor adventures. Several exhibitors who originally exhibited only at Action Sports Retailer (ASR), also managed by VNU Sports Group, have made Outdoor Retailer a priority in recent years.

“We think the outdoor market is very relevant for our products,” said Juan Gonzalez-Vega, with Quiksilver USA. “Surfing, skateboarding and snowboarding are all about being outdoors anyway, so we have a natural connection to this market. Outdoor Retailer is the perfect testament to how big the outdoor industry really is.”

Trend: Connecting With the Youth Market
This year, many outdoor industry manufacturers and retailers are turning their focus towards the youth market, also known as the “Millennial Generation.” This generation's notion of fun represents the future of the business, and thus a number of exhibitors are launching products designed to engage and excite the youth market.

“The youth market is essential to the growth of our industry,” said Kelley Woolsey, Confluence Watersports' EVP of marketing and sales. “With products like our Wilderness Systems Tsunami SP kayak for smaller paddlers we hope that we can expose more youth to our sport and encourage an active outdoor lifestyle.”

Summer Market attendees also celebrated youth at an event put on by the Oil + Water Project, a worldwide tour featuring a demonstration vehicle fueled by vegetable oil that will travel to communities for youth-oriented presentations. In addition, exhibitors Highgear and Big City Mountaineers hosted a fundraiser at the show to raise money to send at least one inner-city youth group into the wilderness for a week. The Outdoor Industry Association (OIA) and its non-profit foundation, the Outdoor Industry Foundation, recognized the importance of the youth market with the announcement of the charter roster of Outdoor Idols, and with a keynote presentation by Neil Howe, author of “Millennials Rising: The Next Great Generation.”

Other top trends that came out of Outdoor Retailer Summer Market 2006 include continued support for environmental programs, the prevalence of recreational and fitness kayaks, lightweight climbing gear and lifestyle apparel.


About Outdoor Retailer
Outdoor Retailer, a division of VNU Expositions is a full service tradeshow company whose goal is to create, market and produce high quality tradeshows and educational conferences. Outdoor Retailer is the leading outdoor industry business-to-business trade event, bringing together top manufacturers, retailers, industry advocates and media to conduct the business of the recreational outdoors. Currently in its 25th successful year, OR gathers approximately 40,000 attendees on a semi-annual basis for both Fall/Winter/Holiday and Spring/Summer markets. VNU Expositions Inc., headquartered in Northern Virginia, and its predecessor companies have been in the exposition and conference business for over 35 years.

Outdoor Retailer Winter Market 2007 will be held in Salt Lake City, Utah from January 27-30 at the Salt Palace Convention Center, with the 4th Annual Backcountry Base Camp scheduled on January 26, one day prior to the Show. Registration details for Winter Market 2007 and more information on Outdoor Retailer tradeshows can be found at www.outdoorretailer.com. Media may contact Sara Nazzaro at Mullen by phone at 978/468-8970 or by email at sara.nazzaro@mullen.com.

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