Outdoor Retailer Announces Key Trends for ORWM

Technology-infused apparel, louder consumer demand for sustainabiilty and lure of backcountry are key trends at Outdoor Retailer Winter Market, bi-annual gathering of $289 billion outdoor industry.
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Outerwear with heat controls, a satellite based messenger service for emergencies, bamboo socks and footwear with recyclable components headline products for next year on display at the bi-annual gathering of the $289 billion outdoor industry this week in Salt Lake City. The Outdoor Retailer Winter Market is the largest industry event playing host to over 17,000 attendees including CEOs, industry leaders, outdoor and winter sports manufacturers, 5,000+ retailers, athletes, and media.
“Manufacturers are introducing a new generation of equipment, apparel and accessories bringing more people outdoors,” said Kenji Haroutunian, show director for Outdoor Retailer Winter Market. “Newcomers are experiencing new levels of performance, comfort, fit and fashion, while outdoor devotees are seeing advanced technology enabling them to excel at their passions even in the toughest of conditions. What's more, across the board, consumers are demanding that products, whether they are sleeping bags, socks, insulation or outerwear, use components that will be far kinder to the planet.”

Electronics Enhance the Outdoor Experience
SPOT Inc. is introducing the SPOT Satellite Messenger, the first personal messaging device that allows users to notify friends, family or an international 9-1-1 emergency call center with status messages based on situation and need. Incorporating GPS and commercial satellite technology that provides coverage beyond cellular phones, SPOT gives users three message options, plus the ability to create a progress record using Google Maps. www.findmespot.com

Rossignol (www.rossignol.com) will introduce the Hit jacket for women with four heating panels where consumers get heat by pressing the battery's button which triggers the system into a 20 minute cycle, which can be repeated 6 times. Mountain Hardwear (www.mountainhardwear.com) is showing the heated Red Savina Glove with a flexible lithium polymer battery for both men and women.

Green Trend Continues, along with Bamboo and Wool

Two of the industry's most respected insulation manufacturers, Primaloft® and Climashield®, are introducing green insulation. Primaloft Eco Insulation is 50% post-consumer recycled. Climashield's 100% recycled Climashield Green is showing up in Sierra Designs, Big Agnes and Kelty sleeping bags.

Brooks Sports (www.brooksrunning.com) will debut the Trance 8 featuring BioMoGo, the first biodegradable midsole. The sustainable footwear trend continues to be extremely strong with a significant increase in footwear brands using “green” components. Hunter Boot, the proud maker of the Original Wellington boot, will use a Bamboo Carbon Lining in its Balmoral Technical Boot (www.hunter-boot.com).
Merrell's (www.merrell.com) new road running styles use environmentally-friendly materials and processes, including recycled mesh uppers and strobel boards, and materials that reduce the amount of water and energy in the manufacturing process.

“The wool story is less about product and more about transparency in the
supply chain,” continued Haroutunian. “As new technologies and fabrics emerge, the quest for industry consistency is strong.”

The New Zealand Merino Company has created Zque, a traceable and accredited value chain that ensures high-quality New Zealand merino wool while meeting environmental, social and economic sustainability and animal welfare criteria. Customers like Ibex and Smartwool are now certifying garments as Zque. Icebreaker clothing in '08 will feature a “Baa Code,” or a number that retailers and consumers can input at Icebreaker.com to see how the garment was made, start-to-finish.

Backcountry Attracts Next Generation of Outdoor Enthusiasts
“Backcountry is at the heart and soul of winter sports and is an inspiration for a new genre of apparel, gear and snowshoe design. Some retailers feel this growing segment has completely revitalized winter sports,” continued Haroutunian.

Easton is introducing backcountry snowshoes while Outdoor Research is introducing its Descent apparel collection for skiing and riding backcountry aficionados. Lastly, Highgear is showing the lightweight Axio Mini with the latest in altimeter technology with user-friendly features including a function that tracks ascent and descent rates while recording total elevation gained or lost.

About Outdoor Retailer
Outdoor Retailer, produced by the Nielsen Sports Group division of Nielsen Business Media, 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 26th successful year, OR gathers approximately 40,000 attendees on a semi-annual basis for both Fall/Winter/Holiday and Spring/Summer markets. The Nielsen Sports Group, headquartered in San Juan Capistrano, Calif., and its predecessor companies have been in the exposition and conference business for over 35 years.