Every Monday, Wednesday and Friday leading up to Outdoor Retailer Summer Market, SNEWS is previewing the top new trends and products you’ll see at the trade show in Salt Lake City, Aug. 1-5. All these stories also can be found in the print or digital flipbook edition of our Planning Guide.
There are hundreds of outdoor product categories at Summer Market — a few too many to preview here. But we’ve picked out some trending accessory sectors where you can expect to find innovation, changes or significant growth.
Lights, camera, action ... post!
Forget tapping out 140 characters or updating one’s status, more social media users (especially those who play outdoors) are sharing their experiences through digital photos and video.
That’s led to a surge in action camera business for outdoor specialty retailers, particularly point-of-view video cameras (sales of which rose 182 percent during the last year, according to Leisure Trends) from brands such as GoPro and Contour. Also hot are those dustproof, drop-proof, waterproof, point-and-shoot cameras from Pentax and Nikon, and camera accessories, mounts and tripods from brands such as Lowepro, Timbuk2 and Joby.
Today’s consumers aren’t just shooting photos and videos outdoors, they’re editing them on the spot and then posting immediately to social media networks.
“The more people are connected, the more people want to share,” said Marc Barros, CEO of Contour. To this effect, look for manufacturers to bundle cameras with easier-to-use software tools allowing for quick editing and posting.
To keep all the shooting, editing and posting in one device, Optrix makes a play for action camera enthusiasts by debuting an action case and mount for the iPhone.
More correlating data from embedded GPS is on the way too — tracking speed, elevation and distance with every frame. And with watersports gaining popularity, expect to see plenty of waterproof cases and accessories to keep equipment dry.
Gear for a ‘buggy year’
While applying bug spray directly onto skin is hardly a thing of the past, insect-repellent clothing is picking up steam. You’ll see more clothing treated with permethrin to ward off critters, including disease-carrying ticks.
Expanding product lines include ExOfficio’s BugsAway collection (offered in partnership with Insect Shield) and Columbia’s Insect Blocker, both of which retain bug-repellent properties for up to 70 washes.
If customers prefer their existing clothing, or perhaps a new piece without bug protection, consider stocking add-on permethrin spray from companies like Sawyer. Consumers apply the spray themselves to their favorite pieces of clothing.
“We have a huge tick problem right now,” said Amy Stead, vice president of sales and marketing for Sawyer. “Tick counts are 400 percent worse than they were last year. It’s going to be a really buggy year.”
Sock it to summer
Merino is king in hiking and wintersports specialty socks, but this Summer Market, brands will see if they can break into the growing running and cycling markets. SmartWool, Point6, Darn Tough Vermont and others all will take aim with lighter weights, new blends and styles, and sport-specific cushioning.
The challenge ahead? Convincing consumers that “wool is just as good in warm weather,” said Ric Cabot, president of Darn Tough Vermont. “Merino effectively wicks and has a natural temperature regulation,” plus the added benefit of reduced odor after a workout.
An additional summer strategy by Point6 is to introduce truly white merino wool socks, which also could play well with golfers and tennis players. And Dahlgren sees merino socks sneaking into summer fashion with dropout stitching for airy, light weight and texture.
The “made in the USA” sock trend continues as Goodhew and Sockwell will debut socks not only made here, but sourced with American wool.
No more ‘SPF 100 waterproof sunblock’
The sunscreen shelves will look a lot different this summer as brands prep
for new FDA labeling regulations that were set to go into effect this summer, but have been delayed to Dec. 17, 2012. Here’s what you need to know:
>> Only sunscreens labeled “SPF 15” or higher and “broad spectrum” can advertise protection against sunburn AND the ability to reduce the risk of skin cancer and early skin aging.
>> Products with SPF values higher than 50 must be labeled as “SPF 50+,” as there is little protection gained with higher SPF values.
>> No more “waterproof” or “sweatproof” claims. Instead, “water-resistant” sunscreens must be labeled as lasting 40 or 80 minutes.
>> Claims of “sunblock,” “instant protection” or “lasting more than two hours,” are banned unless brands submit data and get approval from the FDA.
The new regulations have consumers looking more closely at what they’re applying to their skin, benefiting specialty brands — many of which are using fewer chemicals and more natural minerals like zinc and titanium for protection. Zinc is seeing resurgence with a new “clean look” from brands such as Beyond Coastal and Joshua Tree Skin Care at the show, which employ a refined version of the mineral to rid the white look but keep the UV protection.
Hydration pack regulars CamelBak, Platypus and Hydrapak will welcome Gregory Mountain Products to the space for the first time at Summer Market. The brand will launch 12 new hydration products, including packs, waist, and handheld items.
Gregory’s trail running products are well known in Japan, but this marks their first appearance in the U.S. market. The men’s line is called the Tempo and the women’s is the Pace.
But it’s not all about packs. Vapur is bringing its collapsible, highly portable and non-bulky Element back for a second show. The product features a screw-on cap with a carabiner attachment. Avex brings its Brazos Autoseal bottle — the touch of a button unseals the spout and it reseals automatically when the button is released.
Expect to see smaller and more portable hydration solutions for the growing trail running crowd, along with more shape-control reservoirs in packs to keep water from jiggling while you’re jogging. Plus compression hydration bladders are catching on — the pressure keeps the water coming to spray yourself, a friend or the dog.
Gone are the days when eating an energy bar was like gnawing through a hunk of dusty cardboard — and just about as enjoyable. Now, it’s all about making trailside treats as tasty as they are wholesome.
“Consumers should expect to see a shift toward convenient and indulgent food products that also help satisfy a specific nutritional requirement,” said Tara Dellolacono Thies, in-house registered dietician and nutritionist for Luna and Clif Bar.
Dellolacono Thies noted the growing emphasis on fiber as a means to stay full and healthy, which is why Luna decided to release Luna Fiber, a soft-baked, fruit-filled fiber bar designed to keep women fuller, longer.
On the Clif Bar side, the emphasis is on the new Kit’s Organic collection, a snack bar made with 100 percent organic fruit that comes in four flavors: cashew, berry almond, chocolate almond coconut and peanut butter.
If sweet isn’t your thing, your friends at Patagonia have you covered with Wild Salmon Jerky, the first product in the Patagonia Provisions line. You can feel good about eating this stuff as the salmon comes from sustainable, in-river fisheries.
Be sure to check out many more new outdoor accessory products and trends in the O.R. Daily, published live at the show Aug. 2-5, and available digital format each following day of print at SNEWS.