OutDoor Show : children as the new relevant target group in the outdoor sector
Everyone is talking about growth potential in the outdoor sector: New activewear collections and athleisure labels are increasingly joining together with modern, high-tech equipment and devices. Now, a new target group is coming into focus: children. Actually, kids are the “true outdoor people”, so long as parents regulate their screen time enough.
The 24th OutDoor Show will take place in Friedrichshafen from 18-21 June 2017. Here, the talk is no longer of children as a niche segment, but as an “important constant and an elementary component” of the trade fair. The fair draws exhibitors from 40 countries and offers over 85,000 m2 of exhibition space divided across eleven halls.
The outdoor industry has grown up, explains Klaus Wellmann, managing director for the event organisers. One sign of this is that the market for children’s products has grown significantly in recent years. The adventurers of the first generation now have children or are out and about with their grandchildren. For brands like Vaude, Craghoppers, Elkline, or Jack Wolfskin, this is becoming an important segment within their overall collections.
“Of course, children are a credible target group, children are the true outdoor experts,” says Daniele Grasso, Head of Product Management at Jack Wolfskin. He is not alone in this opinion: “Children are an important target group for the outdoor market. They should not be forgotten,” says Patrick Laquer, Key Account Manager in Germany for Craghoppers.
Like a lot of kidswear producers, Craghoppers works closely with forest playgroups and follows their guidelines. In addition to sun protection, they recommend clothing with tick protection. Laquer speaks of strong double-digit growth in insect-protection clothing. This growth is mainly driven by young families.
In terms of quality, the child’s clothing must be at least as good as that of the adult, since children are often a lot tougher on their clothes than the grown-ups. The functional palette is mostly similar to that of adult clothing, although children’s clothing does have its own special requirements. Clemens Weigand, Country Manager for Germany and Austria for Reima, cites UV protection as a clear focus. That is because children’s delicate skin is particularly vulnerable, with skin cancer later in life often being caused by sunburns during childhood.
In addition to the classic functions such as moisture management, active breathability, water resistance, and wind resistance, the focus is on comfort. Children’s clothing must also be robust and durable, so that the price for parents is reasonable when considered from a longer-term perspective. “Our starting point is a very high quality, which means the clothing can be worn by siblings and retains as high a resale price as possible on the second-hand market,” explains Thomas Weil, marketing manager of the Hamburg-based outdoor supplier Elkline.
While design is still particularly relevant in children’s outdoor fashion, it can look completely different when it comes to children’s equipment. Especially for rucksacks, a “take-down” from adult styles to children’s products works well. Children are thrilled by the miniature versions of mum or dad’s rucksack, says the trade fair organiser.
Images: OutDoor Show