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OR Summer

NPD’s latest trend predictions

As we gear up for next week's Outdoor Retailer, the data gurus at NPD identify the key issues our industry should be watching.


Next week the outdoor industry will descend on Denver for Outdoor Retailer Summer Market. One of the best attended events is historically NPD’s “trend breakfast,” and it’s not because of the grub. Matt Powell, senior industry advisor and Julia Day, executive director, will serve up a heaping plate of data-based recommendations on how brands and retailers can survive and thrive in the coming year and beyond.

NPD released a sneak peak of the key themes for this year’s breakfast, which will happen on Wednesday, June 19 (day 2) from 7:00 to 9:00 a.m.

Key data-based lessons, according to NPD

We need to de-emphasize pinnacle products and refocus on the less hardcore. “The industry is still too focused on the pinnacle consumer,” says Powell. “That’s not where the money is. The money is in family camping, weekend usage, and car camping as opposed to three-week hikes.”

Growing outdoor participation is key to growing your customer base. It’s a pretty obvious concept, but how to actually do it within your own brand may not be. What can vendors and retailers do on a day-to-day basis? “One way the industry can step up is to offer programs, like workshops and trainings, that appeal to consumers who haven’t had much exposure to the outdoor industry and may be intimidated,” says Day.

Mission matters. With so many high-quality choices when it comes to outdoor gear and apparel, more and more consumers are making their buying decisions based on what brands stand for. “It’s not just about selling a product for a certain price, but about making the world a better place,” says Powell. All companies need to ask themselves, “Why am I in business?” and have an answer that goes deeper than the bottom line.

Specialty retail stores should focus on the experience more than the product. Powell expects that within five to ten years, 50 percent of all sneakers will be bought online. “But many consumers still like going into stores,” he says. “The problem is that we have too many stores all selling the same products.” But the web can’t create relationships and share the stoke about a customer’s upcoming adventure. Powell predicts that “We’ll probably see smaller stores that test and try new products and offer experiences like virtual try-ons. Day suggests that stores merchandise according to lifestyle choices and trends, mixing apparel and hard goods to create in-store experiences for the customer.