Retail Buyers Guide: Wetsuits FW18/19
How has your winter wetsuits segment evolved since last winter? What are major changes in terms of products, categories and SKU?
For Winter 2018, we at Gul have evolved the suits with some new features and benefits.
We have also improved the materials used in production generating more stretch, less water absorption and improved foam memory.
Is the demand for frigid waters’ wetsuits still growing?
The UK has always had a strong cold water following. In some counties, we are seeing growth, higher in Norway and other Scandinavian countries.
Which new trends do you see on the 2018/19 wetsuits market?
Trends include facings that absorb less water keeping suits lighter and warmer, better thermal linings, minimal aesthetics and less liquid seaming/more use of neoprene taping.
How have price points evolved and what are the main price hot spots?
Prices continue to rise, driven by currency re-valuations and increasing factory costs. Main hotspots in the UK are Entry level Winter BS at £130 Mid-range, Winter BS at £170 and top end £250+.
Regarding the rubber specifically (neoprene or not) any major improvements?
Foam has become super soft and stretchy. This has created issues with stability. The facings of the neoprene have had to be adjusted and increase the lifespan of the suits.
Tell us a bit more about the linings’ benefits of your wetsuits?
We at Gul have 3 thermal linings. These linings have different functions depending on price points.
As an example, in top end suits use the Boltdry X (the new thermal lining in top end suits) drying has become quicker, it’s lighter and has improved stretch.
Mid-range suits use our Magma Air Insulation. This is 20% lighter than our standard X Flex Thermal and has less water absorption.
Entry level suits have X Flex Thermal. This offers thermal properties but has no effect on the stretch.
What’s new in terms of fit and panel construction?
We have been steadily developing our Revo Fit, this 3D fit results in optimal seam placement and fit.
Please list some of the best selling arguments for a wetsuit?
Performance Vs Price must be a driving force and understanding a retailers target market.
Please take us through three key products that retailers should put on their order sheets.
Viper 5/4 a lot of suit for the money.
Flexor 5/4 Best value mid-range suit
Response FX The entry-level performance wetsuit
Is eco-friendliness an issue for you and how do you approach it?
Soya-based packaging, Less use of cardboard for accessories, (boxes etc). Paperless office environment as much as possible