The boardsports industry has been through a time of change and upheaval since the global financial crisis coincided with brands realizing the volume of product they had been manufacturing was far too large.
Since then it has been sink or swim, and Rip Curl are a brand who has come out with their head well above water. For this issue of SOURCE, Rip Curl’s European CEO Wilco Prins tells us how the company has thinned its product lines by 50% and has executed a strategy, segmenting their lines to fit their consumer with a high amount of technical innovation, guaranteed quality and with the stories being told by some of the finest athletes in their field. Resulting in a solid bottom line and setting a fine example.
As reported in our SS16 trend reports, brands in general are vying for a more technical and/or premium approach to the market for 2016, meaning new products feature technical aspects to justify their price tag.
Whereas before a consumer would buy all their products from one brand, and one brand only, it’s now the case that consumers shop around to find the best product for them. This is opening up the market for brands to start winning a whole new customer base. Brands are no longer searching for huge volumes, but are instead looking for quality and repeat custom. And if a customer buys a good technical product from a brand, this creates loyalty.
Customer loyalty also extends to retail, where one retailer’s satisfaction with a wetsuit, a sunglass, SUP or longboard can equate to large orders and given the right sales support and payment terms will be the beginning (or continuation) of a fruitful relationship.
SOURCE #78’s trend reports break down the ever increasing amount of product information available, as our experts review what’s worth a punt for SS16 in everything from wetsuits to longboards, sunglasses to action cams and their accessories right the way through to surf apparel and watches. We’re also looking at a couple of new trend categories – the rise of women’s activewear, and a category that many brands are placing a real focus on, thanks to the transient lifestyles we all live – luggage and rucksacks. We have a special SUP focus for this issue with a trend report and an interview with Red Paddle’s Co.’s Co-Founder John Hibbard.
Harry Mitchell Thompson
On The Cover: François Liets, Billabong Brand Manager surfing Mullaghmore, Ireland. Photo: Laurent Pujol.