Retail Buyers Guide: Kites 2020
Brand: GA Kiteboarding
Interviewee: Konstantin Weier, Marketing Director
Do you see a significant growth in the kite market, compared to last year?
We’re living in difficult and crazy times and of course the spread of the Coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 beginning of this year had a huge negative impact on the demand for kiteboarding gear. People needed to stay at home, in many places couldn’t do outdoor sports and had other concerns than what their next kiteboard should be like. But at least in Europe and other countries around the globe that achieved first improvements, the situation is improving and it does so quickly. End of April the demand took off and many shops and brands had problems fulfilling that demand. It seems as if everybody really was starving for time on the water and that helped at least to cover some losses from the first months of 2020.
Still it’s impossible to make any predictions about the kite market in general this year, the situation is just too extraordinary.
What are the main trends for 2020 in the kite market, in terms of riding discipline?
I still expect kitesurfers to really enjoy their freeride sessions and go for big airs and foiling is cementing its position on the market more and more. This winter we saw a lot of storms in Europe and there were so many riders out there chasing them and fighting with the elements.. So, I think the main trend is that everybody is diversifying his skills and doing more and more different disciplines.
Have you noticed any shifts in trends from last summer’s expectations?
Until today, not really. Lot of storms arrived this winter and especially experienced and advanced riders go out in these rough conditions to chase their personal height record. In consequence especially our boards best suited for these conditions were requested quite a lot.
Where have you seen the biggest growth so far in 2020? Where do you expect the biggest growth in the remaining of the year?
The freeride segment has been working well so far, but at the moment it is hard to tell, how the remainder of the season will go and how the different segments will develop. One thing that is connected to a lot of kite brands and is really exciting a lot of riders is definitely winging.
What has been successful for you in terms of kite technology or changes in product you implemented in your 2020 range?
Probably the construction and reinforcements really stood out, as we focused to include exactly the right reinforcements at the correct positions to keep our kites light, but also extend their lifespan. That is really important for our customers.
What new kite construction and design features from your 2020 range are working well?
Especially the Spark and Pure made good impressions both in magazine tests and in end-consumers hands. We received great feedback on the changes we made and hope that a lot more riders will be able to check these two kites out this year.
Are new materials implemented in your 2020 kites working well?
We mainly focused on the lines on our bar when it comes to new materials and these are working very well. So, we are quite happy, we made this decision and will now focus on other changes for 2021.
Are there any trends in terms of kite design, construction and materials that you are observing in your 2021 product development?
I heard some interesting teasers from the development team, but they are still making the last test runs, so they don’t want to communicate too much. I am excited too about what changes are coming in detail.
When will your 2021 kite range be launched?
This year it’s a lot harder to prepare everything for a proper product launch, because we need the market to be ready for a new collection and also have the right tools to promote the product. Setting up a photoshoot is quite a task at the moment, but we hope that the first 2021 gear can be launched until October.
What has been the retailer response to your 2020 range?
The general response was very positive and we could have been up to a good start, if the year 2020 started in a regular manner. But still we are looking into the future optimistically, as we seem to be on the right track and will try to improve day by day.
Which retailer support method is the most effective?
Reliability. It might sound weird, but a retailer needs to be able to rely on you and know that he or she can call you with any problem and know that you will do your best to solve it. Any problem can be solved somehow and you need to be authentic doing so to be trustworthy.
Are there any retailer support demands you will be implementing in the coming months?
We are working on many new structures in the background, redesigning our B2B shop, the website and some other platforms that will help our retailers to deal with orders, but also warranty requests and general information.
How have your initiatives in terms of sustainability in your 2020 range been received?
We didn’t communicate too much about that, so we couldn’t get a lot of response from our retailers. We took part in several sustainability initiatives with our forwarders and we are very happy with the result. Our goal to minimize waste during production could be reached and also some other minor changes that help protect the environment have been successfully implemented.
Are you implementing new sustainable initiatives in the design and construction of your 2021 range?
We will go ahead and take steps forward year by year. As mentioned above the changes in detail can’t be communicated yet, but our designers always factor sustainability into the development process.
Please name and describe your 3 highlight pieces and items that retailers should definitely order.
The Spark will be a very important kitefor us also in 2020. It was performing exceptionally well in 2019 already and adding a bit more turning speed really should attract a lot of performance freeride kiters in 2020. Our Pure will impress by its great feeling in the air and in the kiters’hands, which will probably make him one of the most requested kites in our 2020 collection. It really motivates the rider to push his own limits and go bigger and for the extra rotation.Also the new X6 bar should be tested by any kiter, as we made some minor adjustments that definitely have bigger impact on the feeling and performance of the bar.