What big developments, changes, challenges, and/or opportunities are you seeing and how is your brand navigating them?
One big key trend in the snowboard market – or rather in all industries – is sustainability. This trend leads to necessary changes but also opportunities and challenges of course, as existing processes and products need to be rethought, developed, and improved and still the products need to stay attractive in the price for customers who are challenged with increasing costs and prices anyway. We at HEAD call it Rethink and we address sustainability in every decision we are making and we keep improving year by year.
What developments are you seeing with regards to product pricing?
We did not make any significant changes in terms of manufacturing or sourcing processes.In general, we still see pretty much a V-shaped recovery in the main markets, as well as extremely strong results in overseas regions like Japan and the US, where we have again the strongest results ever. Therefore we see no need to pivot our business model.
Is e-commerce sales still strong since most brands have been put a lot of effort in physical retail?
Generally speaking though, stationary retail is the backbone of our business, offering products online is needed and requested from a consumer perspective, but the main business remains stationary so far, therefore will be supported with all means. We maintain transparent communication with our dealers regarding our e-commerce plans.
The warehouses were empty after winter season 22/23 and we were facing high order volumes for season 23/24. We are doing our best now to get all goods into the stores in time.We are looking ahead to season 24/25 with confidence as the orders are high again and wewill start the season with a great and strong product mix developed in close coordination withour business partners.
Are you using any new materials in your bindings for 24/25?
LYT weight materials play a decisive role in our bindings. By developing our brand new LYTRIDE JR bindings we focused on lightweight and comfort. The straps and the base of this junior binding are super lightweight without compromising on durability and performance to support the young guns to enjoy themselves longer on snow. But also the adult models FX ONE LYT and FX FAY I LYT (WMN) are coming with technologies to keep the bindings light but solid. Its Suspension Straps technology is a relatively soft moulded TPU that is now used to our entry price point models, very light in weight and adds a lot of comfort while well supporting the boot in the binding.
Anything new concerning sustainability and related product or construction you would like to highlight?
We rethink all our workflows from the beginning to the end – from developing to packaging. By reducing waste and using natural, recycled, and certified raw materials and processes, we are well on the way but we are only at the beginning.
But every step counts and sustainability now plays a role in every decision we make. We are also working on making these steps more transparent for our business partners and consumers. It starts with the smallest measures, such as rethinking packaging by using recycled packaging or eliminating plastic where possible. Already, we are not using polybags where possible, have no more see-through windows on our boxes, offer bulk packaging in rental, and use water-based color for our design prints. The presses and cooling system of our manufacturer are solar-powered, and our wood cores are FSC certified, to name only some examples.
As part of the HEAD winter sports family, we leverage the synergies, technologies, and innovative approaches of the brand to become the technical market leader for snowboard equipment – and that also through innovative but also sustainable new materials, processes, and products.
Are you planning to focus on a special product range or type of customers?
HEAD is traditionally strong on mid to entry-level price points whereas we focus on serving solid bindings with plenty of technologies and features for this target group without blowing the budget.But in the last years, we have experienced a shift towards upper price points – in all categories. Therefore we parallel align our product line to offer innovative products serving also this high demanding target group.
What are your top product marketing stories for next season?
Introducing our new LYTRIDE JR, specifically designed for kids and youth, that ticks all boxes of a lightweight, comfortable, and high-performing youth binding. It features our Multi disk that can be mounted with all industry insert standards on the market. In addition, it features multiple size adjustment meaning it will grow with your offspring to have fun with it multiple seasons and is easy on their parent’s wallet.
Specifically designed for kids and youth, the new LYTRIDE JR is easy to handle and offers a comfortable, ergonomic, and secure fit that will keep your little ones safe on the mountain. Available in two sizes and adjustable to grow with your child’s foot, the LYTRIDE JR is the perfect choice for those looking for a binding that will last season after season.
The FX ONE LYT is amongst our best-selling bindings: an easy-to-use, solid binding with a great fit and performance. This binding offers everything you need while being easy on the budget at the same time. With its forgiving flex, this binding is designed for all riding levels and terrains and will be a great companion for a long time.
The RX TWO combines the power and precision of a strap binding with the comfort of a reclining highback, enabling instant riding post-chairlift. All adjustments can be done without using any tools and only have to be set once. The base pad is fully covered for additional comfort and shock absorption, and the lightweight straps offer a snug fit for direct power transmission.