IMPRESSIONS from a Cross-section

Sector Pulse
Mr. Michael Rupp
Mr. Michael Rupp
Jack Wolfskin

Company Details

Business Area:
Outdoor apparel
351 million euros


What is current market scenario for outdoor apparel, globally? What are the factors impacting the market for outdoor apparel and at what rate is the market expected to grow in the coming years?

After years with rapid, double-digit growth in the outdoor apparel market, there seems to be certain saturation within the Western European markets. However, in emerging markets there is a significant potential for the category. The leading brands are going for global reach. This leads to consolidation of smaller local brands which has just started and is still ongoing. Nevertheless, there is an intact trend to go outdoors as a contrast to modern, urban and highly regulated environments. Freedom, independence and pristine experiences can only be found in the outdoors. 

In terms of current market size of outdoor apparel, the main markets are the US, Japan, Korea, UK and Germany. However, there also seems to be a growing importance of markets such as China, Russia as well as South America. In all of these regions, there is a new middle-class emerging and spending money for outdoor activities. Population, especially in China, is high and market potential is huge. In the past, many brands focused on Tier 1 cities, but even Tier 4 cities have millions of citizens. They are definitely worth a look.

Design definitely plays a bigger role in impacting the market for outdoor apparel currently than in the past. There is no contradiction between functional, comfortable apparel and nicely designed clothes. However, there are more technical developments in outdoor apparel. 

The differences between hardshells and softshells are fading away, and hybrid products are gaining importance. This is a remarkable technological advancement. At least in Europe there will be a shift towards products which are manufactured without using per- and polyfluorinated compounds (PFCs). These are the substances guaranteeing durable water repellency. Renouncing for PFCs will change the complete outdoor industry.

There is a vast range of outdoor apparel brands available to consumers. With global brands competing around the world, they can choose between varieties of attractive products. In the past, manufacturers succeeded to educate consumers about outdoor products and technologies. Many consumers are convinced of the advantages outdoor apparels offer and already possess quite a few outdoor products. Now brands need to get across why one should buy another jacket or pants. 

Moreover, there are exciting opportunities in emerging markets. Even if double-digit growth rates in Western Europe may be the exemption in future, outdoor apparel market can still significantly grow in countries such as China, Russia, etc. 

Published on: 17/12/2013

DISCLAIMER: All views and opinions expressed in this column are solely of the interviewee, and they do not reflect in any way the opinion of

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