A Challenge for European Outdoors/Winter Sports Brands

Since the 90s, snowboarding, freestyle skiing and freeriding have had a tremendous cultural impact. A generation that grew up with action sports and now in their 30s and 40s is looking to equip their children and themselves for less extreme ventures.

They expect style and a certain youthful “sexiness” as a matter of course. American (and Scandinavian) brands have long understood this, offering stylish goods for the mainstream winter sports and mountaineering markets. Take The North Face as an example.

These new mainstream consumers are not willing to compromise on “sexiness” even for regular outdoors products - but are often not able to find this with traditional Central European quality manufacturers, and are forced to look elsewhere. At the same time, the cohort too old to be impressed by the advent of action sports back in the 90s is slowly fading out of the consumer demographic.

As far as design goes, many European quality brands will need to step up their game.

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About the author: Heinrich Lentz is the founder of Antimatter, a physical / digital product design agency in Vienna/Austria, and functions as its design director. Previously he has been working in product and ux/ui design for agencies in Austria and Spain and lecturing at IED Barcelona.

Photo by Zachary Kyra-Derksen on Unsplash