Cycling brands look beyond the bikewear market
Category expansion is on the horizon for community-centric cycling brands looking to tap into the lucrative outdoor apparel opportunity
Both the cycling and outdoor market are booming thanks in part to the events of 2020. As the pandemic has forced many people to spend extended periods indoors, consumers are increasingly captivated by nature, spending time and money on outdoor lifestyles and pursuits. According to NPD, a number of outdoor categories have experienced explosive growth since COVID-19 hit, with sales of camping equipment growing 31% YoY in June 2020. The cycling market has also surged in relevance; amidst safety concerns around public transport and a desire to exercise outdoors. In eg the UK, bike sales were up 60 percent in April 2020.
Trailblazers in the buoyant cycling market are using their foundation in bike apparel to expand into new categories, particularly the equally buoyant outdoor market. Expect the outdoor sector to be subject to increased disruption over the coming seasons, as cycling brands with an engaged fanbase expand into the sector. Alex Ingildsen CCO at LTP Group states
“In recent years, the cycling industry has gone from strength-to-strength, now a wave of Bikewear brands with cult followings are targeting the outdoor sector to seize new opportunities and bolster their existing offer.”
Here, Ingildsen and designer/trend forecaster Chantell Fenton discuss what it takes for cycling brands to extend into the outdoor category.
Cycling Brands Are More Than Bibs And Jerseys
Many cycling brands have successfully cultivated authentic connections around the sport. It’s become about a lot more than bibs and jerseys. These deep-rooted communities enable the brand to sell across category lifestyle products to their engaged fan base.
Café Du Cycliste created a selection of outdoor apparel dubbed Arrière-Pays. The brand aims to support consumers even when they aren’t on the bike, stating
“riding isn't always about open roads.”
Consumers engage with the brand beyond the sport, feeling a genuine connection and love for the brand and want to buy products to support their lifestyle in its entirety. Pas Normal Studio recently expanded into the outdoor market launching a collaboration with Descente ALLTERRAIN. The highly anticipated release features a premium range of outerwear styles with cycling-specific modifications and performance tech. These adjustments make the styles suitable for alpine ascents to city commutes with peak-to-pavement appeal.
Build Collections With On/Off Bike Versatility
Some brands spend a lot of money acquiring new customers but savvy community-focused brands invest more in customer retention. Favouring strategies which aim to sell more to existing consumers rather than chasing new ones. Develop off-race or casual collections which are an extension of the core line. Aim to offer on/off bike versatility. Use technical trims and finishes synonymous with the sport from waterproof zippers and pockets to breathable membranes. Protection from wind and rain is key. Use bonded or seam-free constructions for a look which fuses elements of performance and techwear whilst appealing to the outdoor market. Pas Normal Studios Off-Race Collection hits the mark with a range of fleece mid-layers. The functional yet fashionable collection is specifically designed for outdoor exploration or indoor relaxation.
As consumers become increasingly attuned to environmental issues embed green practices into the design process by working with transparent and traceable suppliers with a certified sustainable profile.
Find The Right Partner
To capitalise on this opportunity, it’s vital to use the right manufacturer who has expertise in both performance cycling and outerwear apparel. An experienced multi-product manufacturer can share insights and cutting-edge construction techniques. Tap into the supplier’s technical know-how on the latest fabric innovations from hybrid fleece and bio-based materials to adaptable membranes and thermal insulation.
LTP is a Danish owned garment manufacturer for +60 premium brands within active sportswear, outdoor, athleisure and sustainable fashion. LTP was established in 1991, and is probably the biggest Sport & Outdoor garment manufacturer in Europe with Bluesign & GOTS setups in Lithuania, Belarus, Ukraine and Vietnam
LTP consists of two divisions; LTP Garment and LTP Contract Furniture producing in nine fully-owned factories.
About Chantell Fenton
New design manager at LTP, Chantell is an experienced performance sportswear designer and trend forecaster, with a passion for wellness, technology and function-first design. Chantell has an in-depth knowledge of how to spot and translate the must-have trends and macro shifts for the sports and outdoor industry. For more details visit www.chantellfenton.com