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Products for outdoor kids: Bring in the specialists

Growth market and target group with potential – small customers have big requirements when it comes to functionality and comfort

As a target group, they might not be breaking records or undertaking extreme expeditions, and yet they are probably the true outdoor enthusiasts: kids. Once a niche market segment, outdoor products for kids have been an important factor and an integral part of the OutDoor show for some time. Typical of the outdoor industry, here too, specialist providers will once again be making the running from 18 to 21 June 2017.


The outdoor industry has grown up. This is clearly reflected in the way that the market for kids’ products has grown significantly in recent years. The first generation of adventurers have had their own kids or are now out with their grandchildren. “Of course, kids are a credible target group. Kids are the real outdoor experts,” says an enthusiastic Daniele Grasso, head of product management, Jack Wolfskin. This opinion is shared across the industry throughout Europe. “Kids are a very important target group for the outdoor market, which should not be neglected,” says a convinced Patrick Laquer, key account manager Germany at Craghoppers.


When it comes to quality, kids’ clothing has to be at least as good as adult apparel, as kids often subject their clothing to greater wear and tear than mum or dad. And functionality is important too. The range of functional features is as extensive as it is for adult clothing and has certain core themes: “Harmful substances should not be used, particularly in kids’ clothing,” stresses Clemens Weigand, country manager Germany and Austria for Reima.


He also focusses on kids UV protection, because kids’ sensitive skin is particularly at risk and skin cancer in adults is often caused by getting sun burnt as a child. Craghoppers works, like nearly all kids’ apparel providers, with forest kindergartens and follows their recommendations: in addition to sun protection, they also recommend clothing that protects against ticks. Patrick Laquer refers to significant double-digit growth from insect-repellent clothing, which mainly generated from young families.


Classic functions, such as moisture management, breathability, waterproofing and windproofing are important, but so are attractive designs and wear comfort – factors which are not always easy to combine. Children’s clothing has to be hard wearing and long lasting to justify the price over time for parents. “Our starting point is very high quality, so that our clothing can still be worn by younger brothers and sisters and hold its value for the second-hand market,” explains Thomas Weil, marketing manager, Elkline.


While kids’ clothing is based on children-specific designs, equipment is a different ball game. Kids’ backpacks in particular, function well with downsized versions of adult styles, as kids are often delighted with a mini version of mum or dad’s pack. One thing is certain: specialist kids’ brands, such as Reima and Trollkids enjoy high credibility. And for Craghoppers, Elkline, Jack Wolfskin or Vaude, kids’ clothing is an important part of their overall collection.

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