It’s fair to say that in the outdoor apparel arena, the more labels a product has, the more likely a consumer is to reach for it. In the eyes of today’s tech-savvy outdoor enthusiasts, hang tags and performance-enhancing attributes go hand in hand, and anything that can potentially offer an edge when they’re hiking or biking will grab their attention—and possibly their purse strings.
According to The NPD Group, outerwear in the outdoor winter category raked in $2.2 billion in sales in the United States in 2014, a growth of 3 percent from the previous year that the consumer research company accredits to an increase in average retail prices.
As Matt Powell, NPD’s sports industry analyst, explained, “Necessity prompts purchases, but it is innovation, including improvements in fabrics, that’s driving average selling prices and, in some cases, unit sales as well.”
To that end, when Adidas introduced its Adidas Outdoor offshoot stateside in 2011, the German sportswear giant knew its partnership with synthetic-fiber maker PrimaLoft would be instrumental in helping it crack a category dominated by the likes of Patagonia and The North Face.
“The PrimaLoft brands adds authenticity, proven performance and demonstrates the commitment from Adidas Outdoor to use the very best materials and insulation in all of our products,” said Greg Thomsen, managing director for Adidas Outdoor USA.
Carried by Cabela’s and REI, to name a few, Adidas Outdoor targets young, athletic-focused consumers that have grown up clad in activewear that promises features spanning the basic (breathability) to the advanced (hidden sensors that track heart rate). As Dave Newey, director of global marketing at PrimaLoft, put it, “Outdoor athletes want technical apparel and footwear that mirrors their activities.”
From slim-fitting hybrid styles to cold-weather mountaineering jackets, each Adidas Outdoor product that contains PrimaLoft branded technology is designed to help outdoor athletes “move faster, further and safer in the mountains,” Thomsen said. “I believe that our customers want to get the best value, innovation and style that they can find in their outdoor apparel. PrimaLoft is an excellent example of a component that adds performance, style and value.”
Next fall, that means expanding its Terrex collection (which re-launched for Spring ’15) to include the Agravic PrimaLoft jacket for men. Available in gray, yellow and green (SRP $299), the lightweight jacket features PrimaLoft Gold insulation, an ultra-fine microfiber that adds water-resistant warmth without bulk.
In addition, the men’s Skyclimb jacket and vest have been updated in two new colorways (black-and-white and midnight). Retailing for $99-129, both combine PrimaLoft insulation with four-way stretch and breathability.
“Consumers are becoming increasingly tech savvy today. They understand that the ingredients matter to the performance and success of the end product they are buying,” Newey said, but quickly pointed out that branding alone isn’t enough to suggest why consumers should pay attention to specialty fabrics and fibers. “PrimaLoft must be innovative and offer a substantial advantage over existing alternatives in order to build trust and influence buying decisions.”