Basically, there is reason to rejoice for the action sports scene: At the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo, skateboarding, surfing and also sport climbing will be part of the program for the first time. This will certainly give the industry a good push, because the figures are not exactly rosy in many places.
At GoPro, for example, analysts are expecting a 17.6 percent drop in sales this year to $1.34 billion - with a net loss of 95 U.S. cents per share expected. Analysts also expect GoPro to be in the red again in 2017. To counteract this, a new global partnership has been agreed with the energy drink manufacturer Red Bull. GoPro will thus become the exclusive camera and content provider for Red Bull. In return, Red Bull will receive one percent of GoPro shares.
Action-Sports: Back into the hearts of customers
The signs in the scene are pointing to collaboration and new ideas. ISPO is supporting this with a new hall concept for the next world's leading trade fair for the sporting goods industry, ISPO Munich, from February 5 to 8, 2017. "Back to the roots" and back into the hearts of customers is the motto for the industry.
The reasons for the problems and the decline in sales are complex: winters with little snow and climate change are causing problems for action sports in the winter months. For many families with children - for whom there are still far too few offers - the lift pass prices of the operators are simply unaffordable. In general, many companies in the industry have lost focus on the customer and cling to long-outdated sales models.
"Manufacturers and retailers must once again pay much more attention to their customers and their - sometimes very individual - wishes. It is no longer enough to display the product in the store or online and cash in on interest. Advice is once again very much in the foreground, as is creating a suitable environment, whether in the store or on the Internet," says Tommy Delago, co-founder of Nitro Snowboards.
Shopping has to become an experience - and customers often want to buy products exactly when the need arises. The fact that winter products like down jackets continue to be offered from late summer is counterproductive. In addition, the right appeal must be found again not only for the freaks but also for the completely normal people.
New ideas - responding to customer wishes and focusing on children
"I think that we must not confuse the consumer with 1000 different products. I don't think people get that. And if it gets too complicated, the customer will leave - it's not just in our industry. So let's simplify the message together," says Martino Fumagalli, CEO of Union Bindings in Italy.
In general, the industry would have to agree on common goals and look ahead with optimism. Says Fumagalli, "The action trend has come and gone many times in the past 40 years. All this negative news only makes the situation more negative. Therefore, let's start being positive."
That alone will certainly not be enough to lead the action sports industry back into growth territory. New crossover products, new trends and new ideas are needed. For example, there is still far too little focus on children as the customers of the future and influencers of their wealthy parents - much more events like the Cable Session Contest are needed here.
There are also not yet enough suitable new business models for the trend toward leasing/renting action sports products.
"Action sports are equated with extreme sports".
"The accessibility and image of action sports need to be improved again," says Tommy Delago. "Action sports like skateboarding or snowboarding are often equated by the public with extreme sports like wingsuit flying or base jumping."
He adds, "The new carving movement in snowboarding or broadcast series like 'Das Surfcamp' on KiKa certainly have a positive effect on public perception. This positive trend needs to be supported and pushed further by the industry and trade."