What women want

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Over the past few months, we have met with many of you to introduce you to Pragma Consulting's US practice. We thoroughly enjoyed our conversations and believe that there are great opportunities to partner with you on some of your most pressing opportunities.

Our US office is growing and our capabilities are expanding. As we are about to close out 2018, we wish you all a festive and peaceful holiday season, as well as a happy and successful start to 2019. In the meantime, we would like to introduce you the Pragmatist – a series of thought pieces about particular segments of the consumer industry. We hope you enjoy these and find them insightful. 

What women want

The outdoor market is no longer a male preserve.

A recent study by the Outdoor Industry Association showed that 51% of outdoor product consumers were women. And these consumers are clearly not just shopping for their significant others. In our work with outdoor retailers we have found that sales of women's clothing have outpaced overall sales in recent years.

One outdoor retailer making significant efforts to better align its product, marketing strategy and shopping experience to the female consumer is The North Face. When Kath Smith became General Manager in 2017, she pledged to open up broader conversations with female consumers.

Accordingly, the #SheMovesMountains campaign celebrates the stories of inspirational women in exploration.  It permeated TV adverts, social media and even a new female-focused store in San Francisco. In addition, The North Face continues to launch expansive female collections inspired by female athletes. These lines are praised for the combination of high quality technical materials and fashionable styles. One blogger raved: "For me The North Face Thermoball jacket is a real winner. It is a super versatile offering that will not look out of place on city streets but that will keep you warm, even on those sub-zero days."

So, what do women really want?

It is not just a more fashion-led approach to technical clothing that women seek:

Luxury
Studies show that women are more likely to purchase luxury brands than men. Sportalm is an Austrian ski-wear brand that is successfully tapping into this trend with its "luxe winter chic" brand positioning. Sportalm is now sold in 21 countries and has won a place at Berlin Fashion Week. The brand's creative director attributes its success with female consumers to the blend of modern design, innovative functional materials and passion for luxury details.

Ethically sourced
Research by Morgan Stanley shows that 21% of women stated ethical sourcing as "very important" versus 16% of men.  For example, Finisterre has developed exclusive fabrics using recycled polyester such as “C-Shell”, which is fully recyclable at the end of the jackets lifespan. The brand has received angel backing and now sells both online and via its four stores, including one in central London.

Maternity wear
Numerous online bloggers bemoan the lack of technical outdoor wear that can be worn during pregnancy for activities such as hiking. California-based adventure clothing company, Mountain Mama, was borne out of this frustration. Their products have since won awards for design excellence and innovation, and the company has successfully expanded into equipment and These companies have succeeded by truly engaging with the needs of their end consumer. As the economic status of women continues to grow, the opportunity for outdoor retailers to further tap into this powerful and highly active consumer group is vast.

If you would like to learn more about Pragma's work in the outdoor sector, please get in touch.

Dan Stolarski
Managing Director
Pragma Consulting