The Skateboarding Summit 2016

IASC hosted it’s annual Skate Summit this year in Orange County, California  on May 11th – 13th. 2016. Gathering a group of industry people to discuss what’s next.

The discussion ranged from an aging skateboarding population, to skateboardings inclusion in future Olympic Games. One constant theme was how to increase participation, specifically with youth as many retailers openly admitted they have seen a decline of young skaters in their shops. From this meeting I will present a few key takeaways.

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Whats different  is what’s selling. There is no way to tell a brand product story to a customer unless you have something different. Give shops a different colorway or style that is found no where else, not even online. This is a message that we have all heard before, but now more than ever, retailers seemed to be opening up and expressing the real challenges faced in an ever changing economy that is being sped up by the global nature of social media. The topic of exclusive product for speciality shops was also discussed during the event. Hand in Hand with that sentiment, emerging brands are doing their best with limited distribution avenues and are bringing back the raw, youth element of just bringing skateboarding back to the streets.

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Per Werlinder founder of Birdhouse, Flip and JSLV also pointed out at the meeting that we are moving from a consumer to a creator economy, as more small businesses are focusing on small – batch  artisan product offerings.

Skateboarding is going global and that’s not such a bad thing as we ramp up to the Olympics. We are already seeing the global counter culture of skateboarding being adopted by influencer nations such as Japan, similar to the rise of global snowboarding popularity, pre Olympic era. Discussions at The Skate Summit also centered around how the sport could potentially gain international participation.

Whatever happens post Tokyo 2020 Olympics, there will still be a landscape that caters to the core or casual skateboarder with completely different approaches, leaving a ton of space for brands old or new to innovate and shake things up …

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