When snowboarding at Wisp this weekend, I noticed many many winter sport users wearing the North Face. However, at college I notice many casual users wearing the brand for it’s style and appearance. Now, I’m thinking, “who is the North Face’s market? ”
The North Face Users
“VF Outdoor (doing business as The North Face) wants its customers to take a hike — or take a stab at climbing Mount Everest,” Adam Aderson noted in the company’s description on Hoover. The North Face originally targeted customers of a particular niche, outdoor enthusiasts. However, millennial men/women who are not outdoor action junkies are becoming more attracted to the company’s high performance product and its casual wear popularity.
The North Face Non Users
Income level is an important variable when segmenting The North Face market. Non-users include the lower socioeconomic class who are unable to afford the high quality product. Non-users also include all demographics who have low interest in the active lifestyle.
Outdoor enthusiast users appreciate The North Face product because it serves as dependable means of security for their extreme adventures. These specific users participate in a variety of outdoor activities such as camping, climbing, hiking, skiing and snowboarding. Outdoor enthusiasts are most likely to be risk takers. These characteristics are most often found in 18-24 adult males in middle/upper socioeconomic class (Mintel Action and Extreme Sports).
This particular market is projected to total 31 million in 2011, about 10% of the adult population. As brand loyal consumers, these extreme athletes are likely to live in high-income households found in larger metropolitan areas. “About 20.2% of households in the U.S. earned $100K or more in 2009” (Mintel Action and Extreme Sports).
Importance of health and exercise has become popular in the minds and attitudes of today’s consumers. Mintel discovered that 51% of adults have taken part in individual/keep fit sports in the last year (Marketing to Millennials). This trend is a great opportunity for The North Face. The booming health craze is moving consumers towards outdoor activities such as hiking, running and camping. As a result, health conscious individuals are becoming more likely to use The North Face as proper gear to satisfy their workout needs.
The North Face has recently shifted to a large casual sportswear market. This market is focused on the younger millennials who not only wear The North Face for its performance but also for its style and appearance.
These users may be in school or in an entry-level job (Marketing to Millenials). “Younger Millennials’ median household income is significantly lower ($30,604) than that of Older Millennials ($51,381)” (Marketing to Millennials). The North Face may struggle with marketing its products to consumers who are more price sensitive and spend less on discretionary spending categories.
“Boomers’ discretionary spending over the next decade will likely center on items related to health, wellness, and leisure” (Mintel Marketing to Baby Boomers). Doctors are constantly encouraging exercise as a prescription to baby boomer patients. Because The North Face has expanded its target market to health conscious individuals, baby boomers can potentially be users of its product.
When selling its products, it is important that The North Face keeps caters to its audience. It must keep its current users, outdoor enthusiasts and casual users, happy while trying to attract potential users like health conscious baby boomers.