Trends - Beach Bound

What's Most Popular In Beach-Based Promotions Today?

Popular Bear WearThe beach is the thing at retail this summer. H&M, Old Navy and Guess have all included new beachy apparel designs in their summer 2013 wardrobe inventory, including bathing suits, cover-ups, beach totes and hats.

Russell Hodgdon, marketing manager for Sunday Afternoons Inc. (asi/90134), describes which beach apparel trends he's been benefiting from most in the ad specialty market. "In hats, we're seeing a lot of interest in packable wide brims with chinstraps and rich colors," he says. "Beach-themed performance and fashion products have done quite well, particularly the items in bold colors. And our cabana shirts have been wildly popular due to their relaxed fit and saturated color palettes."

Hodgdon finds that the kids' market for beach apparel is steadily growing. "Sunscreens contain chemicals that some parents don't want to use on their kids," he says. "By contrast, UPF-rated apparel and headwear don't need to be reapplied every few hours. You can just put a garment on your kids before leaving for the beach and not worry about them for the whole day."

In addition, Hodgdon says that beach apparel for kids is a highly marketable option. As a result, Sunday Afternoons is developing new headwear silhouettes for kids that "are fashionable and packable and offer easy care," Hodgdon says. "We'll also expand the color offerings in existing swim shirt and swimsuit styles."

Hodgdon makes several recommendations for implementing beach-themed products, including gift shops at destination locations, company retreats and volunteers for beach-themed events. Cruise lines and eco-tourism markets in particular are great options for distributors to sell beach-themed apparel to.

"They present a residual marketing opportunity when the customer returns home and wears the cruise line's apparel with the destination's logo and website," he says. "Eco-tourism is another hot-button emerging market that can benefit from such a campaign. Companies offering trips to view and interact with marine life – whale watching, swimming with dolphins, sea turtles, coral reefs and the like – all have a reason to offer customers a branded item that comes with a lifetime warranty."