The Oberalp Summit on October 18 in Zurich focused on "The Gen Z Mountains - How the next generation is changing the outdoor industry". The stage belonged exclusively to the generation of 18 to 25-year-olds (Gen-Z), which presented their ideas as consumers, employees, and directional leaders for the future. "We didn't want to talk about Gen-Z, we wanted to listen to them," said Christoph Engl, CEO of Oberalp and part of the Baby Boomer Generation, explaining the chosen focus. At the Oberalp Summit, which takes place twice a year, the mountain sports company regularly presents topics that affect and concern the mountain sports industry, the trade audience, and the press. In addition, the new collections of the six Oberalp mountain sports brands are presented, which go on sale in the following year.
The term Gen Z is currently on everyone's lips. Representatives of Gen Z now have a permanent place in every talk show and news block: climate, gender, environment, digitalization, and much more - every topic moves them, and they want to have their say because it's their future. This, of course, also affects mountain sports. "We see the shift in work-life balance towards life as a clear objective of this generation. The home-office arrangements forced by the pandemic should continue to exist to have more presence for one's own family and time for hobbies - or to be able to work from another place in the world," Oberalp CEO Christoph Engl summarizes the Gen-Z mood. "But it's not just about our employees. It's also about a new perspective on the expectations of our new customers," Engl says clearly. While the average age of Oberalp's workforce today is 36.5 years, that of the end customers is significantly higher. "If we want to understand new generations of customers, we have to engage with them much earlier than they become our clients," the company states. Many behaviors form quite differently among those under 25 than they did among generations before, especially at a very different rate. Social media such as TikTok are replacing expertise, the tangible touchpoint is competing with the virtual one, and the boundaries between online shopping from the sofa and in-store shopping are blurred. The triumph of outdoor apps is transforming trails into virtual races between like-minded people. How do you stay relevant to Generation Z in this new world of experience?