Brand and products
Björn Borg is a sports fashion brand offering a number of different products, including sports apparel (both functional athletic wear and cotton-based sporty clothing), underwear (both fashion and functional athletic underwear), swimwear, socks and loungewear. The largest product area in terms of sales is still underwear, and in this category the share of functional sports underwear is steadily growing. Björn Borg’s products are distinguished by the brand’s sporty identity – products that make customers feel active and attractive, values that Björn Borg wants all its collections to express. This positioning is explained in the trend and design information presented each season internally to the design department and externally to licensees. The design expression was further strengthened in 2015 through an updated design platform and a more cross-functional approach to the brand’s overarching direction in every channel, from product to store.
Important events in 2015
In 2015 Björn Borg moved the design and product development of sports apparel to the head office in Stockholm from the Dutch subsidiary, Björn Borg Sport B.V., which had previously managed the business. By having sport apparel closer to the core business, the new strategy can be maximized to build Björn Borg as a sports fashion brand with sports apparel as a strategic product area. In 2015 a new sports apparel organization was created in Stockholm consisting of individuals with the right skills and experience to deliver on the new strategy, including a new head of design for sports apparel who joined the company in the fall. The first collection designed and developed entirely by the new team in Stockholm will come out in fall 2016. In 2015 Björn Borg was named “Sportswear Brand of the Year” by Café, a monthly Swedish men’s magazine, an acknowledgment that the company has taken important steps to establish itself as a leading sports fashion brand.
Björn Borg also continued to develop products in the underwear segment, including by building on the successful Iconic concept. A number of new products introduced as part of the concept have been a commercial success and attracted wide attention in social media, especially the women’s products. During the year the company did a assortment revamp in the underwear segment to create a more uniform and effective product range. This has been positively received by distributors and customers and will reach the market in 2016. The multipack trend is continuing, and during the year the company added more packs, which account for a growing share of the total range. It is vital that Björn Borg as a brand is responsive to market changes and can satisfy consumer demand. Socks, swimwear and loungewear continue to be important complements to underwear and contribute positively to the overall brand. There are also important commonalities between underwear and the sports apparel segment in terms of functional socks, swimwear in more functional material and après sport products, where the company can find synergies between various segments within the framework of the new organization in Stockholm. In 2015 Björn Borg took major steps toward developing a more complete and thorough range of functional underwear, including by broadening the range of sports bras, but also in functional underwear for men with various models in functional materials. In 2016 these investments will make footprint in the store. The company believes strongly in the functional underwear category. As people choose to work out more in functional rather than cotton-based clothing, it is becoming more natural to also wear underwear in functional material. Björn Borg is a sporty brand with a strong reputation in underwear with great fit, and is well positioned to be a leader in this segment.
A number of exclusive showpieces on display during the runway show at last fall’s Stockholm Fashion Week were sold in very limited supply on the company’s e-commerce site in early 2016. The show and these items gained broad-based attention in the fashion press and social media, and are further evidence of Björn Borg’s new position in the market as a sports fashion brand.
Focus going forward
The focus going forward will be on continuing to build Björn Borg as a sports fashion brand by focusing on sports underwear and expanding the sports apparel line. The company plans to incorporate more sportiness into its collections. Björn Borg is a brand with a sports heritage, and customer surveys that the company has conducted show that consumers increasingly want to buy sports apparel from Björn Borg. The company is well-positioned, in other words, to become a stronger sports fashion brand. In 2016 several exciting new products and collaborations will be introduced to support this transition.