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PRODUCT SURVEY 2023: The results are in!

By Katherine Donnelly on

 

For the third year now, we brought back our Spring product survey in 2023. It looked very similar to last year, with a good amount of crossover on the questions and topics that we asked folks about.

If you participated in 2022, or even came in late to read the results from the survey last Spring, then much of this might sound a bit redundant: similar questions, with some similar results across the board. But there are some new learnings to be found throughout these new results, and for anyone willing to take a look through the graphs, numbers, and findings below, you will be sure to learn something new.

**One semi-major difference for this year was the survey pool size. After last year, where we pushed hard to get the survey into the hands of the outdoor industry as a whole *with a nice little giveaway carrot dangling for added incentive*, this year we kept the survey a bit more under wraps in an effort to hone in on current and past TREW customers. Not to say we didn't enjoy hearing from a larger group of people in 2022, but we did end up getting a very wide variety of people entering the feedback pool - many of whom didn't ski or snowboard at all. By keeping this years survey honed in on those who are within the ski/snowboard communities, we felt we would get an even better look at what our target markets would like from their gear. The sample size of this survey is much smaller (only about 25% of the 2022 total), but the audience of participants is much more inline with who we design and manufacture our gear for. 

Here's a quick glance at who participated: 

  • 198 individuals completed the survey.
  • 88.9% currently own TREW Gear.
  • How do you enjoy sliding on snow?
    • 61.7% ski
    • 23.4% snowboard/splitboard
    • 12.6% ski + snowboard
    • 2.4% telemark ski
  • How would your ski/ride ability?
    • 0.5% are just learning/beginner
    • 2.5% are novice
    • 19.2% are intermediate
    • 45.5% are advanced
    • 32.3% are expert
  • How long have you been skiing/snowboarding?
    • 1% less than a year
    • 5.6% 1-3 years
    • 5.6% 3-5 years
    • 11.1% 5-10 years
    • 23.3% 10-20 years
    • 53.5% 20+ years
  • Where do you like to ski/ride?
    • 1% in the backcountry only
    • 9.7% in the backcountry primarily, with some time at the resort
    • 17.3% split about 50/50 between backcountry and resort
    • 29.6% at the resort only
    • 42.3% at the resort primarily, with some time in the backcountry

Now, a look at the results

Last year, I went pretty deep into all the results and findings from the survey. While I can assure you that I have spent just as much time, if not more, going through the results on my own and accruing a huge amount of valuable information from everyone's responses, I will be the first to say that my public analysis that I wrote up last year took a LOT of time....one thing that, at this current moment, I just don't have enough of.

So while the analysis of the this year's findings may not be as lengthy or insightful, I still do want to make all of the numbers and charts public for your own interpretation. And if you do want to take a look at my extremely thorough analysis from last year's survey, many of the takeaways are still as relevant today as they were back then.

If you have any specific questions, notes, or insights of your own, use the comment section below to share!

TREW SIZING + SERVICE

This section was all-new for this year, as I wanted to try to get a better idea of what recent customers thought about our sizing - both in relation to the sizing of the garments, but also (and maybe more importantly) the accuracy and effectiveness of our online sizing resources.

Being an online a brand with limited opportunities for new customers to try on our items, it was also important for me to glean some insights about what folks thought about our online return + exchange process. Additionally, I asked participants about their experiences, if any, interacting with our TREW customer support team; the replies were long-form so they don't make for a great chart or graph -- but in all, the responses were overwhelmingly positive! 

Overall, little by little, we are making great strides towards making our online shopping experience - all the way from browsing the site, asking questions, and getting fitted to managing exchanges, returns, warranties, and more - as good as it can be. It's in large part due to these surveys that we have been able to glean key information and ideas to make this gradual process happen, so thank you!

JACKETS

Nearly identical questions to what were included in our survey last year, with a few tweaks. Here's how people responded to our questions regarding their jackets and jacket preferences:

BIBS/PANTS

Delving into people's preferences on bibs and pants, and everything that comes along with this garment type. Again, similar questions to last year with some additions, tweaks, and edits based on what we heard in 2022. 

 

 

 

 ^ Note to self: next year we need to be more specific about this being a person's natural inseam length -- NOT the inseam length of their pants. It's very hard to know how many people actually know their natural inseam length and provided it here, so the above info should be considered with an asterisk, knowing that these numbers very likely skew towards a shorter average inseam length due to this confusion. 

KEY FINDINGS + TAKEAWAYS

Now, there is a huge amount of information that can be gleaned from all of the numbers shown above. But again, with time (or lack of time, rather) at the top of my mind here and knowing that many of the same findings from our 2022 survey can still be considered very relevant, I will keep this analysis to a short list of the top takeaways:

1. THE MAJORITY OF PARTICIPANTS OWN MORE THAN ONE JACKET + PAIR OF BIBS/PANTS.

From the numbers above, many participants have more than one ski/riding jacket (77.3%) and bib/pants (63.6%). This is not necessarily 'big news' in it's own right, but this number does look to be increasing as more and more people do begin to venture more into the backcountry.

Why does this matter? Well, we offer a few different jacket options these days, some of which do cater more to specific activities (ex. the Capow is more backcountry-focused while the Jefferson is a resort jacket) but in all, one of our foundational goals is to create a lineup of jackets and bibs that can do it all. We've always been of the mindset that you don't need different bibs or jackets to go from resort to backcountry. Sure, some of our items will be more suited to a particular type of mountain day - but all of our gear is a balanced mix of durable and backcountry-ready so that someone could happily have one jacket or bib to do it all. Seeing that more and more folks are relying on multiple jackets and bibs for their various types of adventures shows us that it may be time to reevaluate our overall lineup intentions and begin to design and offer more purpose-built items.

Don't worry, this doesn't mean that we'll cull out any of our current options - but rather, as we do continue to add more jackets and bibs to our product line, we may work to fill in the gaps that we don't yet hit on. The LW 3L collection, our newest experimental collection of ultra-light gear that launched earlier this month, is a good example of the kind of items you can expect to see more of in the coming years: specialized products rigorously designed and tested for more specific uses. 

2. WRIST GAITERS MAY BE WORTH OUR TIME

Despite my own negative feelings about wrist gaiters, and the general consensus on the matter from everyone else on the TREW team, we have been a bit 'head-under-the-sand' on this topic....but with more and more people asking for at least one jacket option with wrist gaiters, it has us thinking that maybe we need to bite that bullet and make some accommodations.

The last thing we want to do is jump into throwing gaiters on all of our jackets or doing a half-ass job of it; after all, a poorly designed wrist gaiter is NOT going to do anyone any favors. But for those of you on the 'love them' train, please know that we're looking into this and you may see wrist gaiters on some of our more resort-oriented jackets in coming seasons. And for anyone who hates them, know that you can always cut them off....because that's what I'll end up doing.

3. THE VAST VARIETY OF PERSONAL PREFERENCES IS A BIT OVERWHELMING

I got into this pretty hard last year, but it's hard to pass up another chance to reiterate on this point. To quote myself from last year's survey analysis:

"As a small brand, we can only do + make so much. We aim to grow, and as we do so we will continue to check in with our community to gauge what people want to see added to our product line. But there will never be a time, no matter how big we get, where we will be able to make everything that people want to see from us; every fit, every fabric option, every feature set, every length, and never will we be able to make everything in every color. As much as I wish that we could make every person stoked out of their minds on TREW (and believe me, I spend a lot of time wishing away on this), it just isn't possible to be everything for every single person."

The open-ended questions on the survey this year that related to what products folks would like to see from us in the future brought in a massive variety of ideas and thoughts from you all. I won't be going through each idea here in this article, since that would literally end up breaking our website (and who the hell would read through it all)....but I did want to address some of the most common ideas and requests that I saw within the survey results:

  • Plus-sized jackets to go with the new Plus/Extended bibs: coming next season!!!
  • Bring back pant options: coming next season, as well!
  • Make some insulated options: hurray, we will have some insulated 2L options coming out in Fall '23!
  • Mid-layers or puffies: we've got some ideas and we're working on bringing a couple of insulated layers to our lineup sometime in 2024, so keep your eyes peeled...
  • Softshell products: sorry guys, that's gonna be a hard pass from us. But we are branching more into the lightweight outerwear realm, and maybe in another 10 years we'll reconsider a softshell revolution....
  • Kids gear: thank you for all of the insights on this! We are looking at ways to make high-quality kids gear that doesn't kill your wallet, and hope to offer at least a selection of children's outerwear in the next couple of years.
  • Colors - more of them, and better colors: go take a look at my response on this in last year's survey results. It still stands. 
  • More women's touring gear: we've got some projects in the works here :) believe me when I say I am pushing very hard for this and we'll have more women's-specific gear coming out soon!

Keep in mind, these things take time!

In all, we've got A LOT of things going on right now and many balls in the air; many of the requests seen in this survey are things that we are already hard at work on. One thing I would love to point out here is that the process of designing + bringing a new product to market takes a while - and that lead time is even longer for us due to our small size and lean capacity. We're not yet at a point where we can whip up prototypes and get to testing on a new sample within a few weeks; that timeframe for us is more like half a year, if not more, depending on the product in question. The new Plus + Extended bibs we released this past year took over 18 months from the first rendering to the bibs being available on our site, which gives you just a glimpse at how long this stuff takes. 

All of us are eager to see our existing products improved upon and our new products come to fruition, but if my four years at TREW has taught me anything it's that patience is key. As an overall impatient person, this is a hard pill to swallow -- but each year I get to be a part of bringing better and better gear to our customers, a culmination of time, hard work, feedback - and yes, patience - and every year our product line keeps getting one step closer to where we want it.

Little by little, and with the consistent feedback and support from all of you!, we'll keep chuggin' away and doing our TREW thing.

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5 comments

  • EricG on

    So awesome to see you publishing the feedback. As one of the people that answered having multiple jackets/pants I find myself traveling and using my Trew kit more as I find the right layers. Can’t wait to see what insulated/puffy layers you come up with this season. We appreciate the fact you are size inclusive for both short length & plus size individuals. Keep up the good work! We love the fun colors and top quality fabrics. Two thumbs up!

  • JOHAN L PACHECO on

    THANKS for sharing, and interpreting, the results! Us gear queers love to see pie charts, especially in correct, easily differentiated colours! Love your job and KEEP your clothes a Long Time! Cheers, Johan P.

  • Zachary Sorenson on

    Congratulations on the new addition! And thank you to the whole TREW team for taking the time to listen to us.

  • BobG on

    Great survey. Thanks for doing the work and publishing. You are clearly a solid organization and I like many of your products. I would love to own one of your awesome jackets, but the hoods are problematic for me. If you polled customers about hoods in a future survey, I would be curious to see if people are happily using them regularly (over helmet) during their skiing/riding, and if just I’m just an anomaly in the hood fit area.

  • kfh on

    Thanks for publishing. I find the fit to be great but I’m pretty average size human. Beyond happy with the quality of the product and the service. Hope to see you crossover into summer apparel soon.

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