With retro-revival all the rage, and kids and youngsters kicking about with very little else to do this past three months, it’s no real surprise that the UK has seen a resurgence in skating. A trend started online, with platforms such as Instagram and TikTok being used to showcase skills and tricks in viral videos, the last few years have been leading up to one defining moment – #rollerbladingisback.
As with so many of today’s trends, influencers have played no small part in the revival of skating, both here in the UK, and on a global scale. Meanwhile, it’s according to Andreas Kolattek from Microskaters, the UK distributor for Micro Skate, that online searches for ‘rollerblades for kids’ have surged 120 per cent during the lockdown period, while Google searches for ‘inline skates’ have tripled.
ToyNews catches up with Kolattek to find out more about what’s driving the resurgence of roller skating among the youth of the UK, and just what Microskaters is doing to tap into that demand.
Hi Andreas, to start off – Just how popular is inline skating currently in the UK?
Over the last few years skating, and specifically inline skating, has seen a huge resurgence among children and young people. This trend started online, with youngsters showing off their skills and tricks in viral videos. Hashtags such as #rollerbladingisback and #rollerskatechallenge have been used thousands of times on Instagram and TikTok.
The popularity of skating has also been driven by influencers, both in the UK and on a global scale. Jack Tierney, for example, is a popular British inline skater with over 120,000 Instagram followers. His viral videos wearing Micro have increased product appeal exponentially; children watch his content and want to try skating themselves at home.
Nicola Torelli is another influencer who has created huge excitement ahead of the UK launch for Micro with his stylish, viral videos and signature skating style. The brand is also endorsed by some of the world’s leading urban skaters. Giorgio Cossaro, Ekaterina Grigoereva and Faustina Busto are among the award-winning professionals and world class athletes who are ambassadors.
Do you see this popularity now increasing over the coming weeks and months?
Yes, without a doubt. Online searches for ‘rollerblades for kids’ went up 120 per cent during lockdown, while Google searches for ‘inline skates’ tripled in the UK. Parents are looking for ways to entertain their children while at home and this will continue over the summer holidays. Inline skating is a great non-contact activity that allows them to keep busy and learn new skills.
A review of Micro recently published by Sally Peck, Family Editor at The Daily Telegraph, commented how the skates “have transformed our outdoor time” and how they offer “a much smoother ride than typical roller skates, and they’ve allowed my children to zoom around on empty streets for a bit of a rush, away from others.”
Despite time outside being limited for much of lockdown, we’ve seen many instances where children have brought their skates inside to practice. Faustina Busto, one of Micro Skate’s youngest global ambassadors, is just one of them. She has been showing her thousands of followers how skating skills can still be practiced in a confined indoor space.
The sport has also benefited from ice-rinks being closed. Children who might have once enjoyed ice skating have turned to inline skating so they can continue to practice their skills at home.
So can you tell us, what makes Micro Skate different from other skate brands?
Micro Skate products are Swiss engineered and the brand is synonymous with innovation and is constantly improving its products using insights from its ambassadors and urban skaters worldwide. These feed into product development and, as a result, Micro is a pioneer for designing and manufacturing quality inline skates.
Unlike most premium brands of skates, more than 60 per cent of the range is designed for the kids’ market. All kids’ skates are adjustable by up to four sizes for product longevity. It is also the only premium brand offering skates to children as young as three years old.
How are you boosting product appeal among consumers and supporting retailers following the UK launch?
In addition to working with brand ambassadors, we have partnered with UK influencers. These are not only the stars of the skating world. Our motto is that ‘skating is for everyone’, so we have joined forces with a range of influencers, from parenting bloggers and fitness Instagrammers to popular gadget geeks and kidfluencers. What’s important is that we’re promoting the sport to a wide demographic of potential customers through influencers who have visibility across several key online platforms.
Following the launch of Micro Skate in the UK earlier this year, we have also made a significant investment in marketing activity to support retailers. This includes hiring a PR agency to drive brand awareness and generate media coverage linking to retailer websites.
We have also recently started brand partnership activity. By affiliating Micro with other trusted brands, we will widen the reach of our campaigns and drive further product appeal.
Finally, from 6th July, Micro will partner with Zebra Skate Camp, the popular roller sports company, to teach more children how to skate. Lessons will be offered for those who want to get involved with the sport, while we’re also planning media and influencer events to support retailers and stockists.
Does Micro have plans to launch any new products in the next 12 months?
Micro has been established for almost 20 years and has grown a substantial global following during this time. The brand has a trusted reputation for offering high quality, beautifully engineered inline skates with intelligent safety features.
Micro is constantly innovating and we’re excited to announce that we will be launching new models in 2020, both in the Kids Range, which is designed for children of all ages and skill levels, and the Urban Range, for older, more experienced skaters.
In the Kids Range, the FUTURE Skate, is an upgrade on the MJ and will offer a benefit of being able lock the back wheels, making it easier for younger children to get used to wearing skates before rolling. This month, the SHAPER skate will upgrade to the SHAPER 2020, with a wider range of colour schemes for the discerning market.
In the Urban range, the MT3 is due to launch as an upgrade to the popular MT PLUS skate and features a triskate frame, while the MICRO BEAT will also be introduced to the range. This is based on the heritage of the Micro Skate SR with the key addition of the triskate frame. With this change Micro is focusing more on the urban skater, who skates through parks and cities and uses skating as a form of transport.
The D3LTA, launching this month, is the first urban triskate from Micro. Designed for world skating champions and urban skaters, it will feature the ‘Fire Frame’, the lowest and lightest triskate frame on the market made with super light 7000 series aluminium.
The sleek design features a carbon fiber shell and cuff that can be moulded in your home oven for the perfect support and comfort, while the microfiber liner also keeps feet dry during long training sessions. Super high rebound wheels with premium bearings provide a smooth, fast and comfortable roll.
With so many new product launches and upgrades, there’s no doubt it’s going to be a busy and successful year ahead.