Billabong History Case Study- Inside The Surf Brand’s Story


Fashion is a trendy subject in the world today. Many brands have emerged into the space, delivering value and satisfaction. Agreeably, it is impressive that these brands are committed to the fashion industry. However, it is more remarkable that other brands satisfy their customers not only in the fashion industry but other industries as well. Amazing right? 

Innovation has ways of expressing its creativity and finding its uniqueness in the world. For example, the American clothing company Supreme, founded in 1994, makes products relating to the fashion brand and the sports industry, specifically water sports. Apart from its clothes, it is also known for producing skateboards.

Water sports is a prominent sport that can be participated in by anyone. According to research, surfing is the third most practiced water sport globally. It is a sport that water lovers enjoy. Based on demographic studies, the number of people who surf in Australia is about 10% of its population, summing up to 2.5 million people. While in the U.S., there are about 3 million surfers. 

Like the fashion brand Supreme, Billabong is a multi-industrial brand that makes fashionable products for the water sports world. The company has trended this way for over three decades and has remained strategic in its operations.

This article aims to study Billabong history from its inception till the 21st century.

  • Billabong History: The Birth and Bloom Of The Surf Brand
  • Billabong History: The Brand’s Marketing Strategies
  • Factors That Have Influenced The Growth Of The Surface Brand

Billabong History: The Birth and Bloom Of The Surf Brand

Billabong is an Australian company that was created in 1973 by Gordon Merchant. The company started in Gold Coast, Australia. Merchant was known to design and produce homemade board shorts and sell them to nearby surf stores. His shorts had a unique technique known as the triple-stitching technique that was very durable for his customers. This technique was his sales pitch, and with time, surfers preferred his shorts to other shorts in the stores. 

Due to the increased demand for his shorts, he realized that he needed to establish the company more significantly. He knew that he would satisfy more customers with the brand being bigger. In an expansion bid, he used the company to fund events. This funding strategy created significance in Billabong history. It helped him gain publicity and prominence. As time went on, Billabong surf shorts filled Australia in the 80s.

Billabong began to export its products towards the end of the 80s. It exported its board shorts to other continents, including Africa, Asia, and Oceania. In the following decade, the surf industry saw a significant level of growth, and Billabong was a significant contributor.

The Bloom of the Surf Brand

At the beginning of the 21st century, Billabong made its first trade on the Australian Securities Exchange. This trade aided the brand with funds to exponentially grow and buy other brands. Aside from buying other brands, Billabong opened retail outlets to receive supplies from wholesale stores.

In 2000, reports showed that Billabong made a profit of up to 225 million U.S. Dollars for that year alone. And in 2011, its sales hit the 1.7 billion U.S. Dollar mark. The first ten years in the 21st century was an adequate expansion time for Billabong. For instance, Billabong bought an eyewear company known as Von Zipper in 2001. In July that same year, the surf brand announced its acquisition of Element, the hard-good brand and skateboarding apparel.

More acquisitions happened over the years, like the surf shoe company Kustom in 2004 and the acquisition of Xcel, which produced wetsuit and technical water sport accessories in 2007. 

Still, in 2007, a new gender focus happened in Billabong history. The company decided to create a women line. As part of this process, it acquired the Tigerlily brand. During this period, most of its acquisitions were within the Gold Coast in Australia. However, in 2008, it expanded its investment to the U.S. and acquired Quiet Flight, a retail brand that legitimately ran retail shops for Element and Billabong in Times Square, NY City. It further developed more retail shops in Florida.

Further, in 2008, Billabong obtained “Two Seasons,” a UK-based company. Due to some factors, the brand experienced up times and downtimes. We shall discuss some of these factors in the latter parts of this article.

Billabong History: The Brand’s Marketing Strategies

Billabong is a brand that is filled with product diversity. Over the years in Billabong history, it has employed different means to stay afloat on the waters of competition and relevance. It positioned itself as a constant go-for brand and steadily promoted itself to a place of market superiority. Its target market has also been a giveaway for its success. This section explains the marketing strategies evident in Billabong’s history.

Product Strategy

From the beginning of Billabong’s journey, the brand displayed uniqueness that no other brand could beat. It satisfied its customers by producing valuable items with stable features irrespective of its users’ unfavorable conditions. 

It has successfully appealed as a globally known brand for its surfing services and funding of international events. Apart from its global prominence, it has become dignified and a recognized symbol to its target market.

The product strategy is one of the most significant aspects of Billabong’s marketing strategy and is very notable in Billabong’s history. As expected, it has maintained a high sales record because its customers were willing to exchange money for its products’ value.

Promotion Strategy

In Billabong history, records have it that the brand-sponsored events during its prime time. Since then, it has used this strategy to boost its products and image. The company has a user-friendly website for displaying its products. It also gets features on magazines, handouts, and local outlet promotions.

It uses its well-known products to make adverts and endorsements for sports events and famous sportspersons on a larger scale. Advertising and sponsorship have put Billabong on the front line of its industry globally.

Price Strategy

Billabong’s pricing strategy is based on competition. This strategy works such that Billabong places its product’s prices at a range the same as its competitors, despite their high quality. The essence is to make sure that the customers in the industry do not go for the less expensive products.

QuickSilver and Rip Curl are recognized competitors to Billabong in the industry. Quicksilver has slightly lower prices than Billabong does on females’ jeans and wetsuits.

Place Strategy

Billabong’s products are everywhere in the market; cheers to its place strategy. The surf brand has outlets in several countries. It employs wholesale marketing to ensure that retailers receive its products. The brand has been able to study the market systems of its store locations, making sure that it aligns with the market language of every place it finds itself.

It is a practice for Billabong to ensure that its products stay off discount and department stores, but they are attainable at specialty shops. To effect this, the brand has employed an exclusive distribution system such that its products are obtainable in these specialty surf stores.

Target Customers

Billabong’s products target the active population. These people are usually engaged in different lifestyles like surfing, boarding, beach touring, and fashion. Individuals in this category are within the age range of 15 and 30.

As a plan for its young customers, it created a new clothing line known as casual-line that fits the working class, especially those in offices. There are trends in Australia that promote casual outfits in workplaces and events.

It is possible to say that young people dominate the world of sports. Thus, Billabong’s high esteem and implant in its customers’ minds. As time goes on, this young generation of customers will advance well in age. Then, they will appreciate the provision Billabong has made for them with the casual clothing line.

This casual clothing line is contemporary and seems expensive. However, it is very cost-friendly and has a wide variety of casual wear. From speculation, one can say that the expected age range for the casual-line is between 24 to 40 years old. The brand hopes that these people have developed their finances and continually purchase.


Billabong’s journey has been a long one in the industry. It was able to leverage opportunities and deliver satisfaction to its users. Notably, its acquisitions have been a boost and a reason for its global expansion, making it fit for international market standards.

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Billabong History Case Study- Inside The Surf Brand’s Story Have you ever wondered what it is about Billabong history that makes it outstanding and unique? Find out as we explore the brand’s story.
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