According to the Outdoor Industry Association, the number of Americans participating in outdoor activity has been steadily rising by 6.9 percent since the COVID pandemic in early 2020. Whether it be with a fishing pole, a camping bag, hiking boots, or all of the above. With the recent shift in our social lives due to the pandemic, those outdoor enthusiasts are buzzing with the need to get outside more than ever. But is this a growing industry and movement that will stick? Or, one that is still slowly falling off due to continuous technological advancements?
I recently spoke with Bill Voss, Founder and CEO of Everest.com, about his expertise when it comes to the growth and trends of the outdoor recreation industry.
Trends at a Glance
Amongst outdoor activities, fishing and boating have one of the widest levels of economic contribution. “Both fishing and boating offer a variety of methods to participate in the activity and have a large fanbase who will continue to indulge and grow the industry,” Voss mentioned. Despite today’s challenging economy, consumers have continued to prioritize outdoor activities and we’re seeing many new and younger campers eager to get out and into nature to experience everything that it has to offer. “Other outdoor activities, such as skiing, might see a slight pivot in the new year,” Voss continued. “Due to its lower barrier to entrance, it may move harder into rentals instead of people purchasing their own personal equipment.”
A Curated Retail Experience
According to Voss, the outdoor industry continues to see diverse user base growth in both ethnicity and across a variety of age groups with the older (55+) demographic increasing by over 14 percent. Additionally, there continues to be a rising demand for a more curated retail experience. This personalized feel is now considered essential and according to Shopify, 73 percent of shoppers prefer brands that understand their unique needs and expectations. In today's world of e-commerce, many online retailers have quickly adapted to this demand, so shoppers expect no different when it comes to the outdoor recreation industry. For example, if a person is on their website purely looking for archery equipment, they should be able to log in and see recommended products and latest additions. If that customer was to log on and see only camping items recommended to them, it would create additional work, requiring them to try and search for the latest desired product.
Outdoor companies are going to continue to provide sustainable products for a diverse set of travelers and different outdoor participants. According to Sustainable Brands, consumers almost 80 percent of shoppers take this factor into consideration when making a purchase and 66 percent are even willing to pay more for sustainable products. Outdoor brands will continue to improve the gear they sell and remove certain things from the market such as polyfluorinated chemicals. Polyfluorinated chemicals are not good for the environment as well as outdoor brands, so simply put, more companies are going to sell more PFC- Free materials. An additional prediction in this industry is outdoor brands, including Everest.com, will continue to focus on inclusivity and accessibility. Some of the e-commerce trends for the new year will be customer service, sustainability, mobile shopping, and personalization.
Increased growth in online usage
A trend we will continue to see in 2023 is consumers primarily using apps to shop due to consistent daily access to our cell phones. Today, Shopify reports almost 70 percent of online shoppers report using apps to purchase products and up to 85 percent prefer these apps over their chosen marketplaces’ mobile website.
Additionally, customers now demand more flexible payment options and added benefits as they consider how they are going to spend their own money to continue the pursuit of their hobby. Everest.com offers their customers the Caliber Membership, which grants them benefits within the website and in other avenues like discounts on gas and air travel.
Overall, the outdoor community will continue to grow and expand in 2023 and Voss says he is looking forward to seeing where it will be in a year from now. “In the aspects of outdoor participation, we continue to see new growth,” said Voss. “And in the world of e-commerce, continuing to develop with the hyper-specific experience and multiple payment options aspect ensures that marketplaces like Everest.com continue to thrive.”