The COVID 19 pandemic has changed consumer behavior in myriad ways, from the sudden proliferation of QR codes to curbside pickup and online product launches and beyond.
Amidst all of this, the outdoor sports and recreation business has been poised for roaring growth. As individuals stay out of the gym and explore the great outdoors, this $887 billion dollar industry is filled with potential for savvy investors and workers.
Sectors of the Outdoor Recreation Industry
This mammoth sector comprises hundreds of activities, but key sectors include:
- Camping and trail sports: this multi-billion dollar industry comprises everything you need to enjoy the great outdoors, from apparel to tents to shoes to even snacks.
- Watersports: including kayaking, rafting, surfing, stand-up paddle boards and much more.
- Hunting and fishing: from rifles to angling gear, hunters and those who fish require an immense amount of gear.
- Cycling and skateboarding: one of the most lucrative sectors of the outdoor sports sector, this area generates almost one hundred billion dollars per year.
The Outdoor Recreation Industry is Poised for Growth
An $887 billion dollar industry is a force to be reckoned with, there is no doubt. Within the industry, trail sports bring in $20 billion a year, water sports, $14 billion, and cycling and skateboarding $97 billion.
While the outdoor recreation industry was growing well into the pandemic, the growth in interest in outdoor activities has been a boon for the industry.
Big winners include:
- Cycling: this sector grew 63% in June 2020 vs the same time last year
- Paddle sports: this sector grew 56%
- Golf: saw an increase of 51%
- Camping: saw an increase of 31%
Major Players in the Outdoor Industry
The biggest players in the outdoor sports and recreation industry are household names, including:
- REI: A superstore for those who like to ski, bike, run and hike, REI is organized as a consumers’ cooperative and offers vacations and courses in addition to physical products.
- Patagonia: this famous outdoor company was founded in 1973 and is based in the Los Angeles area. The company also has a strong commitment to the environment and sustainable practices.
- Trek: is the United States’ largest manufacturer of bicycles, and is one of the few bicycle companies still producing bikes in the United States.
- Albatross: a newcomer that is poised for big growth, this company offers inflatable paddle boards and is set to capitalize on a growing sector of the outdoor recreation market.
Outdoor Recreation and the Sharing Economy
The recreation industry has successfully borrowed the model of Airbnb with startups like Outdoorsy, a camper van rental marketplace that connects van owners with people who want to rent them.
Key Skills Needed for the Outdoor Recreation Sector
- E-commerce and digital marketing: as the pandemic has shifted consumer behavior towards online purchasing, this sector needs seasoned digital pros to cultivate relationships and win new customers.
- Retail: stores like REI carefully curate the shopping experience to make the store feel more like an activity hub than a retail shop.