COVID-19 hit the world by storm this year and the retail landscape had to quickly adapt accordingly. When gyms were forced to close down and social distancing practices were put in place, the outdoor industry saw a huge increase in new consumers in the outdoor recreation market. This new growth in the industry provides both opportunities and challenges for retailers. We went to a few of our closest industry sources with some questions and came away with these five key learnings.
- Dealers just endured a consumer buying blitz in spring-summer in bike, paddle and outdoor retail sales success that stretched their employees and resources to the max! While some suffer from this super painful disruption, they are very energized about the “pandemic creating longer term endemic consumer behavior”, with many new consumers adopting new meaningful outdoor activities and experiences that will continue in 2021 and coming years.
- There is a huge emphasis in the significant increase in newcomers to bike, paddle, and outdoor markets. Dealers are super-focused on HOW to keep building a following and retail consumption pathway going forward into 2021.
- There are several concerns over expected inventory shortages – resulting in earlier and bigger commitments; and a potential inventory glut resulting in possible 2021 discounting. Therefore, our industry needs to plan accordingly.
- Winter sports early retail indicators are mirroring the spring/summer consumption increase in snow, including a 200% increase in Nordic Skiing, Snowshoeing, and Alpine TOuring, a 20-40% increase in Skiing and Snowboarding via lift access, and an 18% increase in Epic Pass sales. Weather forecasts indicate we are trending towards an incredible winter full of snow.
- Gear/hardgoods equipment (i.e. helmets, shoes, technical wear) are the resounding answer to what people are buying. People are getting outside and much more worried about their gear and filling their garage with the best products.
What does all of this mean? We have an incredible opportunity to capitalize on these great new insights in the outdoor, paddle and bike industries.