The Outdoor Industry Surviving COVID-19
By Kathlyn Swantko
The closure of schools, cancellation of sporting events and the need to avoid or limit use of gyms, parks and beaches initially resulted in a significant reduction of outdoor activities, which heightened the stress level caused by the virus. However, people have been finding ways to stay active, which is important for maintaining physical and mental health, minimize stress, and lessen feelings of anxiety and depression. Some of the sports that have been particularly strong during the pandemic are cycling and golf.
NPD Group’s educational presentations, conducted at the show provides information on specific outdoor winter market trends in outdoor sports activities for the year ending November 30, 2020.
Julia Day, executive director of business development for sports, stated, “2020 was the year for outdoor equipment with sales up +11% YOY, while apparel was down -11% YOY, and footwear decreased -19% YOY!” The top selling apparel sub-category was sweats, which shows the increased interest in more comfortable winter weather apparel. Women’s sweatshirts grew +11.5% and men’s sweatshirts grew +9.9%; men’s sweatpants grew +21.6% and women’s sweatpants grew +38.1%.
Dirk Sorenson, executive director & sports industry analyst for NPD, noted the top selling specialty outdoor sports equipment category was cycling grew by +41%. And, according to Matt Powell, Sr. industry analyst for NPD, explained that golf, the largest sports equipment category, grew by nearly +40% during the 12-months ending 11/2020.
Julia Day also shared the “Top Industry Trends” for 2020-21 outdoor sports, and the “Predictions for 2021”:
Top Industry Trends
Predictions for 2021
Dirk Sorenson highlighted the sports to watch in 2021 within the recreational equipment market. Sorenson noted, “Demographic shifts reflect the increase in family-friendly activities.”
Future Opportunities or Pods of Growth for
Outdoor Sports in 2021