Outdoor Retailer - April 2021 - 16
IDEAS / Resources and Research
We all know more people flocked to the outdoors over the past year.
The big question is how do you keep them coming and feeling welcome?
Outdoor Industry Association's special report, The New Outdoor
Participant (COVID and Beyond), takes a closer look at these new faces.
By Outdoor Industry Association
ON MARCH 31, OUTDOOR
Industry Association (OIA)
released exclusive insights
about Americans' engagement
in outdoor activities amid the
COVID-19 pandemic. The special report, The New Outdoor
Participant (COVID and
Beyond), examines demographics and psychographics of the
new outdoor participant-defined as someone who participated in an outdoor activity for the
first time during the pandemic or
after a significant lapse.
The report, created with research partner NAXION, reveals
that these new participants are
more likely to be female, younger, living in an urban area, and
slightly more ethnically diverse
16 OUTDOOR RETAILER
/ April 2021
than existing participants. They
primarily sought socially distanced outdoor activities in order
to spend time with loved ones
safely, to exercise, stay healthy,
or to reduce screen-time fatigue.
The report also found that new
participants are largely motivated by outdoor recreation opportunities with low barriers to entry
that are available and accessible
within 10 miles of their homes,
including walking, running, biking, and hiking.
" This one-of-a-kind report
further shows the pandemic has
brought in new participants as well
as some new behaviors, " says Lise
Aangeenbrug, Outdoor Industry
Association executive director.
New participants found the
outdoors to be a safe and accessible way to spend time
with friends and family amid
tight pandemic restrictions
that limited indoor gatherings.
Additionally, people cited that
the pandemic's impact has inspired them to reevaluate priorities, seeking positive life changes
and reducing screen time.
" Initial findings of the special
new-participant report show
strong overall increases in outdoor recreation by a slightly more
demographically and socioeconomically diverse participant
base. This highlights the need
to ensure equitable access to the
outdoors for all. We can do this by
helping to create programming,
policy, and content around close-
to-home recreation and geared
toward this broader, more-diverse audience of new outdoor
participants, " says Stephanie
Maez, Outdoor Foundation managing director.
The special report highlights
the following opportunities to increase retention of new outdoor
* Create more outdoor recreation
opportunities close to home:
Parks and open areas near
where people live are a crucial
part of growing participation.
The pandemic has shown that
there is a demand for close-tohome outdoor recreation opportunities.
* Invest in programming that engages families in the outdoors.
* Help new participants make
their activities more social as
* Develop programs and services
with the specific goal of diversifying the participant base.
* Develop strategies for encouraging people to start with
activities such as walking, running, hiking, and birdwatching, which have relatively low
barriers to entry.
* Position outdoor recreation
as an antidote to the mental
health consequences of the
pandemic, a way to get out from
behind the screens that have
dominated pandemic life, and
a method to maintain the focus
on what is important in life.
You can view The New Outdoor
Participant (COVID and Beyond)
here. The full 2020 Outdoor
Foundation Annual Participation
Report will be released this summer. If you would like to be notified when that report is released,
Courtesy Outdoor Industry Association
New participants find
outdoor recreation safe
during the pandemic.
Outdoor Retailer - April 2021
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Outdoor Retailer - April 2021
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