The Weekly - May 27, 2020 - 15

items including weight benches,
free weights, and fitness flooring
to further outfit their home gyms.
As I mentioned earlier, the fitness
equipment category has sustained
unprecedented growth over the
last several weeks. Overall, we are
seeing consumer sentiment shift
toward maintaining a healthier
lifestyle. This is something they
are telling us they will continue
post-pandemic. I see consumers prioritizing health at home
and being willing to invest in the
necessary equipment. To me, this
is the big takeaway for the outdoor
industry-positioning outdoor
activities and at-home training options as ways to support a
healthier lifestyle is a powerful option for both retailers and manufacturers. In fact, as an example,
sales of climbing holds grew by
over 100% in March, as the outdoor consumer likely purchased
this as an option to help improve
their fitness and maintain a level
of activity during quarantine.
With warmer weather underway, April sales grew for bike
trailers and joggers (up over 150%)
and kayaks and stand-up paddleboards (both up more than 80%).
Consumers are investing in products that get them outside and
socially distanced. This presents
a sizable opportunity for outdoor
retailers and manufacturers.
What has been the most
surprising trend?
I expected to see sales of coolers
grow during these last six weeks;
instead, sales declined by 32%
in March and continued to do
so in April (-40%). My original
thinking was that, similar to the
emergency provisioning trend
I mentioned earlier, consumers

would buy coolers out of concerns
over power outages or other
emergency-type situations. But
instead, cooler sales may have
been impacted by stay at home
orders and the fact that our refrigerator is now always within reach.
It's a segment to watch in the
upcoming months as consumers
seek more social distance friendly
activities, and as more parks,
beaches and campgrounds reopen
and people venture farther away
from their homes.
In addition to fitness at
home, you mentioned
"reinventing recess" and
"backyard adventure" as
two other key trends for the
industry to watch. Can you
talk more about these?
For many of us, home has always
been our sanctuary. But as of
March, this has elevated to an
entirely new level, as home has
also become our workplace,
school, gym, playing field, and primary location of entertainment.
Beyond the four walls of their
homes, consumers are populating
their properties with a number
of things-likely more so today
than in years past. With schools
cancelled, parents have essentially
needed to invent recess at home
and have invested in sports equipment categories to keep their kids
active and fit. One of the standout
products has been basketball
hoop systems. They have seen
exceptional growth over the last
two months, with April sales up
63%. The boom in kids' bike sales
is another prime example of this
investment, with sales up 56% for
March over last year. In addition,
grill sales rose by more than 50%
in April, and recreation tents-

the kind that campers use to car
camp, or consumers can set up
as a backyard adventure for their
kids-also grew in the last month.
Are you optimistic about
what the future holds for the
outdoor industry?
In today's unparalleled circumstances, I, like everyone else, am
unable to predict what will happen
with any degree of certainty. That
being said, I'm fairly optimistic
for the outdoor industry this year,
and for the camping category in
particular. We know that air travel
and traditional vacation options
are more limited than ever. Camping is a socially distanced type of
activity and with gas at the pumps
at historical lows, I expect families
will seriously consider camping as
a dominant summer vacation.

Here's what you need to
know-and can tell your customers-about getting
out this summer.
As the author of Moon Colorado Camping: The Complete
Guide to Tent & RV Camping,
6th ed, Joshua Berman is ready
to get out and pitch a tent this
summer-but only when ready.
Here are three important things
to know before you go.
1) Always check the latest announcement from your regional public health officials for
travel-distance limitations or
recommendations. In Colorado,
for example, the Governor's
Safer at Home guidelines have
encouraged residents to stay
within 10 miles of home and to
not travel to mountain towns, in
order to protect those more isolated, vulnerable communities.

I also think there's more
ground to cover in the online
space. The current retail environment has fast-tracked the move
to e-commerce, seeing as the
crisis has really encouraged, and
even forced, consumers to switch
to this shopping outlet. Even
a limited forced exposure may
engage more consumers in the
online shopping habit. Retailers and manufacturers are going
to have to quickly act upon this
trend to continue capturing their
fair share of sales.
Want to know even more? Join us
on Thursday, May 28 at 4 p.m.
Eastern Time, 1 p.m. Pacific when
Sorenson will join us for The
Weekly Chat, our new webinar
discussion and question and answer session. You can register here.

2) Many National Parks and
recreation areas were closed
down on a patchwork, parkby-park basis, and set for
phased reopenings on localized
schedules. Check the website
of the park you'd like to visit for
regional guidelines on campground openings.
3) Keeping social distance at
a crowded campground will
become a new art form. Ask
campgrounds if they have notouch check-in. If you can go
midweek, do it. There will be
fewer folks with whom you'll
have to share the bathroom
and sinks. Also, the more selfsufficient your campsite and rig
are, the less contact you'll need
with fellow campers. Think
about what extra gear you may
need for sanitation, hygiene,
cooking, and water supply.
-Joshua Berman


The Weekly - May 27, 2020

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