Across the board, many companies are suffering due to pandemic induced losses and restrictions. However, an unexpected victor arose – the outdoor industry.
At first, most would not have called it – this includes my business owner friends in the industry. Some expectations were there, a run on firearms for example. But kayaks, pop-up blinds, and hiking shoes? As it turns out, yes – America has woke up to an outdoor revolution.
While the idea for doing what is best for families across the nation during this crazy time includes farming, hunting, and fishing – a real exponential growth has been recorded for the outdoor industry as a whole.
American’s have more time, are hunting for new activities, looking for safe places to do it, and engage their minds in a way that hasn’t been done before, many have turned to the outside to fulfill these needs.
Shortly after the outbreak- lockdowns and closures hit, I talked to my friend who owns a kayak and fishing tackle shop. I expected to hear he was struggling, but in reality, it was quite the opposite. His shelves were empty and he explained how his suppliers were unable to keep up with demand.
He walked me into his office and showed me a wall with little white pieces of paper pinned to it. Hundreds of them. These papers? All active deposits from people waiting for kayaks to arrive. This is in a relatively small town.
He also does kayak fishing and guiding services. Since this has all started, he has had to hire 2 new guides and someone to run the shop. He went from a one-man show to a full-scale operation in a matter of months.
This story is echoed across the country. Manufacturers of hunting firearms and ammunition can’t keep up with demand. The fishing industry is thriving. Recreational areas are full. The list goes on and on.
But the question is, will American’s stick with this new lifestyle, or run back to Starbucks as soon as the dust settles?
According to the Outdoor Industry Association, most of this growth came from those living in urban areas.
This is also a way to battle “cabin fever”.
Hunting and fishing have brought the best of all of these aspects and added to it the peace of mind of freezer filling.
So, who will stick to this path?
That is up in the air, but what we can say is that many have invested thousands of dollars into these activities and perhaps this will be seen as an investment into a new personal future.
Or, outdoorsmen will find piles of deals on barely used equipment in the coming months.
It will most likely be a mixture of both.
In the meantime, the increased cash flow into these industries will probably result in the ability of companies to create new gear and technologies. This could result in offering more ways for people to get involved, and increase the overall support and presence for an industry most of us love.