Research Outline

Outdoor Industry Analysis


To understand the current outdoor industry in order to help with content creation.

Early Findings

  • The outdoor industry is a very broad industry that encompasses several other industries, with recent trends broadening definitions and blurring industry lines.
  • Although traditional outdoor activities include bicycling, boating, hiking, and hunting, a survey of consumers found that consumers also consider non-traditional outdoor activities such as relaxing outside, walking for enjoyment, barbecuing/picnicking, and walking for a purpose as part of outdoor activities.
  • Trending themes that have dominated the outdoor space recently include athleisure, urban outdoor, lifestyle, and sustainable fashion. These themes have been taking advantage of by clothing and retail industry targeting outdoor consumers with products designed to meet their needs.
  • In September 2018, the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA) published a detailed analysis of the outdoor recreational economy. The study was the first of such study by the US government and it analyzed the recreational economy in 2016.
  • The BEA study found that the "outdoor recreation economy accounted for 2.2 percent ($412 billion) of current-dollar GDP in 2016." The outdoor economy analyzed include three broad categories: "conventional core activities (including activities such as bicycling, boating, hiking, and hunting); other core activities (including activities such as gardening and outdoor concerts); and supporting activities (including construction, travel and tourism, local trips, and government expenditures)."
  • The conventional outdoor category accounted for 32.7% of the entire outdoor economy and that is about $134.72 billion.
  • Key trends in the outdoor category include a focus on the experience, sustainability, and inclusivity and diversity. Other major trends include bridging the urban outdoor gap for consumers that weren't raised on traditional outdoor activities and that live in urban areas, increasing influence of social media outdoor "celebrities"/influencers, and a focus on heritage, story and cause by brands as performance and technology become baseline expectation.