LeisureTrak report says active Americans ready to shop for holiday

With 20 shopping days left until Christmas, the LeisureTrak annual holiday survey from Leisure Trends promises tinsel and glitter and not lumps of coal for outdoor, sports and fitness retailers.
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With 20 shopping days left until Christmas, the LeisureTrak annual holiday survey from Leisure Trends promises tinsel and glitter and not lumps of coal for outdoor, sports and fitness retailers. Drawing from its Most Active American Panel, the holiday survey draws from a poll of 1,000 active American adults ages 16 and older.

Active Americans will be spending more this year on sports, recreation and fitness equipment than in 2008, according the survey. In fact, the spending will be up 13 percent -- from $503 in 2008 to $568 in 2009.

“We estimate that the uber-sport buyer will spend an extra $2.7 billion this holiday season compared to last,” said Jim Spring, president of Leisure Trends, in a statement.

Showing a marked difference between average Americans and what Leisure Trends deems as Active Americans, the survey reported holiday gift spending on sports, recreation and fitness equipment will be more than twice as much among those who are active on its panel, which it calls “Most Active Americans Panel” (MAAP).

Topping the wish list is snowsports apparel, followed by electronics such as GPS devices and heart-rate monitors, with athletic/fitness apparel next up and then outdoor apparel.

Where will the active set be shopping most? The survey says 26 percent will turn to their outdoor specialty retail store chains, which mirrors 2008. Web shopping bumps up to 19 percent in 2009, from 17 percent in 2008. Independent outdoor specialty retailers will see 14 percent of the shoppers, up from 11 percent in 2008. Sporting goods stores are expected to see about 16 percent of the sales, up slightly from 15 percent a year ago.

What were the top wish list gift items? Perhaps not surprisingly, a vacation grabbed 13 percent of the responses. Ski and snowboard equipment came in close second, also at 13 percent. Bicycle gear garnered 7 percent, followed by apparel at 6 percent and home gym equipment at 4 percent. Backpacks…not so much at only 2 percent.

Looking beyond the holidays, 31 percent of Active Americans said they plan to spend more over the next 12 months on sports, recreation and fitness products and services than they did over the last 12 months. That is also higher than non-active Americans, of whom 24 percent said they plan to spend more.

Click here to read the LeisureTRAK report from Leisure Trends, which includes some tips for promotions, what motivates these consumers and more detail about the coming year.

--Michael Hodgson

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