October Outdoor Sales Continue Industry Growth Trend During Recession

While early predictors show evidence of a decline in specific outdoor channels starting in November 2008, outdoor industry sales have remained fairly robust since the nation officially entered a recession in December 2007.

While early predictors show evidence of a decline in specific outdoor channels starting in November 2008, outdoor industry sales have remained fairly robust since the nation officially entered a recession in December 2007; posting a healthy 9.6% increase overall and outpacing traditional retail markets, according to the most recent edition of The Outdoor Industry Association (OIA) Outdoor Topline Report, produced for OIA by the Leisure Trends Group.

According to The OIA Outdoor Topline Report, the relatively inexpensive and convenient outdoor vacation has remained appealing to core outdoor shoppers throughout the year and may be the industry's bright spot as consumers look to the outdoors as an escape from the pressures of daily life. Internet sales showed a robust 21.6% growth since December 2007 and core chain and specialty stores remained healthy, growing at 10.0% and 4.7% respectively.

In monthly sales, October retail sales for all core outdoor stores (chain, internet, specialty)* gained 8% in dollars compared to October 2007. All four major product categories (equipment, equipment accessories, apparel and footwear) grew in October. The largest increases came from apparel and equipment.

According to The OIA Outdoor Topline Report, all core outdoor stores were up 6% in total unit sales and 9% in dollar sales year to date. In YTD dollars, all equipment increased 10%, equipment accessories 11%, apparel 9% and footwear 4%.

Comparing dollar sales growth October 2008 to October 2007:
•Outdoor chain +9%
•Outdoor internet +33%
•Outdoor specialty -3%
•Paddlesports -5%

In specialty stores, equipment, equipment accessories and footwear each lost ground compared to last October. However, apparel, with 64% of all specialty dollar sales in October, gained 7% in dollar sales. Outerwear, water bottles and winter boots showed the largest gains in specialty stores this month.

Core chain stores grew 9% in total unit and dollar sales this October, with dollar growth coming from all four major categories (equipment, equipment accessories, apparel and footwear). As in specialty stores, apparel was by far the biggest seller in core chains. All apparel accounted for 48% of October sales in core chains, while equipment accounted for 10%, equipment accessories accounted for 26% and footwear 18%.

Outdoor internet stores grew 31% in units and 33% in dollars from last October, moving from 19% of all core outdoor retail dollars in October 2007 to 23% this month. Online retailers enjoyed across-the-board growth as all four major product categories and most sub-categories saw healthy unit and dollar growth for the period.

All paddle product sales from all three channels (specialty, chain, internet) fell 5% in dollars on even unit sales as retail prices dropped 5%. Paddle specialty stores lost 5% in overall units and 8% in dollars for the period. Overall chain paddlesport dollar sales were flat as units increased 10% but retail prices decreased 9%, caused by a shift in product mix toward smaller, less-expensive products. The internet channel saw October sales increase 44% in units and 35% in dollars. However, internet sales accounted for only 9% of all October core paddlesport retail dollar sales.

According to trendspotter and OIA Rendezvous keynote speaker Marian Salzman, the only businesses in which she would consider investing right now are soup and camping. Her reasoning is that Americans will be looking to escape the long-term economic turmoil and constant barrage of the media by returning to low-cost, simple activities that involve the entire family. If this prediction holds true, as it has in the past, businesses that support cycling, camping, hiking, fishing and paddling activities may be very well positioned for several years.


To access the OIA outdoor retail sales Topline data and to review trends by industry channel and category, OIA members can log in at http://www.outdoorindustry.org or call 303.444.3353 for assistance.

For additional brand growth and brand and model market share reports, please contact Leisure Trends Group at 303.786.7900 x107 http://www.leisuretrends.com.

*OIA Topline Report Outdoor and Paddle channels include: outdoor and paddle specialty, national outdoor chains, regional sporting goods chains and outdoor (and paddle) internet specialty merchants.


About Outdoor Industry Association
Outdoor Industry Association® (OIA) is a national trade association whose mission is to ensure the growth and success of the outdoor industry. OIA provides trade services for over 4000 manufacturers, distributors, suppliers, sales representatives and retailers in the outdoor industry. OIA programs include representation in government/legislative affairs, market and social research, business-to-business services and youth outreach initiatives. Educational events include the annual Rendezvous™, Outdoor University®, and the Capitol Summit. Outdoor Industry Association is based in Boulder, Colorado, and is the title sponsor of the Outdoor Retailer tradeshows. For more information go to http://www.outdoorindustry.org or call 303.444.3353.