(This story was updated on 6/29/2023.)
The research firm offered its U.S. outdoor industry and snow data – part of a regular deep dive during OR that spans the high-level state of the sporting goods market all the way to more granular insights on top performers across retail channels and categories.
Overall, the U.S. outdoor industry’s sales by dollar and units fell 1% and 4%, respectively, for the 12 months through April to total $28 billion.
“Our current spend as Americans right now is on experiences,” said Circana Executive Director of Business Development Julia Day. “During COVID we spent a lot of time and money buying equipment. We just wanted to get out of the house. We’re now looking at different things. It doesn’t mean that we won’t come back to it, but we’re pivoting in a certain way.”
The athletic specialty and sporting goods channel generates the largest amount of those sales at $20.2 billion. That was down 2%.
The sport specialty e-commerce channel, with sales of $3 billion, fell 6%.
Meanwhile, outdoor specialty – which counts brick-and-mortar only – was the only channel to see gains during the 12 months through April period with sales of $4.7 billion, a 3% increase.
“There’s definitely a lot of crossover between outdoor lifestyle, fashion, and motorcycling,” Violet said. “It’s all mixing now and there are a lot of really cool boutiques that are seeing that.”
Day said fashion plays a key role in those converging worlds.
“Fashion is driving purchases,” she said. “It’s this merging of athletic, outdoor, and fashion. You’ll see this in everything from apparel and footwear to water bottles.”
Categories and Brands
From a category perspective, accessories and apparel were the only “supercategories” to see gains for the period.
Part of what’s driving that is the shift Day referenced in how consumers in the U.S. are spending money.
“As people pivoted and said, ‘OK, we bought the equipment. Now we want to go on vacation. We want to go to concerts,’ it drove the apparel spend and the spend on backpacks and bags,” Day said. “This is just what we’re spending time on now.”
Sales for accessories rose 4% to $1.4 billion, while apparel increased 2% to $16.2 billion.
Equipment and footwear both fell, with equipment sales seeing the largest decline of 9% to $5.3 billion.
Within backpacks, which was one of the top-selling items by dollar amount, Patagonia dominated the top 10, holding five spots. That included the No. 1 spot with its Atom 8L Sling Pack, retailing for $57.
In sweatshirts, Patagonia product also dominated the top 10, taking over eight spots on the list. That left room in the No. 4 and 5 slots for Vuori’s Men’s Ponto Performance Crew ($83 at retail) and the Women’s Halo Essential Hoodie Sweatshirt ($51 at retail).
In the hiking, trekking, and mountaineering segment, rapidly growing premium running shoe brand Hoka took the No. 5 and 6 slots in the ranking. Meanwhile Salomon’s X Ultra 4 Mid GTX held the No. 1 spot.
While Day didn’t go over the snow industry during her OR presentation, Circana’s recently released outdoor trends report offered an update.
Snow domestically saw sales flat at $10 billion for the period between August 2022 and March 2023.
Snow specialty accounts, the largest channel, had sales during that same period of $4.7 billion, which was up 3%.
Snow chain stores were the next largest channel with sales of $4 billion, up 1%, while e-commerce was off 9% to $1.3 billion.
Apparel was by far the largest “supercategory” with sales of $6.2 billion, up 1%.
Within snowboard equipment, Burton held five spots on the top 10, including No. 1. Other brands in the top 10 ranking included Ride (Nos. 3 and 9), Union Binding Company (Nos. 5 and 7), and Capita (No. 6).
Kari Hamanaka can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.