Today, the Outdoor Industry Association (OIA) and Outdoor Foundation (OF), longtime authorities on outdoor participation data, jointly released findings from the 2023 Annual Outdoor Participation Trends Report. The report reveals that the outdoor recreation participation base grew 2.3% in 2022 to a record of 168.1M participants, or 55% of the U.S population over the age of 6. The report also found that the new participant base is becoming increasingly more diverse in terms of ethnicity, race, age and sexual and gender identity.
“For any business that wants to succeed in today’s competitive marketplace, understanding the evolving consumer base and how they choose to spend their time outdoors is essential knowledge,” said Kent Ebersole, President of OIA. “Industry growth is dependent on attracting and retaining the “core” and increasingly diverse “casual” participant through innovation, valued sustainability practices and pursuing policies for increasing equitable access to the outdoors for everyone.”
Key findings in the report include:
- The participation rate for Hispanic people increased from 34% in 2015 to 56% in 2022, the highest participant growth rate for any single group.
- The participation rate for Black people increased more than 5% in 2022 to 40.7%, the only group with increased average outings and the highest number of outings on average compared to any other ethnic or racial group.
- LGBTQIA+ participants make up 11% of the participants base and are the most active of any adult cohort.
- A significantly higher percentage of seniors are participating in outdoor recreation. At 35% of the base, seniors now represent 1 in every 5 outdoor participants.
- Gateway activities, where new participants begin their outdoor recreation journey, continue to drive new entrant outings and frequency of participation.
- 80% of outdoor activity categories experienced growth, including camping, fishing, sport climbing, skateboarding, and hiking.
- Record growth in the participant base does not translate to participation rates, which are down for the first time since the pandemic, especially amongst “core” and “youth” segments.
“The findings of this year’s report underpin the critical need for initiatives like Thrive Outside that seek to address outdoor equity barriers,” said Stephanie Maez, Outdoor Foundation Executive Director. “While the growth in ethnic and racial diversity in the participant base is encouraging, we must strive to do better. Outdoor participation should reflect the diversity of the U.S. population overall and currently it does not.”
For over 15 years, the report has served as the most trusted and comprehensive source of insights and narratives around who’s doing what, when, and how outdoors. The Outdoor Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Outdoor Industry Association, funds the research and publishes the findings in partnership with OIA every year.
The 2023 report reflects data gathered during the 2022 calendar year and garnered a total of 18,000 online interviews consisting of people ages six and older. While the executive summary of the report is available to the public, the full report is available exclusively to OIA members and OF partners.
About Outdoor Foundation
The Outdoor Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Outdoor Industry Association, is a national 501(C)(3) nonprofit organization dedicated to getting people outside for their health, the health of communities, and the health of the outdoor industry. Through community investment and groundbreaking research, the Outdoor Foundation works with many partners to get more people outside more often. Visit outdoorfoundation.org for more information.
About the Outdoor Industry Association
Based in Boulder, Colo., with offices in Washington, D.C., Outdoor Industry Association (OIA) is a catalyst for meaningful change. A member-based collective, OIA is a passionate group of business leaders, climate experts, policy makers and outdoor enthusiasts committed to sustainable economic growth and climate positivity while protecting – and growing access to – the benefits of the outdoors for everyone. For more than 30 years, OIA has catalyzed a thriving outdoor industry by supporting the success of every member company across four critically aligned areas: market research, sustainability, government affairs, and inclusive participation. OIA delivers success for its members through education, events, and business services in the form of solutions and strategies, consultation, collaboration, and opportunities for collective action. For more information, visit outdoorindustry.org