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What’s Selling: Outdoor Market, Running Shoes & Climbing Participation

What’s Selling: Outdoor Market, Running Shoes & Climbing Participation

By: Gear Institute Staff - May 28, 2013

Leisure Trends Group’s latest retail sales overview provides an in-depth look at what’s moving and shaking in the outdoor market so far this spring. Here are the highlights from the Outdoor and Running markets, as well as some interesting news on how the paddling and climbing markets continue to grow.

You can get more outdoor market information from the Leisure Trends website.

Outdoor Market Sees Spring Bloom

The outdoor industry grew 13 percent in March compared to the same month last year, reaching $574M, although outdoor equipment and footwear units declined 4 percent and 2 percent, respectively. Apparel dollars jumped 15 percent and equipment accessories rose a healthy 16 percent.

In the first three months of the year, equipment, apparel and equipment accessory dollars gained double-digit percentages over Q1 2012. Footwear remained flat as sandal sales dropped 10 percent in dollars and minimalist shoes dropped 48 percent in dollars at retail.

Running Market Off Step to Open the Year

According to Leisure Trends Group, above average snow coverage in the US and more seasonable winter temperatures chilled run specialty sales. Compared to a much warmer March 2012, the channel slipped 8 percent to total just under $83M. Units fell 17 percent although and average retail selling prices gained 10 percent.

Running shoes dropped 5 percent from last March to settle at $58M. And even the generally strong road running categories of stability fell 4 percent to $26M, and neutral/cushion shoes dropped 2 percent in dollars to $26M.

Paddle Sports, Climbing Participation Continue to Grow

For more than two decades, Leisure Trends Group has tracked how Americans spend their free time through the company’s exclusive LeisureTRAK, which monitors the size, brand share, and hot selling products in the outdoor industry.

According to the latest LeisureTRAK news, all of the key paddle sports activities have seen steady growth since 2009.  Participation in canoeing has grown from 7 percent to 10 percent during this time, and participation in rafting has doubled from 4 percent to 8 percent. Similarly, participation has grown across all kayaking segments at roughly the same rate.

Participation trends for climbing have seen a comparable level of growth, with artificial wall climbing increasing from 6 percent to 9 percent since 2009. Participation in natural rock climbing, bouldering, and ice climbing have all increased steadily during this time as well.

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