Recent data supports these observations. As the pandemic unfolded in 2020, 160.7 million people participated in at least one outdoor activity, the industry’s association reported. That’s a jump of 7.1 million people, or roughly 2%. Hiking, biking, fishing and camping provided the gateway as the four most popular activities.
It also stands to reason that customers care less about social media than most market segments. Customers are increasingly looking for a real, authentic experience that connects them with nature. This is why you’ll see brands like Patagonia seeking social causes to connect with their customers rather than worry about their Tiktok content. “We have customers that are advocates for us, and that works for us. We’d much rather have them than have a massive following on social media,” said Justin Shipp from Site Seven.
When it comes to size and a brand's ability to scale, it is important to keep that high-touch, authentic experience for customers. Many make the mistake of growing and not scaling proportionally to serve their customers. Instead, they simply increase supply. While Rock Creek Outfitters has seen a lot of success from social media, they make sure to never compromise their personal interactions. “We do our best to be warm and welcoming. We interact with everyone on a personal level,” shared Amber Carver, the Marketing Manager with Rock Creek.
The Bottom Line
Never lose focus on why you are serving the outdoor industry. Be good stewards of the environment, create and sell good products, treat your customers well and be consistent with your social media, and digital campaigns. Customers will sense when you are disingenuous about your why.