Online Demand for Camping and Outdoor Gear Remains Well Above Pre-Pandemic Levels

The Memorial Day long weekend, observed the last Monday of May, makes it a perfect time to kick off the annual “outdoors” season with a backyard cookout, attend a memorial parade or war memorial, or to hit the road for the first big camping trip of the year.

Since we’re data fanatics and love uncovering new ecommerce trends, we thought the lead up to Memorial Day would be a perfect time to take a closer look at online demand for outdoor and camping equipment changed throughout the pandemic. Specifically, we wanted to find out:

  • When do people shop online for outdoor and camping gear?
  • After spending spring in lockdown, did more Americans turn to the great outdoors in the first year of the pandemic?
  • Which camping supplies saw a surge in demand in 2021, and which didn’t?
  • What are the trends heading into summer 2022?

To find the answers to these questions, our data science team analyzed market demand for outdoor and camping gear on Amazon over the past three years. A few of our key findings:

  • Demand for outdoor and camping supplies is highest during spring and early summer
  • COVID-19 had a huge impact on demand for outdoor and camping gear, but that demand has shifted as the pandemic has lingered
  • “Emergency supply” gear saw extreme surges in demand in Spring 2020
    • Freeze-dried food demand increased by 303% year over year in March and April 2020 vs 2019
  • Demand for traditional camping gear hit all-time highs in 2021
  • 2022 has seen demand stay well above pre-pandemic levels but dip behind 2021’s highs, except for certain types of backpacking gear

Let’s dig into the data.

2021 Camping and Outdoor Equipment Demand

Before diving deeper into the data to understand COVID-19’s impact, let’s take a quick look at 2021 to see when market demand was at its highest and lowest throughout the year.

Weekly demand for outdoor and camping supplies looks just about how you’d expect. It climbs steadily throughout the first half of the year, peaking just after Memorial Day through the week of June 13. Then it steadily drops before receiving a mild end of the year boost driven by the holiday shopping season.

But there’s no question that the past couple of years have seen Americans change the way they vacation and recreate thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic, so let’s compare demand over the past few years:

In 2020 we see a clear impact during the early months of lockdown. Demand dipped in April 2020, as Americans were sheltering in place. It recovered quickly, though, surging ahead of 2019’s levels in May and staying there for the rest of the year.

2021 saw demand reach all-time highs, suggesting that even in year 2 of the pandemic, with more travel options at their disposal, many Americans clearly opted for open spaces and more rugged adventures for their summer vacations.

Demand has remained high in 2022, matching 2021’s levels in the first few months of the year– a trend to keep an eye on as we enter the summer surge.

To even better understand how COVID-19 impacted demand for camping and outdoor equipment, let’s dive deeper into the data by examining demand for specific types of camping gear.

Demand for Top Camping and Outdoor Gear

The charts above were a combined view of over 80 different types of camping and outdoor equipment. Here’s a breakdown of total demand for the top 30 specific types of equipment in 2021:

This gives us a good idea as to which types of categories see a lot of demand, and quickly shed even more light on how COVID-19 has impacted the outdoor industry.

Let’s start this time with the first year of the pandemic by comparing total demand for each category in 2020 to total demand in 2019. Here’s what we found, starting with the top 20 categories by largest increase in demand and the bottom 20 by largest decreases in demand:

It’s pretty clear that there was a certain “survivalist” element driving a significant portion of the demand for outdoor and camping gear during the first year of the pandemic.

Freeze-dried food saw demand more than double than in 2019. Camping showers saw the next largest increase, while teen and young adult camping & outdoor activities saw the third largest increase suggesting a lot of families were looking for new ways to vacation.

Other emergency essentials like fire starters, chemical water treaters, and purifiers, also saw healthy year-over-year increases.

The categories that saw a drop in demand included more standard camping fare like water flasks, pillows, sleeping bags, and maps.

For an even clearer indication of this trend, let’s examine March and April of 2020 specifically. As you recall in the previous section, combined demand dipped compared to 2019. Here are the top categories where that wasn’t the case:

Year over year, there is an even more pronounced surge in demand for “emergency” outdoor equipment. Demand for freeze-dried food was up an astonishing 303% in March and April 2020 compared to the same months in 2019.

Outdoor activities for teenagers and young adults saw demand surge by over 220%, but the rest of the top performing categories primarily consisted of water treatment, storage supplies, and other emergency supplies.

Traditional camping supplies, meanwhile, saw demand drop significantly during those first couple of months:

Pandemic Year 2: Traditional Camping Gear Demand Bounced Back Big

We’ve already seen clear evidence that outdoor and camping gear was more popular than ever last year, but let’s see which categories benefited the most.

People were far more interested in being adventurous during the colder months in 2021 than in 2020, as hand warmers and foot warmers saw the biggest year-over-year increases.

From there we see that while 2020 was the year of “emergency” camping supplies, 2021 saw a lot more people simply wanting to get out and spend their vacations simply camping. Demand for cooler accessories, fuel bottles, pads, chairs, and all the classic camping gear saw the biggest year-over-year boosts.

The largest drop in demand was teen and young adult activities, which, in 2020, had received a particularly large early-pandemic boost.

Other emergency items like freeze-dried food, fire starters, and purifiers, also all saw demand drop.

However, when we take a long term view at some of those terms, we can see that 2021 wasn’t necessarily a “down” year for those items, 2020 was just that big.

Freeze-dried food had greater demand for most months in 2021, it’s just that the early months of the pandemic brought demand to extreme heights.

Interestingly, 2022 has seen demand for freeze-dried food outpacing 2021 so far. Let’s take a closer look at some of the most popular outdoor and camping categories to see if we can forecast what kind of camping year 2022 is shaping up to be.

As Americans started hitting the road again after a socially distant year, tents and shelters had a huge summer in 2020 and an even bigger spring and summer in 2021. 2022 has seen demand trail slightly behind 2021’s highs, but it’s still well ahead of 2019’s pre-pandemic levels.

It’s a similar story when we examine demand for camping furniture. Spring 2021 was absolutely huge, and spring 2022 suggests demand is still quite high.

2022 Outdoor and Camping Gear Demand

So, which types of outdoor and camping gear are doing particularly well so far in 2022? Here are the categories that have seen demand go up in spring of 2022 compared to 2021:

Foot warmers saw demand leap by 81% in March and April of 2022 compared to the same months last year. Water treatment and storage have also all started this year quite strong, as have sleeping bag stuff sacks, bivy sacks, and camping soap and shampoo.

Camping and outdoor gear is popular year round, but our data shows that COVID-19 has had a much larger impact on some types of gear. There is early evidence that while 2021 was the year of traditional camping, 2022 might be a particularly big year for long backpacking trips and more adventurous outings.

It’s definitely something we’ll keep an eye on this Memorial Day weekend and throughout the summer.

A Takeaway for Brands

Understanding the factors that influence consumer behavior can help brands better understand how to forecast demand for their products on online marketplaces, and even inform product design, bundle offerings, and marketing strategy.

To stay up to date on consumer behavior and ecommerce news, info, and trend analyses, be sure to subscribe to Pattern Insights.

And, if you’d like to learn more about how you can best leverage our data to help your brand win online, holiday or not, we’d love to get in touch.

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Aug 10, 2022

Pattern Increases American Pet Brand Tmall Sales by 500%

American Pet Brand, one of the largest manufacturers of electronic pet training products in the U.S., had entered into the China market and, after a few years, established an impressive level of brand awareness in the country.  Content with their level of success in China, the brand was cruising on Tmall without much support. 

However, without investing in their brand growth and maintaining a competitive edge with advertising on Tmall, sales slowed down and their social media engagement with customers became idle. The brand was left trying to figure out how to regain its momentum.

After a year of flailing, American Pet Brand realized they could not do it alone and partnered with Pattern to redirect its trajectory on Tmall. Pattern, an ecommerce accelerator, provided the global expertise and resources the brand needed to regain control and succeed on Tmall.

Pattern Developed and Executed a Brand Creative Strategy 

Building from a strong brand foundation in one of the world’s largest ecommerce markets, Pattern’s experts:  

1. Focused on Brand Image across Advertising and Marketing

Pattern’s China experts worked with the brand to reactivate the existing customer base and attract new customers through a series of marketing activities. Using proprietary technology and data-driven insights, Pattern developed and launched advertising campaigns to drive both traffic and conversion to its listings. 

Additionally, the brand launched influencer marketing campaigns that heavily revolved around Key Opinion Leader (KOL) and Key Opinion Consumer (KOC) campaigns. With the extra validation from key voices in the market, increased the reach of and American Pet Brand profile.  

2. Updated Product Listings to Optimize Tmall Presence for All Products

Pattern experts helped the brand optimize the Tmall store set up, design, and customer service support. The increase of customer support is essential to gain a competitive edge on Tmall.  Primarily because positive customer experiences improve a brand’s Detailed Seller Rank (DSR), and is crucial if you want to ensure that one-time purchasers of your brand are converted into repeat purchasers.  Together, these improvements provided for a global increase in customer experience satisfaction.

3. Re-established Seller Control with a New Reseller Cooperation Arrangement, including Marketing Terms

Pattern’s team worked with the brand to set and execute a new reseller cooperation arrangement that invited resellers to purchase through the official channel with better control of pricing, discount, content, and marketing messages.

Creative Refresh Leads to 500% Sales Growth on Tmall

Together with Pattern’s China experts, American Pet Brand was able to achieve incredible results:

  • 500% sales growth in only 3 months

  • Successfully reactivated the customer base and existing resellers with effective, consistent, and focused marketing campaigns

  • Increased brand awareness from social marketing activities, which also increased engagement 

Pattern Drives Revenue on Tmall and Beyond

Working together with the American Pet Brand team, Pattern revived the brand and redirected its sales trajectory on Tmall. The quick sales success showcases that by focusing an ecommerce strategy on key brand and advertising components that drive traffic and conversion, a brand will grow its profitability on global marketplaces.

Looking to succeed on Tmall and beyond?  Contact Us.

Aug 9, 2022

The Ecommerce Equation: 4 Levers CEOs Use to Drive Marketplace Revenue

Developing your ecommerce strategy for digital marketplaces like Amazon, Walmart, Tmall, and Alibaba gets complicated fast—there’s a lot to think about, including marketplace SEO, product photography, advertising tactics, disjointed sellers, distribution logistics, managing ratings and reviews, and more. It can be overwhelming for brands, especially those with small teams, to know which behaviors to optimize for for the highest gains in profitability.

The good news? Revenue performance all comes down to data. Pattern was built on a data science approach to ecommerce success. We find the patterns that drive profitability, then apply them to boost our brand partners’ revenue on ecommerce channels.

And a key pattern we follow for all brands on digital marketplaces is the ecommerce equation: revenue = traffic x conversions x price x availability. As brands zero in on these four pieces of the equation, they can simplify and focus their efforts to reach truly profitable ecommerce growth. 

1. Drive Traffic to Products

The first part of the equation is traffic—you need to get people to see your listings if you want to generate sales. There are two ways to drive traffic to your products: through organic search and paid search. Striking the right balance between both for your brands is crucial to driving enough of the right traffic to your products, ultimately increasing your ecommerce revenue.

Knowing this, Pattern provides the resources and technology needed to drive traffic to your product listings. Our brand management team, advertising specialists, and SEO technicians work in harmony to create a unified strategy to boost your brand’s organic profile and balance that with a paid advertising approach that works for your brand and listings.

Using this method, we took Feetures socks from ranking on longer-tail terms like “no show athletic socks black” to driving traffic on parent keywords like “no show socks.”

2. Create Content that Converts

Getting customers to your product listing is only half the battle. Once on your listing, you need customers to convert. Conversion is key to the ecommerce equation because it leads to real product purchases and revenue. Traffic without conversion leads to more time and ad spend without the ROI.

Optimizing your images, product description, bulleted details, customer reviews, and buy box performance is key to successful conversion. If you’re going to spend time and effort driving traffic, you should make sure customers can easily and clearly find what they’re looking for when they arrive at your listing.

While your imagery and descriptions are important, you also need to build customer trust to drive conversions. Studies show that your customer service efforts matter too—84% of people trust online reviews as much as friends, making strong reviews an important factor of conversion on marketplaces.

The good news is as you provide a quality product and a great marketplace experience, you’ll build brand equity, increasing your customer loyalty. Then, as your reputation, reviews, and traffic grow positively, marketplace algorithms will recognize your popularity and improve your rank accordingly. Rank drives both traffic and conversions, helping you to optimize your performance further. As your brand equity grows, your conversions will continue to grow with it.

3. Control Your Price

While setting a strategic price is an important step in your ecommerce strategy, it takes more than that to truly control your price on marketplaces. 

Without proper control and with wide distribution, your product could end up in the hands of disjointed sellers who lower your marketplace price to sell their inventory and make quick profits. With one seller lowering price online, other authorized sellers and retail partners are forced to lower their price to compete, creating price erosion and sending your brand down the profitability death spiral.

This Death Spiral damages brand equity, hurts conversions, and can lead to Buy Box Suppression on Amazon, hindering traffic as well. And as prices get lower and lower, your profit margin withers away, decreasing your overall revenue.

Using our data-driven insights and Pattern’s eControl partner Vorys, we help brands implement narrow distribution, identify and take-down unauthorized sellers, eliminate price erosion, and control their price online. Focusing on price control, Pattern helped LifeSeasons, a premium supplement company, take back 91% control of the Buy Box on Amazon.

Download the LifeSeasons 1-Page Case Study Here

4. Optimize Your Product Availability

The last piece of the ecommerce equation is availability. It makes sense to think of availability as a contributing factor in conversion, but we felt that it’s important enough to call out on its own—you can fully optimize your traffic, conversion, and price, but without availability, you can’t grow revenue for your brand.

A lack of availability leads to stock outs, losing conversions to competitors, losing possession of the buy box, poor customer reviews, a decrease in traffic…the list goes on. The best-performing brands on ecommerce digital marketplaces optimize their availability with high-end technology, optimize their cash on hand, and inventory time on hand to keep the ecommerce equation powered and optimized in their favor.

How Pattern Drives Revenue Using the Ecommerce Equation

Pattern is committed to  solving the ecommerce equation. We partner with brands to provide the expertise, resources, and technology needed to drive traffic, create content that converts, protect price, maintain availability, and ultimately accelerate ecommerce revenue and profitable growth. 

Interested in improving the results of your ecommerce equation? Schedule a call.

Aug 8, 2022

Global Insights: Spotlight on Amazon in Emerging Markets

We have analyzed Amazon in emerging markets compared to countries where it has already achieved dominance, following its reported growth of 22% between [2020](https://www.marketplacepulse.com/articles/amazon-gmv-in-2020) and [2021](https://www.marketplacepulse.com/articles/amazon-gmv-reached-600-billion-in-2021). Pattern’s [Amazon Consumer Insights Report 2022](https://info.pattern.com/amazon-consumer-insights-report-2022) has highlighted some interesting insights into the similarities and differences in the ways Amazon is used across 17 different countries. We carried out research on various macroeconomic indicators and data related to Amazon usage in each country to better understand the key factors that determine the suitability of the markets. In this blog we outline the most interesting Amazon global insights that will be of interest to brands determining where they should have a presence on the marketplace, particularly Amazon in emerging markets. Population, urbanization, and GDP per capita are all factors which have a large effect on ecommerce and marketplace strategy in a country. These factors need to be taken into consideration when understanding the potential a brand has when entering a new market. Notable takeaways from the report are highlighted below. Price of Amazon Prime The monthly cost of Amazon Prime varies greatly depending on how developed the Amazon market is in the country. We noticed that in countries with a higher GDP per capita and a more dominant Amazon presence, the price of Prime is substantially higher, for example, in the US ($14.99) and in the UK ($10.08). The monthly cost of Prime in the UK has [recently increased by $1.26](https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-62297014) due to higher operating costs, but we believe that UK consumers will accept this increase. As a comparison, less developed markets with lower GDP per capita figures, such as Poland ($2.56) and Brazil ($3.12), have significantly lower monthly Prime prices. Amazon purposely prices Prime to be very cost-effective for customers in emerging markets as a customer acquisition strategy and to help grow its market share more quickly. Desktop vs. Mobile India, Japan and Mexico were found to have higher percentages of traffic from mobile devices compared to other markets. This is in line with data which looks at the [leading countries based on retail mobile commerce sales growth](https://www.statista.com/statistics/1261743/leading-countries-mobile-commerce-sales-growth/), and shows how particular countries spend more time online using mobiles rather than desktops. App Downloads & Ranking In this year’s report, we made the decision to include data on the Amazon App (Android), as more consumers are shopping online on mobile devices. This is reflected in the average monthly downloads and category rank of the app. Mexico sees an average of 1.2 million monthly downloads of the Amazon (Android) App. This is expected, as Mexico is one of the regions that has a higher percentage of traffic from mobile devices compared to desktops. In terms of average monthly Amazon web traffic, Mexico is the 9th largest out of the 17 countries analyzed, but after the US and Brazil, is the 3rd largest in terms of monthly downloads of the Android App, highlighting the country’s preference for using the Amazon App. Visit Duration & Page Views In markets where Amazon is robust and well developed, like the USA, UK and Germany, consumers tend to spend more time on the platform and view more pages per visit, as there is more choice from a wider range of products to explore. On the other hand, in markets where Amazon is still either at its early implementation or growth phase, like the Netherlands, Poland, and Brazil, there is less on offer and a far smaller selection or products. Inevitably, we noticed consumers have a lower average visit duration and view fewer pages in these markets. We would expect to see these metrics increase as Amazon’s product selection increases in these markets. Top Selling Categories There are many similarities between the different markets in terms of the top selling categories in each country. Out of 17 countries, 12 had Home & Kitchen and 11 had Electronics in their top 3 categories. Regional differences can be seen with Sports & Outdoors only ranking as a top category in the UK, Video Games only in Japan, and Hardware only in Germany. It is important for brands to acknowledge that not all categories will sell successfully across all markets. Just because the category is popular in one or more markets, does not mean that it will work across all 17 instances that we analyzed. Our Amazon consumer insights report shows that although the online marketplace dominates online retail in the USA and several other Western European countries, the company is aiming to build that position in countries where it is newer in the market by taking into account the regional differences in consumer behavior and expectations within its proposition. [Download the full report here](https://info.pattern.com/amazon-consumer-insights-report-2022), and [contact us here](https://info.pattern.com/contact-us/) to learn how we could support your global marketplace strategy or for more information on how we partner with brands to represent them on Amazon.