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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Sept 20, 2022

Global Ecommerce Weekly News: 20th September 2022

Get up to date with this week's ecommerce headlines from around the globe. --- Amazon News --- Amazon to raise pay and add extra work benefits for delivery drivers Following the rise in fuel prices and protests by Amazon workers, the ecommerce giant is raising its delivery drivers’ pay and adding more work benefits. Amazon has mentioned that it will be investing $450 million into rate increases along with an education program and a Delivery Service Partners program. [Read more on Charged Retail](https://www.chargedretail.co.uk/2022/09/14/amazon-to-raise-delivery-drivers-pay-and-add-more-work-benefits/) Amazon announces it will give away shipping software to merchants at no cost Amazon has recently announced that it will be giving ecommerce merchants free software to manage shopper orders on and off its platform as it extends its reach. The ecommerce giant will be ending monthly costs for sellers using Veeqo, a shipping software it recently acquired and instead offer to them a new, free shipping software. [Read more on Charged Retail](https://www.chargedretail.co.uk/2022/09/16/amazon-to-give-away-shipping-software-to-merchants/) --- Other Marketplace News --- Walmart unveils new virtual fitting rooms In an effort to drive clothing sales, Walmart has launched virtual fitting rooms while competitors reduce spending amid the cost of living crisis. The virtual try-on tool can be used by Walmart customers to virtually measure the clothing items and see how the products would look on them. Shoppers will now be able to see how over 270,000 clothing items on Walmart’s ecommerce site would look on their bodies. [Read more on Charged Retail](https://www.chargedretail.co.uk/2022/09/15/walmart-launches-virtual-fitting-rooms-to-drive-clothing-sales/?utmsource=Retail+Gazette+Subscribers&utmcampaign=2da7f0f8f8-EMAILCAMPAIGN202209150742&utmmedium=email&utmterm=0d23e2768b6-2da7f0f8f8-61040615) THG slashes sales and profit expectations The Hut Group has slashed its forecasts for 2022 as rising interest rates, inflation and energy costs take a toll on consumers. Previously, THG estimated its sales growth to be between 22-25% but after a recent evaluation, has lowered this prediction to between 10-15%. Initial predictions did not take into account the negative effects of ceasing sales in Russia and Ukraine along with the impact that the cost-of-living has had on consumer spending. [Read more on Charged Retail](https://www.chargedretail.co.uk/2022/09/15/thg-slashes-forecast-as-cost-of-living-crisis-hits-consumers-wallets/) --- Other Ecommerce News --- DHL and Post Office team up to provide click and collect services Through a partnership between delivery company, DHL and Post Office, a new click and collect service is to be tested at Post Offices before rolling out to over 1000 branches across the UK. Online shoppers will now have the option of choosing their local Post Office as a collection point, and DHL will fulfil the delivery aspect, opening up networks for both parties. [Read more on Charged Retail](https://www.chargedretail.co.uk/2022/09/14/post-office-partners-with-dhl-express-to-provide-click-and-collect-services/) US consumer watchdog plans to further regulate the BNPL sector The US Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) has raised concerns regarding the collection of consumer data and the fast-growing nature of the BNPL sector, which includes companies such as Affirm and Klarna. The CFPB is worried that these companies could be negatively impacting consumers’ financial health and aims to put better regulations in place to ensure consumers are safe and empowered. [Read more on Charged Retail](https://www.chargedretail.co.uk/2022/09/16/us-consumer-watchdog-to-start-regulating-bnpl-sector/) Japanese ecommerce market estimated to grow by 6.9% in 2022 The ecommerce market in Japan, largely dominated by domestic online retailers including Reakuten and Mercari, is set to reach $194.3 billion USD in 2022, after seeing an annual compound growth rate of 5.2% between 2018 and 2021. This makes Japan the fourth leading ecommerce market globally, following China, the US, and the UK. [Read more on Charged Retail](https://www.chargedretail.co.uk/2022/09/13/japan-ecommerce-market-to-grow-by-6-9-in-2022/) Ecommerce brands are spending more on TikTok ads TikTok may soon be surpassing Facebook and Google as the most lucrative advertising channel, with ecommerce brands spending 60% more on TikTok ads in Q2. Facebook is still ahead as the top choice for ecommerce advertisers but only grew by 5.6% from Q1, while Google grew 20.5% in Q2, and Snap declined 10.8% in Q2. [Read more on SearchEngineLand](https://searchengineland.com/ecommerce-brands-spent-60-more-on-tiktok-ads-in-q2-387876)
Sept 20, 2022

4 Ecommerce Consultant Must-Haves

Entering the ecommerce landscape is a huge undertaking for any brand—it usually requires a large investment in resources and expertise to really be successful. Any brand can quickly get in over their heads trying to navigate the nuances of SEO, fulfillment and logistics, distribution control, listing optimization, and meeting the numerous other requirements and administrative tasks to show up well on marketplaces. 

Unfortunately, because it’s so easy for third party, gray market, and unauthorized sellers to obtain and sell products online, many brands find themselves pressured to execute an ecommerce plan without the right resources to succeed on marketplaces and their other channels.

So, for brands looking to enter the ecommerce space or improve their current and future performance, it makes sense to partner with an ecommerce consultant.

Pattern’s global presence and proven success with hundreds of brands has allowed us to develop highly effective ecommerce consulting services. We can guide your brand to navigate issues both large and small in marketplaces worldwide. To maximize your ecommerce efforts, you’ll need to understand what an ecommerce consultant does and how to select one who drives the right value for your brand and products. 

What is an Ecommerce Consultant?

An ecommerce consultant is a specialist in the ecommerce space who can give you personalized guidance on how to market your products and grow their presence on digital marketplaces.

An ecommerce consultant should be able to analyze your brand, audience, category, opportunity, and current roadblocks and help you understand how to utilize your resources (or what resources are missing) to be most effective in capturing your opportunities in the ecommerce space.

Not sure how to evaluate a consultant? Here are 4 key attributes to look for as you make your choice.

1. Brand Obsession/Specialization/Passion

At Pattern, we prioritize brand obsession for a reason—we know that a brand-centered mindset makes a crucial difference in the outcomes and results our partners achieve. So in our experience, when you begin your search for an ecommerce consultant, it’s important to look for a partner who is specialized in ecommerce, invested in the product, and passionate about helping brands build and improve their strategies. Typically, this means finding someone that consults exclusively for ecommerce marketplaces, rather than choosing a consultant who offers many different services. 

2. Proven Results

It’s also important to avoid choosing a consulting partner who can’t deliver the right experience for your brand. The best indication of whether your potential consultant can do that is to review their history, data, and results with other brands. Ask if they’ve helped others in your selling category, if they’ve solved specific issues your brand is facing, and why they feel you are a good fit. The key is to leave the conversation feeling confident that you understand your consultants’ capabilities and whether or not they match up with your needs.

3. Wide Range of Marketplace Expertise

It’s best to pick a consultant who knows how to guide a brand onto and through multiple marketplaces worldwide. You’ll want to take a look at your long-term strategy and think about the regions and platforms you’re currently on and where you might want to take your brand in the future. If your consultant is truly great at what they do, they’ll be able to help you perform well enough with your current product roadmap that it’ll be a no-brainer to expand your presence at the right time.

4. Network of Resources

The most effective partnership with an ecommerce consultant will be able to give you both recommendations and point you to solutions for making those changes in your planning, processes, and execution. Your time and money is valuable, so you want to make sure that you’re spending it as efficiently as possible as you follow your consultant’s advice. So, before you commit to an ecommerce consultant, ask about the resources and concrete solutions they typically recommend to the brands they work with.

Achieve Your Ecommerce Goals With Pattern

Finding an ecommerce consultant that checks the boxes can be a difficult task. At Pattern, our entire focus and drive centers around giving brands the tools and resources they need to succeed on domestic and international ecommerce marketplaces. 

With over 100 global ecommerce consultants across 10 global offices, we have the right tools to partner with brands across the world to achieve better ecommerce success. We give specialized advice, then make sure our partners have all the adequate SEO, social media, CRM, Amazon multi-channel fulfillment services, and ecommerce outsourcing services they need.

Interested in ecommerce consulting services? Set up a call here to learn what Pattern can do for your brand on global marketplaces.

Sept 15, 2022

The 3 Tmall Metrics That Every Brand Needs to Know

If you’re interested in expanding your brand internationally, you’re probably familiar with Tmall. Tmall is Asia-Pacific’s (APAC) largest marketplace, and indisputably the biggest ecommerce powerhouse in the world. It represents a huge opportunity for many brands, but entering the space is also a big challenge to take on.

At Pattern, we recommend brands looking to enter international markets should first focus on dialing in their domestic presence. Once you’re satisfied that your brand is well-represented and optimized locally, you’re ready to think about tackling new regions, like APAC, and launching on marketplaces like Tmall. Our top advice for entering Tmall is to understand and strategize around its three most important metrics: service, delivery, and content.

What is Tmall’s Detailed Seller Rating (DSR)?

Service, delivery, and content ratings are the three elements that make up Tmall’s Detailed Seller Rating (DSR) score. Each component is scored on a scale of 1-5 that is displayed publicly on your brand’s Tmall flagship store page. This is meant to help consumers decide whether or not to purchase your products.

Why DSR Determines Success on Tmall

DSR scores are important because they’re highly influential in driving conversions—customers see DSRs as a way to quickly understand if a brand is trustworthy and worth buying from. They also matter quite a bit to Tmall itself—they monitor these scores and will take action to close flagship stores with low scores.

Let’s go over each element of the DSR score and some steps you’ll need to take to achieve high ratings.

DSR Score Elements

1. Service

Service is a huge ecommerce component in APAC marketplaces. In most other regions, product listings are static, and consumers use content and reviews to make a decision about what to purchase. On Tmall, consumers want to interact with your brand and test its validity before buying—each transaction takes at least one human interaction to convert.

So, to get a great service rating, you’ll need to have a large, established customer service team dedicated to Tmall sales that can offer real, human touchpoints and very fast response times. To get an idea of the speed your agents should be capable of producing, in our Tmall benchmarking exercise, 92.5% of brands’ customer service agents replied to queries via live chat within 30 seconds, 5% replied within one minute and the remaining 2.5% of brands took longer than a minute. So, look for a Trade Partner (TP) that has enough resources to compete with those numbers, support your sales, and maintain a good DSR score.

2. Delivery

Another thing you’ll really want to focus on is a high-quality delivery experience for consumers. As in other regions around the world, Tmall consumers have high expectations for their delivery experience. In our Chinese consumer polling report that targeted consumers buying from Tmall Global, we found that 6% expected same-day delivery, 15% expected next-day delivery, and 46% expected 2-5 day delivery.They want to receive their products fast and they want the products to be undamaged and pristine upon arrival.

So, to achieve a high score for your delivery capabilities, we highly recommend partnering with a TP or ecommerce accelerator like Pattern (which serves as a TP) who has the ability to facilitate your distribution. Make sure your TP has the right infrastructure in place to support high-quality logistics experiences for all of your consumers—they should have an established, well-oiled delivery process in place and the capability to fluidly add you to their current fulfillment system.

3. Content

As in every digital marketplace, content is a huge component of the decision-making process for consumers on Tmall—they can’t touch your product with their hands or see it in person before buying, so it’s important they’re empowered to make a good decision on whether or not to purchase based on the videos, images, and copy.

The goal is to make all of the content and relevant information on your flagship site easily-accessible—consumers should be able to visit your page and make a decision about whether or not to buy without navigating to a new site/page and taking their conversions with them. Images with text and extensive product details are a great way to do this, as well as making sure your service team can speak to all aspects of your product with any consumers (via text or chat).

Expand Internationally With Pattern

As the world’s foremost brand partner for ecommerce acceleration, Pattern truly understands the significance of international expansion. With regional offices around the world, Pattern knows how to successfully launch and grow brands on Tmall and other marketplaces, with the data, insights, and marketplace intelligence to build the metrics that matter. 

It’s important to have a fantastic brand presence, a knowledgeable guide, and a clear go-forward strategy for your best chance at success. With our in-country resources, expert teams, and extensive experience in growing brands around the globe, Pattern can help you get there.

Set up a call to get your international expansion strategy in motion.