Analysis: How COVID-19 Impacted Camping and Outdoor Equipment Sales Online

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

After the unprecedented year that was 2020, Memorial Day weekend 2021 is shaping up to be particularly meaningful. And because we love diving deep into data and uncovering new ecommerce trends, we thought this would be a perfect time to take a closer look at online sales for outdoor and camping equipment.

We especially wanted to see what impact COVID-19 had on outdoor and camping supplies. Did Americans turn to the great outdoors after spending the spring in lockdown? Which types of camping supplies saw a surge in demand and which ones didn’t? And how do trends look so far in 2021?

Our data science team analyzed market demand for outdoor and camping supplies from 2019 through March 2021 to find out the answer to these questions and more.

How much market demand was there for camping and outdoor equipment in 2020?

Before diving deep into the data to understand COVID-19’s impact on market demand for camping equipment, we wanted to start with a broad look back at 2020.

The chart above shows the monthly demand for all camping and outdoor equipment for each week of last year. As you can see, demand dipped in March and April immediately following initial lockdowns. Demand then increased steadily, peaking in May and remaining steady over the summer months before dipping in fall and winter.

This is certainly compelling early evidence that COVID-19 brought an initial dip in demand in the early months of lockdown before bringing a surge in late spring, but these might also be typical seasonal trends for outdoor gear in a given year. So let’s dive deeper by comparing 2020 to 2019:

Demand for camping and outdoor equipment was actually higher for every month of 2020 than it was in 2019, but as we expected, in a normal year, demand rises each month from January through July. In 2020, however, demand was flat in March and dipped in April.

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

Market demand surged in 2020 for outdoor and camping equipment most associated with emergency preparedness

The charts above were a combined view of over 90 different types of camping and outdoor equipment. Here’s a breakdown of total demand for the top 20 specific types of equipment by total demand in 2020:

As you can see, the types and categories in our analysis range from more specific types of equipment like “lights & lanterns” or “folding knives” to broader categories like “safety & survival equipment.” But diving deeper into these 90 categories should quickly shed even more light on how COVID-19 has impacted the outdoor industry.

We started first 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:

Unsurprisingly, 2020 saw a sharp increase in market demand for the types of outdoor equipment most associated with emergency preparedness. Freeze-dried food was up by a whopping 147% in 2020 compared to 2019.

Water storage and filtration items, meanwhile, accounted for the second, third, fourth, and sixth largest increases in demand. Items like signal whistles, emergency fire starters, shelters, and showers also point to the uncertainty and anxiety that came with last year’s pandemic. (Also notable, of course, is the 57% bump that hygiene & sanitation products received).

For an even clearer indication of this trend, let’s examine March and April 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:

Here you can see an even more pronounced surge in demand for “emergency” outdoor equipment. Demand for freeze-dried food was up an astonishing 320% in March and April 2020 compared to the same months in 2019.

Outdoor activities for teenagers and young adults saw demand surge by over 200%, but the rest of the top performing categories primarily consisted of water treatment and storage supplies and other emergency supplies.

To better illustrate just how much demand COVID generated for emergency supplies, here’s a closer look at monthly demand for freeze-dried food in 2020 vs 2019:

And now a similar view for water filtration and purification equipment categories:

“Emergency” gear clearly received a huge surge in demand, but were there any types of camping gear that actually saw demand drop in 2020? Let’s find out.

Demand for camping essentials dropped during the height of the pandemic

Let’s start by looking at the bottom 20 performers from our total 2020 demand vs total 2019 demand comparison:

Only six of the categories in our analysis saw a year-over-year decrease in demand in 2020, half of which were items specific to cold weather camping, suggesting that people were perhaps more hesitant to venture outdoors last winter.

Even those six categories saw only modest decreases in total market demand, though. Sleeping bag liners and hand/foot warmers saw the largest total decrease at only -10% year-over-year.

This suggests that it wasn’t only “emergency” supplies that received a bump, but that Americans were more likely to see the refuge of the wilderness last year as other types of travel saw more significant restrictions and risk.

Let’s examine March and April once more to see which categories were most likely to be negatively impacted during the height of lockdown:

March and April brought a surge for emergency outdoor gear, but most traditional “excursion”-type gear didn’t fare so well. Over a quarter of the 90+ categories in our analysis saw market demand drop in March and April 2020 compared to March and April 2019.

Sun shelters saw the biggest decline in demand, while essential camping items like sleeping bags, pads, tents, and pillows all also saw demand drop. It’s clear that during the height of the pandemic, people were far more focused on buying gear to survive a then-unknown future than planning a nice lakeside family camping trip.

To better illustrate the trend, here’s the monthly comparison for sleeping bags:

Demand dropped sharply in March and April, and while it did recover in May and June, it lagged behind 2019’s until fall. In December, however, demand once again fell behind 2019.

Coolers, another quintessential “let’s get out and have a good time” type of camping item really illustrates the shifting impact of COVID-19 on demand:

March and April 2020 saw demand for coolers drop instead of experiencing their typical upward trend as the weather starts to warm. But by June demand had already rebounded to above 2019 figures, where they mostly remained for the rest of the year.

Demand for traditional camping gear is on track to be especially high in 2021

Finally, let’s take a look at 2021 so far. As of the end of March, demand for camping gear this year has been trending far ahead of both 2019 and 2020.

With vaccination rising and casecounts falling, we expect to see demand to continue to trend upward as the camping season kicks into full gear and Americans start hitting the road again after a socially distant year.

This idea is strengthened when we compare monthly demand by category type in March of 2021 to March of 2019:

Demand for each of the top 20 categories in our analysis was up by more than 125% in March of this year compared to March of 2019.

Hydration and filtration products as well as canteens remained quite popular this year, but unlike last spring, it’s not just emergency gear that’s seeing huge increases in demand. Camping plates, lanterns, and sleeping bag compression sacks all saw demand increase by more than 200% as well.

In fact, only two categories in our analysis: sleeping bags (-11%) and sleeping bag expanders (-2%), saw demand drop in March of this year compared to 2021.

For an especially clear look at how demand for camping supplies is trending upward, let’s close by looking at demand for tents:

If we take the demand for tents as a substitute for demand to “go camping,” then campgrounds might be busier this Memorial Day weekend than they have been in many, many years.

A lesson for brands

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 than others.

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 and marketing strategy.

For example, we may continue to see demand for more traditional camping gear continue to surge, while demand for emergency preparedness gear may drop precipitously. To stay up to date on consumer behavior and ecommerce news, info, and trend analyses, be sure to subscribe to Pattern Insights on the right.

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, schedule a demo today.

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Sept 6, 2022

Global Ecommerce Weekly News: 6th September 2022

Get up to date with this week's ecommerce headlines from around the globe. --- Amazon News --- Amazon announces new inventory and distribution service, AWD Amazon has launched Amazon Warehousing and Distribution (AWD), providing inventory and distribution services to its sellers as a means of addressing current supply chain issues. AWD is now available for sellers using Fulfilment by Amazon (FBA), i.e. outsourcing their fulfilment to the platform. Amazon has plans to expand the service outside the platform in 2023. [Read more on Charged Retail](https://www.chargedretail.co.uk/2022/09/02/amazon-introduces-new-service-to-help-solve-supply-chain-challenges/) Amazon Web Services (AWS) launches in the UAE AWS, Amazon’s cloud-computing platform offering, has launched its second region in the Middle East and now provides its services in the UAE. The move will now allow anyone in the UAE who utilises cloud technologies to harness AWS’s advanced platforms and APIs. An estimated $11 billion USD is expected to be added to the UAE’s GDP thanks to the implementation, with an average of 6,000 external vendor jobs to be created annually. AWS is now available in 87 zones across 27 regions, with sights set on expanding further across Australia, Canada, India, Israel, New Zealand, Spain, and Switzerland. [Read more on Charged Retail](https://www.chargedretail.co.uk/2022/08/30/amazon-web-services-launches-region-in-uae/) --- Other Marketplace News --- Lazada to launch in Europe Alibaba-owned ecommerce platform Lazada is set to launch in Europe, marking a refreshed internationalisation push from the company. The move follows toughening economic conditions and performance in Southeast Asia, advancing the need to tap overseas markets. In Europe, Lazada will face tough competition from giants like Amazon and Zalando. Lazada’s exact entry strategy is to be confirmed and will be reliant on macroeconomic and market conditions, according to Lazada CEO James Dong. [Read more on DigitalCommerce360](https://www.digitalcommerce360.com/2022/09/01/alibabas-lazada-to-take-on-amazon-zalando-in-europe-push/) Chinese ecommerce giant Pinduoduo to launch cross-border platform in the United States Pinduoduo, a Chinese ecommerce giant rivalling Alibaba and JD, has announced it will be launching a new cross-border ecommerce platform. The marketplace is set to launch in the United States next month, as part of the company’s larger push into new markets. Pinduoduo found success in China thanks to its rock-bottom price offerings and harnessing of social commerce marketing, emulating strategies similar to fast-fashion giant Shein. [Read more on Yahoo Finance](https://uk.finance.yahoo.com/news/pinduoduo-launch-international-e-commerce-034129263.html) Alibaba launches its biggest B2B sales event, ‘Super September’ China ecommerce giant, Alibaba, has now launched its month-long B2B sales event ‘Super September’. The event provides 40 million buyers and 200,000 suppliers with the ability to connect on the platform, showcasing a ‘virtually unlimited’ number of products. The event hopes to foster new cross-border business relationships to tackle supply chain challenges currently faced by businesses. [Read more on Charged Retail](https://www.chargedretail.co.uk/2022/09/01/alibaba-launches-super-september-b2b-sales-event/) --- Other Ecommerce News --- Klarna’s losses quadruple in first half of 2022 BNPL provider, Klarna, has reported losses of $581 million USD for the first half of 2022. This figure is almost four times larger than a year earlier, where $129 million USD in losses were reported. The company attributes the losses to employee costs, technology investments, and rising credit losses. Klarna’s figure reporting comes amidst worsening economic conditions, fresh legal and regulatory scrutiny, and pressure from Big Tech competitors. [Read more on The Financial Times](https://www.ft.com/content/483451db-9221-4ca4-83a6-b4ddc6bfcfbb) [Read more on the Guardian](https://www.theguardian.com/business/2022/aug/31/klarna-losses-more-than-triple-as-consumer-spending-slows) One fifth of Snap employees to be laid off amidst poor financial performance Social media platform Snap (‘Snapchat’) has announced it will be laying off 20% of its employees and closing out a number of projects following a year of poor financial results.The move will see 1,200 employees globally lose their jobs, saving the company an estimated $500 million USD in costs. Snap is currently valued at $20 billion, an 84% decrease from its valuation of $130 billion last year. [Read more on Charged Retail](https://www.chargedretail.co.uk/2022/09/01/snap-to-lay-off-20-of-its-workforce-and-wind-down-a-number-of-projects/)
Aug 30, 2022

Global Ecommerce Weekly News: 30th August 2022

Get up to date with this week's ecommerce headlines from around the globe. --- Amazon News --- Amazon set to shut down Amazon Care Amazon is closing its telehealth service, Amazon Care, which launched in 2019 as a trial program for its headquartered employees. Later the service was rolled out nationwide for employees and other companies. The ecommerce giant has now made the decision to move away from the healthcare space, believing it was not the right long-term solution for its enterprise customers. [Read more on CNBC](https://www.cnbc.com/2022/08/24/amazon-is-shutting-down-amazon-care-telehealth-service.html) Peloton closes new deal to sell on Amazon Following a recent deal, Amazon customers will soon be able to buy Peloton fitness equipment on the marketplace, marking Peleton’s first move outside a direct-to-consumer model. According to Peloton’s CCO, there are already around half a million searches on Amazon for Peloton products every month, despite having no presence on the marketplace. Some key products include the original Peloton Bike, retailing for $1,445 and Peloton Guide for $295. [Read more on Charged Retail](https://www.chargedretail.co.uk/2022/08/24/peloton-strikes-deal-to-sell-fitness-equipment-on-amazon/) --- Other Marketplace News --- 60% of Malaysians are buying from local sellers on Shopee A recent survey of nearly 3,500 respondents found that nearly half of the shoppers prefer to purchase from local sellers due to shorter delivery times. Other shoppers decide to shop locally due to the quality of the products made in Malaysia and an interest in keeping the economy running. As a result, smaller local merchants have been able to grow their businesses, and shoppers benefit from shorter delivery times, products of high quality and supporting local businesses. [Read more on The Malaysian Reserve](https://themalaysianreserve.com/2022/08/25/around-60-malaysians-are-buying-from-local-sellers-on-shopee/) Flipkart’s social commerce platform Shopsy crosses 100 million users Flipkart launched a social commerce arm, Shopsy, in July of last year, which has now surpassed 100 million users, ahead of its target timeline being the end of 2022. This acquisition of new users has made Shopsy one of the largest platforms of its kind in the country, and is expected to onboard a further 100 million by the end of 2023. The platform is centred around boosting local entrepreneurship and powering ecommerce for consumers across tier 2+ regions where users face challenges around trust and navigation when shopping online. [Read more on Business Standard](https://www.business-standard.com/article/companies/flipkart-s-social-commerce-platform-shopsy-hits-100-million-users-1220828006851.html) Meta joins Amazon and Walmart in bid for Indian ecommerce market Amazon mentioned earlier in the year that it would be building a logistics division in-house through its purchase of a 51% stake in Ecom Express, an end-to-end logistics firm, to make ecommerce deliveries more efficient in the country. Walmart operates Flipkart in India and is set to continue its investment in the marketplace. In an effort to compete in the Indian ecommerce market, Meta has partnered with Indian ecommerce company, JioMart, to offer customers a grocery shopping platform within its WhatsApp chat feature. [Read more on Pymnts](https://www.pymnts.com/news/retail/2022/meta-joins-amazon-walmart-indian-ecommerce-market/) --- Other Ecommerce News --- Ecommerce in Spain worth €57.7 billion in 2021 Spanish ecommerce saw 11.7% growth compared to last year, largely attributed to cross-border sales. In the final quarter of 2021, ecommerce sales in Spain were at €16.9 billion euros, at least 60% of which came from cross-border sales. Transactions from foreign locations to Spain generated a turnover of €1.56 billion in Q4, a growth of 27.7% compared to Q4 a year before. [Read more on Ecommerce News](https://ecommercenews.eu/ecommerce-in-spain-was-worth-e57-7-billion-in-2021/)
Aug 23, 2022

Global Ecommerce Weekly News: 23rd August 2022

Get up to date with this week's ecommerce headlines from around the globe. --- Amazon News --- Amazon to add mental health support to primary-care service Amazon is set to move into mental health therapy with its primary-care division, following its recent acquisition deal of One Medical. The plan is to partner with virtual behavioural therapy service, Ginger, to offer its Amazon Care users with on-demand access to mental health services, licensed therapists and psychiatrists. [Read more on Charged Retail](https://www.chargedretail.co.uk/2022/08/11/amazon-plans-to-add-mental-health-support-to-primary-care-service/) GMB union calls for £15 an hour minimum pay at UK Amazon warehouses Amazon recently offered its warehouse workers a 3% pay rise, which in comparison to the June inflation rate of 9.4% left employees disappointed. Following this, hundreds of Amazon warehouse workers stopped work last week, protesting against the minimal pay increase, seeking a minimum of £15 an hour. Recent protests consisting of employee walkouts and sit-ins aim to get a better offer out of Amazon. [Read more on The Guardian](https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2022/aug/09/gmb-calls-for-15-an-hour-minimum-pay-at-amazon-warehouses-in-uk) Amazon third-party sellers have received their first-ever holiday fee hike Amazon’s third-party marketplaces account for close to half of the company’s online sales. The company introduced a 5% fuel and inflation charge to its third-party sellers earlier this year, and has now implemented another inflation increase charge. Commencing 14 October, any seller who uses Amazon’s fulfilment service is subject to the price hike, which is set to be an additional 35 cents per item for products sold in the US and Canada. [Read more on Charged Retail](https://www.chargedretail.co.uk/2022/08/17/amazon-third-party-sellers-have-received-their-first-ever-holiday-fee-hike/) Amazon puts a pause on UK grocery shop roll-out as the cost of living increases Amazon has slowed down on its UK roll-out of till-free Amazon Fresh grocery stores following disappointing sales and the rise in cost of living. Allegedly, the company is no longer looking for potential sites to expand and if more stores are opened, they will likely no longer use a till-free system, as consumers become more cautious about spending. [Read more on The Telegraph](https://www.telegraph.co.uk/business/2022/08/21/amazon-pauses-uk-grocery-shop-roll-out-following-disappointing/) --- Other Marketplace News --- Shopee overtakes Alibaba across international markets Shopee has surpassed Alibaba and taken the top spot for sales outside of China. Singapore-based marketplace saw a year-on-year increase of 51.4% at the end of Q2 of this year, while Alibaba saw a 3% drop during the same time period. This can be seen as a promising development for start-ups and their ability to compete with some of the largest ecommerce giants in the market. [Read more on Exchange Wire](https://www.exchangewire.com/blog/2022/08/18/shopee-surpasses-alibaba-in-international-sales-amazon-searches-for-entertainment-exec/) H&M reopens its official store to Alibaba’s Tmall ecommerce platform It has been nearly 18 months since Alibaba removed H&M from its Tmall platform, following H&M’s criticism of human rights abuses in Xinjiang. It is estimated that over a million people, predominantly minorities in the area, have been unlawfully detained in camps across the city. Brands including Nike, Adidas, Burberry and Converse were swept up in the controversy, however H&M was one of the first to be targeted for speaking out about the issue. [Read more on Charged Retail](https://www.chargedretail.co.uk/2022/08/16/hm-returns-to-alibabas-tmall-platform-16-months-after-xinjiang-controversy/) Klarna launches new feature allowing UK consumers to view full online order history Buy-now-pay-later company, Klarna, has launched a new feature on its shopping app, which allows UK consumers to view their full online order history, regardless of whether they purchased the product using Klarna. The feature also shows delivery tracking and aids consumers in managing their online purchases more conveniently. [Read more on The Industry](https://www.theindustry.fashion/klarna-launches-new-feature-allowing-uk-consumers-to-view-full-online-order-history/) --- Other Ecommerce News --- Online marketplaces responsible for £280 billion business turnover in the UK Nearly 900,000 UK businesses are currently selling on online marketplaces, generating an estimated £282 billion worth of sales each year. This figure represents 6% of the UK’s annual business turnover, highlighting the notable contribution that marketplaces make to the UK economy, along with the potential for further growth in this area. [Read more on Charged Retail](https://www.chargedretail.co.uk/2022/08/09/online-marketplaces-responsible-for-280-billion-business-turnover-in-uk/)