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.

Explore Our Ecommerce Resource Library

Find relevant content to accelerate your ecommerce business. Stay on top of industry trends and best practices.

Global Ecommerce: Weekly News (6th September 2022)
Blog

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/)

Global Ecommerce: Weekly News (30th August 2022)
Blog

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/)

Global Ecommerce: Weekly News (23rd August 2022)
Blog

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/)