The outdoor equipment and sporting goods industry is booming.
The market size for outdoor equipment was $49,250 million in 2020, and is expected to increase at a fast rate. Experts predict a rate of annual growth of 5.8% from now through 2027, reaching $75,330 million by 2027.
Retail reports have already seen new spending records in 2021. This year is particularly promising for the outdoor and sporting retailers.
Why 2021 Is the Year for Outdoor Equipment and Sporting Goods
Several factors position the outdoor and sporting industry to hit new highs in 2021.
Post-COVID health focus
The COVID-19 pandemic renewed a focus on personal wellness. A survey found that 68 percent of respondents said that they prioritized their health more after the onset of the pandemic. The pandemic created urgency for many wanting to improve physical health. Many turned to exercise and outdoor activities to reduce stress.
Increased outdoor interest
Restrictions on events and activities throughout the last year also persuaded people to look for new ways to spend time. Many took up new sports and hobbies that they could participate in while social distancing.
There was a higher participation in outdoor activities such as hiking, camping, and fishing, as people looked for ways to get out of the house safely. Those who were prevented from their regular gym routine looked for ways to continue their workouts at home and outside.
After a year's delay, the much anticipated 2021 summer Olympics are finally moving forward. The buzz around the games provides a major sports marketing opportunity.
Major brands often time the release of new and branded products to be featured on Olympians and reach a larger audience. With athletics already center stage and top of the news feed, retailers use Olympics themed advertisements and marketing efforts to maximize promotion of equipment.
How to Compete Successfully in Outdoor Equipment
An increase in emphasis and growth in the industry is promising, but competition is high. With so many players in the space, it doesn’t necessarily mean your business will see that same rate of growth.
To position yourself for success, make your retail brand stand out. Distinguish yourself as an industry leader by providing customers innovation they can’t get elsewhere. Strengthen your existing offerings to create a brand association that builds a reputation.
L.L. Bean and REI have adjusted their lifetime guarantee policies to restrict coverage. This has left an open space for retailers to appeal to customers who responded well to the coverage and are looking for brands who are offering similar trust.
Be an industry leader
Outdoor and sporting equipment is designed to be used, and retailers in the industry want customers to know they can use their purchases. Our new ecommerce research data report found 32% of people would not purchase a high-cost product without a protection plan. When customers make an investment in equipment, they want to know they can trust the brand behind it.
Several outdoor brands have built reputations with customers through their product guarantee programs. L.L. Bean and REI have famously both had generous and long-lasting assurance on their products. This created great customer loyalty and an industry-leading expectation that outdoor products should last.
Since originally rolling out their programs, both L.L. Bean and REI have adjusted their lifetime guarantee policies to restrict coverage. This has left an open space for retailers to appeal to customers who responded well to the coverage and are looking for brands who are offering similar trust.
Strengthen your existing offerings
Brands with existing limited programs can get great benefit by upgrading their offerings. Limited manufacturer warranties or lifetime guarantees that cover product failure can be a great trust builder with customers. Businesses with existing programs can strengthen that with expanded product coverage. This can include longer coverage lengths and coverage types, including wear and tear damage that goes beyond the included product protection.
Outdoor products that customers know will undergo a lot of wear and tear, such as tents, create a high need for expanded product coverage. Extended warranty programs allow retailers to expand their coverage without requiring a huge add-on in customer service needs. An extended warranty company can take on handling claims so retailers can offer more to their customers without exceeding their bandwidth.
Leverage the Right Warranty Program for Your Customers
An outdoor equipment warranty program can offer many advantages for your business and customers. Here are key ways to leverage program to get the most out of it.
Find the right coverage to meet the need
Our research found that the primary concern of warranty customers is what’s included in warranty coverage. The data showed that 33% of people prioritize what is and isn’t covered in a plan when evaluating a coverage program. Customers pay attention to the details, and they want to make sure the coverage matches their needs with the product.
Retailers with existing limited warranties know the most common coverage requests that aren’t covered under their current plans. Expanding coverage options to meet the customer's needs is the best way to create the right coverage fit for your products.
Prioritize customer experience
Your customers are crucial. Their warranty experience from purchase to claim can be a key point in strengthening your relationships. Partner with a coverage provider that has the expertise to evaluate and respond to claims quickly. A third party provider can manage claims themselves rather than bouncing your customer from points of contact to settle a claim.
Providing a personalized warranty experience with a dedicated provider is a key way to improve customer experience. Their positive experience with your partner will reflect well on your brand to increase customer loyalty and trust.
Offer low coverage costs
The second highest priority for customers was the cost of the plan. Many who don’t purchase a protection plan are put off by high plan costs. Customers don’t want to feel like they’re paying for two products by adding plan coverage. Partnering with a dedicated provider allows for the best deals on coverage so retailers can give their customers great rates.
2021 is the year for outdoor goods. Companies who take steps to gain a competitive advantage now can maximize growth in this year and those to come.