Letter from New OIA President Kent Ebersole

Dear members and fellow catalysts,

I’m so pleased to be able to share the news of my appointment to the role of President for the Outdoor Industry Association with you. I’m incredibly grateful for the opportunity and close partnership with our Board, my dedicated staff and passionate committee members who have supported my onboarding journey over the past 7 months. Like many of you, it’s my passion for the outdoors and desire for value-based collaboration that I believe will set OIA up for success for this year and into the next decade.

I have one crystal clear priority that motivates me every day.  As OIA President, I will ensure that OIA continues to be the industry’s catalyst for meaningful change. We’re an incredibly broad reaching member-led collective that stands for positive progress in every element of the industry. But we have evolved since then to be much clearer about the value of our core pillars.

OIA’s industry-defining research is a force for change allowing you to better understand the markets and the consumers you care about. In 2023, we are launching 3 new research products & services, including new consumer reports, specialty sport reports, and consumer panels.

OIA’s tireless government affairs team is a force for collective action. There are now 16 State Offices of Recreation (OREC), and we look forward to welcoming 2 more states by the end of 2023. We won’t stop until we achieve the creation of 50 bipartisan state offices, working together to protect and sustain our water, air, land, and wildlife for current and future generations. Equally, in 2023 and until it passes, OIA is committed to seeing America’s Outdoor Recreation Act (AORA) through, the single biggest piece of federal legislation that will increase outdoor opportunities by funding infrastructure and economic opportunities for gateway communities and underserved populations across the nation.

OIA is a force for sustainable growth. Since 2019, over 100 members have joined the Climate Action Corps committed to the work of reducing industry-wide greenhouse gas emissions. In 2023 and beyond, we are focused on enlisting at least 80% of the outdoor industry to meet an aggressive but achievable goal of becoming a climate positive industry by 2030. In addition, we are launching a brand-new program and working group, the Clean Chemistry Coalition, to swiftly meet the needs of retailers, manufacturers, and distributors for implementing a thoughtful and phased approach to eliminating PFAS and other harmful chemicals from outdoor products.

OIA is a force for inclusion. Through the Outdoor Foundation’s Thrive Outside Initiative, we continue to make multi-year investments in 13 community programs and countless leaders who already know what they need to harness the benefits of spending time outdoors. In addition to our work of shaping equitable access through legislative means, and upholding OREC’s guidance of partnering with tribal members as co-managers of natural resources, OIA is evolving inclusion initiatives through internal culture and collaborations and creating a diverse pipeline of people who can see themselves as our industry’s next product designers, testers and sustainability champions. We know that we will always have work to ensure the outdoor industry represents and serves all backgrounds and voices. But as a catalyst, we are committed to iterating for the vital success of the outdoor industry.

Finally, I see OIA as a force for connection. We are doubling down on valuable products and services and introducing new programs and offerings. We are modernizing operations and changing how we deliver membership experiences so that the information and services you want and need are timely, highly relevant, and personalized to your business. We are doing this so that you, our members, can be catalysts in your own right—sustainability champions, product innovators, community builders, climate change agents, or business leaders.

Notwithstanding the current economic climate, I believe that one of the reasons we lost momentum is because we didn’t connect the dots on how our work supports your business and the communities you care about.  But this is what catalysts do—we “connect the dots, set things in motion, and learn continually”*. The nature of catalyst work is complex and much of it is invisibly and swiftly happening behind the scenes. We are pivoting to meet the needs of your business today but always with an eye on the future horizon.

While OIA has been charting this map for a minute, 30 minutes of years to be exact, we’re going to need your boots on the ground to help tread the path. To those of you who have been members for years and years, thank you for continuing to align your business commitments with our values. For those of you that have recently joined OIA, let me be the first to extend a very warm welcome. Your voice and support are just what this industry needs to make better and do better.

Together, we are a member-led collective and the industry’s catalyst for meaningful change.

Kent Ebersole
Outdoor Industry Association

Research Roundup: August 2022

Here at OIA, our research team focuses on providing you with insights into the outdoor consumer: what drives their choices, what gear they choose, and what they value about their outdoor experiences. With our new monthly newsletter — Research Roundup — we aim to deliver the best data from our partner, CivicScience, who can reach hundreds of thousands of consumers in real-time to ask questions and gather insights that give you clear insights. You’ll also gain easy access to the full catalog of research reports we offer as well as trends we are tracking.

Happy reading!


Kelly Davis

Director of Research


Outdoor Participants are Worried About Inflation

Overall, outdoor recreation consumers are significantly concerned about inflation, but their concern appears to have reached a plateau.  Outdoor participants are less concerned about inflation than the average U.S. consumer.

Source: CivicScience. 78,305 responses MoE= +/- 1%

Outdoor recreation consumers say they do not plan to spend more next month on groceries, at bars, or toys and hobbies (including outdoor gear).

Keep in mind, outdoor recreation participants tend to spend more than the average American adult across most categories with the notable exception of groceries. When budgets need to be tightened, outdoor participants literally tighten their belts by cutting spending on groceries.

Source: CivicScience. 62.363 responses MoE= +/- 1%

This data indicates that outdoor consumers will continue to spend on outdoor gear, but they do not plan to increase their spending on the category. We should expect flat to slightly declining sales in the outdoor market in August and September.


Who is Willing to Adjust Their Lifestyle to Help the Environment?

I just finished reading “Is Outdoor Recreation Associated with Greater Climate Change Concern in the United States? by Kyle Knight and Feng Hao. The authors start with the hypothesis that is often repeated in discussions about climate and outdoor that persons who participate in “nature-based leisure activities” have more pro-environmental attitudes than those who don’t. The data and analysis presented in that study is robust and showed a positive significant effect between the frequency of outings and climate change concern. If you have another excellent data source, it never hurts to see if your data jibes with an interesting finding. I decided to take a look at our CivicScience data to see if it told the same story. Spoiler alert, it did.

Overall, outdoor recreation participants are more likely to adjust their lifestyle to help the environment. This is particularly remarkable because we found relatively even distributions of political affiliation across major outdoor recreation categories including hiking, bicycling, camping, running, fishing, and hunting. Political affiliation, overall, had the most significant impact on responses to the question “Do you try to adjust your lifestyle to help the environment?”  Even while controlling for political affiliation, people that participate in outdoor recreation are more likely than non-participants to adjust their lifestyles at least occasionally to help the environment.

One of the major advantages of CivicScience data is the size of response. In this case, we are looking at more than 200,000 responses and margins or error under +/-1%. This data gives us a more granular look at outdoor activity and attitudes about the environment. In fact, the question “Do you try to adjust your lifestyle to help the environment?” is even more powerful because we can examine it by outdoor category. Additionally, we can compare it to segments of the general population.


Overall, cyclists are most willing to adjust their lifestyles to help the environment. Bicyclists are being chased by the camp/hike/fish category in second place and runners in a close third. Hunters report that they are less likely to make any lifestyle changes to help the environment than other outdoor recreators, but hunters were no more likely than Democrats (generally) to say they would never adjust their lifestyle to help the environment. Additionally, hunters contribute more than $1.6 billion each year for conservation programs through license fees and contributions to conservation groups. Republicans (generally) are least likely to say they would make any adjustments in their lifestyle to help the environment. In fact, in this survey alone, out of 160,662 Republicans surveyed, more than 88,000 indicated they would never adjust their lifestyle to help the environment.

The hypothesis that people who participate in outdoor recreation are more likely to make changes in their lifestyle to help the environment is correct. The data indicate that this holds true across political affiliations. Maybe outdoor recreation offers a platform for civil discourse across political lines about environmental issues that will help us conserve and protect public lands and mitigate impacts of climate change for future generations.

Trend Spotter: Meet the Upcycler

No, this is not about riding bikes uphill! Upcycled clothing may recall visions of DIY fashion projects gone awry, but today luxe apparel designers are presenting upcycled fashion in their collections. This trend is a nod to sustainable manufacturing and awareness of the environmental impact of apparel manufacturing. Sustainability is key to this trend and consumers of all ages are integrating concerns about the environment into their fashion statements and their decisions about what they will purchase. Read more about outdoor brands with repair, resell & upcycled gear programs.

Research Grab Bag

You can now download the Outdoor Industry Workforce Assessment which looks to identify major trends in workforce hiring and retention, help further educational and up-skilling initiatives, and provide a snapshot of where the industry stands in its efforts to increase diversity, equity, and inclusion. Key findings from the survey include the following:

  • New hires: The industry expects to hire for a high volume of entry and skilled professional positions over the next year.
  • Work/life balance: Outdoor companies are prioritizing flexible work arrangements and work-life balance as attraction and retention strategies ahead of employee benefits and financial rewards.
  • Qualified applicants: 66% of survey respondents report having difficulty finding qualified applicants. The largest barriers to recruiting hard-to-fill jobs are finding qualified applicants, and lack of affordable housing options proximal to the job location.
  • Increasing DEI: Companies who have a diversity plan in place are utilizing a wide variety of methods and tactics to achieve their goals. However, companies that do not currently have a diversity plan in place largely do not plan to implement one or do not know where to start.

If you don’t want to read about it, you can watch our panel discussion about it here.

You can also download the new State of the Outdoor Market report, which shares exclusive insights on participation, consumer trends, and economic and social forces impacting our industry. Key findings from the report include:

  • Outdoor economy: Outdoor recreation accounted for 1.8% of the U.S. GDP in 2021 with $689B in gross output and 4.3M jobs.
  • Increasing diversity: Diversity in age and ethnicity is accelerating in the U.S., but the outdoor participant base is less diverse than the population.
  • Outdoor growth: New participant entries into outdoor recreation are 26% since January 2020. Skateboarding, hiking, kayaking, and surfing had the highest growth rates across outdoor categories.
  • Post-COVID effects: Patterns in how we return to work will affect outdoor participation. Remote work allows many to participate outdoors for the first time, during hours when they would have been in an office or commuting, and across more outdoor activities.
  • Rising inflation: High inflation, 9.1% in June and 8.5% in July, is likely to reduce spending in the outdoor market.
  • Fashion trends: Several fashion trends are currently red hot including “Cottage Core” and “Coastal Grandmother.” Read about and see images related to these and more hot trends that are likely to impact outdoor apparel.

Research Roundup: July 2022

Here at OIA, our research team focuses on providing you with insights into the outdoor consumer: what drives their choices, what gear they choose, and what they value about their outdoor experiences. With our new monthly newsletter — Research Roundup — we aim to deliver the best data from our partner, CivicScience, who can reach hundreds of thousands of consumers in real-time to ask questions and gather insights that give you clear insights. You’ll also gain easy access to the full catalog of research reports we offer as well as trends we are tracking.

Happy reading!


Kelly Davis

Director of Research


Outdoor Consumer Intelligence: One in Three Hikers Identify as Fashionistas; the Other Two Want Comfort, Function, and Value 

This week, we look at the fashion sense of hikers. Nearly 60 million Americans will hike in 2022, so we wondered how they think about fashion trends and their hiking apparel. We worked our way through CivicScience’s consumer intelligence database and found some clues. Turns out, most hikers (68 percent) say they don’t care about fashion trends at all, and interest in fashion declines with age. Men are far less likely to say that fashion trends influence their hiking apparel choices, and young women are most likely to self-identify as fashion innovators, leaders, and followers.  

These insights could help suppliers and retailers better understand their customers and more effectively target different segments. Check out the data: 

Nearly all (93 percent) of the hikers who say “trends do not impact what I wear” report that they are just “not into fashion.” These consumers are more likely to consider functionality, durability, value, and comfort over style or trendiness when deciding what to buy.  


The segment that reported that trends don’t impact their choices AND indicated that “they are not into fashion” is made up of mostly male (68 percent) and older hikers, including men over 55 (88 percent) and women over 55 (72 percent).  

Among the 32 percent of hikers (see figure 1) who say that fashion trends do impact what they wear are self-professed fashionistas: 26 percent of them consider themselves either fashion innovators or leaders, and 28 percent say they are fashion trend followers. And about half of those who say trends do impact what they wear say they are not into fashion; this seems confusing, but humans can be complex—some individuals realize that, even though they are not focused on fashion, trends still have an impact on what they wear on the trail.  

This group will consider look, trendiness, and brand appeal to varying degrees when they purchase outdoor apparel. This group would also be more likely to prioritize buying a fresh look before considering product features like functionality, durability, value, and comfort. Females make up 60 percent of this group, and males make up 40 percent.  

 Regardless of gender, older consumers are less likely to be influenced by fashion trends, and older males are most likely not to be into fashion or trends. Young females, however, are most interested in fashion trends. In fact, 30 percent of women ages 18 to 34 consider themselves fashion innovators or leaders, and another 28 percent of women in this age group said they are fashion followers.  

 Selling into this market will require brands to be focused on trend with their products as opposed to being focused on value, durability, functionality, and comfort. That doesn’t mean that products that are trendy will not also need the more solid features like functionality and durability, but young consumers will make their calculations differently when purchasing apparel and will be more likely to choose style over substance. 

Trend Spotter: Meet the Coastal Grandmother 

A growing group of women of all ages are dressing like they spend their days on art, philanthropy, and wine-fueled mischief at their beach houses. The look is simple, clean, neutral, and comfortable. Learn more about the trend here.  

Data Trail Mix: Outdoor Participant Base Continues to Grow Post Pandemic Surge 

Outdoor recreation is a large and growing industry that produced $689 billion in economic output in 2020, supports 4.3 million jobs, and is enjoyed by 165 million Americans over the age of 6 or roughly 53 percent of the total U.S. population. The outdoor industry has always been large, but the COVID-19 pandemic drove growth across the industry: More than 10 million new participants have enjoyed outdoor recreation since March 2020. Limited options for safe indoor activities during the pandemic—particularly group activities—drove growth in outdoor recreation, especially prior to the delivery of vaccines. However, the continued growth of the participant base in 2021 indicates that the need for safer places to interact was not the sole variable driving growth.  

Categories that attracted many new participants during the pandemic—including walking, hiking, car camping, trail running, skateboarding, and birdwatching—are some of the most accessible activities, and they enjoyed continued growth in 2021 following their epic increases in 2020. 

Outdoor Retailer Industry Lunch: State of the Outdoor Market

Get a clear view of current activity in the outdoor market and what the future has in store for outdoor market players. Watch our presentation from Outdoor Retailer Snow Show 2022 to learn about participation in outdoor activities, sales trends in outdoor, supply chain disruptions and the impacts of Covid-19 on participation and consumer perspectives. Hear what the data is telling us about supply and demand, and how the pandemic has affected all aspects of the outdoor market and participation habits. Learn about increased diversity across the participation base, the new consumer journey into the outdoor market and what opportunities the U.S. Census 2020 projections revealed. This timely and informative conversation will delve into trends spanning business, participation, consumer behavior and more, and how they all impact the outdoor market.

Presenter: Kelly Davis, Research Director, Outdoor Industry Association

Help Our Community Rebuild: Support the Boulder County Wildfire Fund

On December 30th, 2021 the most destructive wildfire in Colorado state’s history, the Marshall fire, destroyed nearly 1,000 homes and burned more than 6,200 acres in Boulder County, home to OIA’s headquarters and many staff members. Our deepest condolences go out to all of those affected.

Like many of you, we are eager to help those impacted by the wildfire. Join us in supporting Community Foundation’s Boulder County Wildfire Fund. As Boulder County’s trusted philanthropic partner for over 30 years, Community Foundation Boulder County is working closely with government and nonprofit partners to coordinate, align resources and fill gaps to support those most impacted by the wildfires. We chose to support the Community Foundation’s fund because it is community-led, centrally located, and has already stepped in to provide immediate support.

Due to the generosity of tens of thousands of donors to the Wildfire Fund, Boulder County will distribute up to $5M in financial assistance to those whose homes have been destroyed or damaged and an additional $500K to support the needs of evacuees from the fund. Learn more about the fundraiser and donate today.

White Paper: Outdoor Sports Insurance Highlights the Necessity of Network Security

For years, Network Security Insurance (commonly referred to as Cyber Liability Coverage) was widely regarded as a boutique coverage needed only by large corporations who store and process large volumes of consumer credit card information. In the later part of the last decade, however, this perception proved inaccurate when cyber-attacks on small to midsize businesses and retailers increased nearly 600%. Cyber extortion targeting small businesses now reigns supreme.

The good news is, Outdoor Sports Insurance has access to a wide array of insurance markets that write cyber policies specifically for the small business owner. These policies are both comprehensive in protection and breach response services, and affordable in premium.

Wrapped together with policies that cover the risks associated with hiking, camping, paddling or any outdoor activity, Outdoor Sports Insurance knows the market and has the products to fit any OIA member.

By definition, a “cyber attack”, or “security breach”, refers to unauthorized access to the IT infrastructure of a company by a third party (hacker) with the intent to corrupt, steal, or destroy data. The types of attacks hackers employ to achieve these ends runs a wide spectrum; Denial of Service (DoS), Phishing attacks, Password attacks and cross-site scripting attacks are just a few of the more common means by which hackers wreak havoc on a company’s network (and subsequently the daily operation of the business itself).

The most common attack, and by far the most damaging in terms of financial impact to victims, is the ransomware attack, commonly referred to as, “cyber extortion.” When a company has been hit with a ransomware attack, malicious software infiltrates a portion, or all, of the company’s IT mainframe. As malware increases in sophistication and complexity, so, too, do the extortion demands made upon the targeted companies. Between 2019 and 2020 alone, the number of companies that reported paying a ransomware extortion demand increased more than 300%.

According to a NetDiligence 2020 Cyber Claims study, the total cost of a network breach ranges anywhere from $1,000, to more than $120 million. The average cost to businesses with less than 200 employees is estimated to be $200K – $750K. Between 2018 and 2020, it is estimated that 45% of cyber-attacks targeted businesses with less than 200 employees. Less than 25% of those businesses carried the proper network security coverage, and even fewer had a formal incident response plan in place. Of the businesses impacted that did not carry the proper protection, more than 60% were out of business within 6 months.

Outdoor Sports Insurance works across multiple carriers to make sure all OIA businesses can find the right policy with the appropriate coverage at an affordable premium. In addition to the coverage itself, Outdoor Sports Insurance supplements the policies with risk management services and third party resources curated to ensure policy holders are equipped with the tools to mitigate the threat of an attack, and expedite the response time should an attack occur.

Included in the coverage portfolio, policy holders have access to a 24/7 cyber response hotline, educational tools to help network users identify threats and phishing campaigns, recommendations for protective software implementations, and best practices for user protocol of a business’s IT property and systems.

OIA has assembled best-in-class services provider partners to offer OIA special preferred pricing on goods and services in marketing, sales, sustainability, supply chain, finance, operations, research, rep associations, and trade shows. Outdoor Sports Insurance is one of those provider partners. Learn more about the OSI partner benefit for OIA members hereIn order to receive the discounted pricing offered, you must mention and confirm your OIA membership to the service provider.

Rob Martin and Tori Hoeschler from Outdoor Sports Insurance recently sat down with Rick Saez from The Outdoor Biz Podcast to chat skiing, outdoor adventure, and risk management. Learn about how Outdoor Sports Insurance, protects businesses from inherent risks to areas of exposure that are less obvious, including how small and mid-sized businesses are increasingly becoming targets of cyberattacks. Also hear about how proper waivers and training can save a shop, and how Outdoor Sports Insurance can help you with all of it.

To learn more about cybersecurity offerings from Outdoor Sports Insurance, please contact the team at outdoorsportsins.com, or email OSI@horizonagency.com. And check out this Outdoor Biz podcast featuring Rob Martin and Tori Hoeschler from OSI



Webinar: How to Mitigate Financial Risk in the Outdoor Industry Post-COVID

The last year and a half has afforded us an opportunity to deeply reflect upon credit extension policies and best practices for collecting amidst a global crisis. Join North America’s largest B2B receivables management firm in a discussion on forecasting AR portfolio risk and approaching past-due customers with empathy while managing exposure during these uncertain times. Don’t become your debtors’ interest-free bank – let us help you take a proactive approach to recovery efforts.


When: Tuesday, June 22

Stephanie Maez, Outdoor Foundation
Melanie Borger, RIVERSPORT OKC and Thrive Outside Oklahoma City

In 2020 the world witnessed incredible upheaval, and Americans across the country took to the outdoors in search of respite from COVID-19. Our 2021 Participation Report reveals that 7.1 million more Americans participated in outdoor recreation in 2020 than in the year prior, the highest participation rate ever recorded. These one-year gains, however, did not fundamentally alter the long-term challenges faced by the outdoor industry. Nearly half of the U.S. population did not share in the proven, positive health outcomes of the outdoors, and lack of diversity, declining intensity, fewer outings, and stagnant female participation continue to hinder outdoor participation growth.

However, there exists incredible opportunity. The outdoor industry and its partners are positioned to champion new ways to engage outdoor participants and invest in making the outdoors accessible and welcoming to all Americans. Collective action through philanthropy, programming, marketing and policy can move the needle. Together, we can help bring individuals and entire communities outside, and inspire them to build life-long relationships with the outdoors.

Join managing director of the Outdoor Foundation Stephanie Maez and Melanie Borger of the Thrive Outside OKC Community to learn how this report and outdoor participation research can be used to influence programming and policy to grow and retain new outdoor participants. Get a deep dive into key findings from the 2021 report, discover new opportunities for growth, and learn more about our shared vision for the future of the outdoors.

Webinar: Thriving People + Planet — Confronting Threats to the Outdoors

Lise Aangeenbrug – Executive Director, Outdoor Industry Association
Representative Joe Neguse (D-CO-02) – Chairman of the House Natural Resources Committee’s Subcommittee on National Parks, Forests, and Public Lands

Key Takeaways:

1. For the outdoors to thrive, it must be open and accessible to all.

2. The American Jobs Plan is a historic opportunity to make a difference on climate – now is the time for the outdoor industry to step up and urge Congress to act.

3. A Civilian Climate Corps will provide jobs and economic growth AND combat climate change and conserve green spaces for generations to come.

4. As outdoor climate policy priorities take center stage, your business voice matters.

Webinar: ​​​​​​2021 E-Commerce Growth in China for the North American Outdoor Industry

Speakers: Joseph Cooke, President and Co-founder of WPIC Marketing + Technologies; Todd Embley, Host and Executive Producer of The Negotiation podcast

Is growing your brand in the world’s largest online market on your organization’s trajectory for the next year? As the world emerges from the COVID pandemic, do you see opportunity for market growth across Greater China in the next year?

Join WPIC, a leading APAC e-commerce consultancy, for an exclusive webinar, discussing how outdoor industry brands from across North America can succeed in the Chinese market in 2021.

Whether your organization is in the market, is actively looking to launch in China in 2021 or is interested in learning more about the mechanics of a market entry, this webinar will feature insights across a variety of topics, including the following:

  • What sort of growth the outdoor industry can expect in 2021 and beyond
  • Which tactics drive growth in the market today
  • What are the first steps to successfully enter the market and what sort of results can a brand expect in its first year?
  • How will the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics affect consumer behavior?
  • How can North American brands solve challenges around logistics and capital expatriation?
  • What sort of data can be leveraged to drive decisions?