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Boom in Outdoor Recreation Popularity Expected to Continue Beyond the Coronavirus

  • Outdoor recreation likely to remain popular after receiving a boost during the COVID-19 pandemic
  • L.L. Bean reports a surge in sales in apparel and equipment
  • Indoor fitness undergoes a major shift as well

When lockdowns during the COVID-19 pandemic made most recreational and social activities impossible, many people responded by reconnecting with nature. As the pandemic drags on and indoor fitness options become more limited or restricted, the popularity of outdoor recreation is likely to endure.

The CEO of the outdoor apparel and equipment retailer L.L. Bean says the company is seeing triple-digit increases in multiple categories, and says he believes it reflects a greater interest and appreciation for the outdoors rather than a fad. While some purchases are being made in anticipation of the return of warmer weather, sales of winter recreational activity have also boomed.

Many people have worked to improve their personal fitness during the pandemic, and have often turned to solo outdoor exercise such as running or bicycling. Camping has also become more popular, with an associated increase in recreational vehicle sales.

Personal gyms, fitness apps, and other home exercise options have stepped in to fill the gap left by gym closures or restrictions. Fitness entrepreneurs have been placing their bets on whether these activities are likely to remain in demand or whether gyms will see a resurgence in popularity once the pandemic is brought under control.

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