If you’re marketing outdoor leisure products and services, it may be time to adjust your specialty retail strategy.
A 13% increase in overall outdoor sales is hiding a larger truth.
Leisure Trends’ Outdoor RetailTrak just released its latest report for the outdoor segment (outdoor chains, specialty and online sales).
Sales are up 13% over last year. But the real news is that torrid online sales are hiding a continued slowdown in specialty retail.
It was another flat month of sales at specialty retail stores.
- Online sales accounted for 22% of last month’s total sales, up from 17% last year and 14% in 2007.
- That’s almost a 50% gain in dollars old compared to last year.
- By comparison outdoor specialty stores were flat for the same period.
Why has growth slowed for outdoor specialty stores?
- It seems to be a category-by category problem.
- Recreation tents, packs, camp accessories and footwear have sold well.
- But other categories like apparel are suffering.
Could this signal a longer-term shift in buying patterns?
- Various studies indicate that the prolonged recession may be affecting buying patterns.
- Consumers are looking for better deals.
- And shifting to channels that give them more choice and more control.
- In the short-term, this trend favors online channels and will continue to hurt specialty retailers.
What can you do to stay competitive in this environment?
If you’re a leisure marketer selling your products through all three outdoor channels:
- Do more online promotions to drive consumers to your online outlets.
- If you brand is too small to put your own online promotion together, participate in your retailer’s co-op programs.
If you’re a specialty retailer, optimize your website for search engines and shoppers.
- If you don’t know what I’m talking about read this post.
- In advertising and promotions, encourage your buyer to check you out online.
Take advantage of this year’s hot trends: footwear
- Hiking boots, winter boots, trail running shoes, multisport shoes and sandals are all outperforming 2009.
- Specialty retailers who participate in the LeisureTRAK reporting all expect sales of those items to stay high through the back to school season.