Brand Extension
ProdigyWorks- The Great Outdoors: New Trends in Outdoor Retail

The annual Outdoor Retailer Summer Show in Denver, Colorado, highlights tons of new gear, gadgets, apparel, and technology coming to market just in time for outdoor summer activities.  Whether you’re an outdoor enthusiast or a competitive climber, this show offers insights into the leading innovations shaping the year and the industry overall.  In preparation for the show, the ProdigyWorks team took a look at some of the trends influencing outdoor consumer behavior today.


Changing the Way that We Define “Outdoor”

The growing popularity of athleisure is driving major growth in the outdoor space. Primarily driven by millennial and gen z consumers motivated by a desire to look fit and healthy, Athleisure, defined as “casual clothing designed to be worn both for exercising and for general use,” is seeing significant traction. 


Turning performance wear into everyday wear, athleisure is blurring the lines between the clothes you’d wear on a hike and those you’d wear to lunch, and outdoor retailers are taking notice. Even beyond apparel, brands are appealing to the growing appeal for outdoor gear to be functional and durable but also stylish, bringing the comforts of home outdoors. And we expect to see more from this trend in the upcoming year.


Youth & Diversity

Past assumptions of the typical outdoor enthusiast continue to be challenged. As previously shared, we’re seeing a younger and more diverse audience exploring the outdoors with the numbers of new people camping and hitting the trails, continuing to rise. The typical North American camper is skewing younger and according to Inside Outdoor and KOA, a significant portion (38 percent) of U.S. campers is now made up of millennials. At the same time, non-white campers represent more than 25 percent of all campers.






Sustainable Purpose

Heritage, authenticity, values and cause are increasingly imperative parts of the brand experience. Consumers are continuing to buy outdoor gear that not only supports their active lifestyle but reflects their beliefs and values through the brands they choose. Authentic brands stand for something greater than the bottom line and still offer high-quality, durable products that allow consumers to feel good about the purchase decisions they make. More brands are adopting ecologically conscious efforts when sourcing materials for their products and bringing sustainability efforts to the forefront of their mission.


Another way we have seen sustainability permeate the industry is in the uptick of gear and equipment rentals and “re-commerce” in used gear sales.  This has become a key business focus to give customers a more affordable option to buy outdoor gear and allow consumers to trade in and trade up.


In order to drive meaningful innovation, companies must embrace change and look beyond their four walls to see trends and identify needs to attract new customers – outside of their current audience.  For the outdoor retail industry, change is the new normal. Companies that are willing to think outside of the box will see significant new opportunities for business growth amidst this next generation of outdoor enthusiasts. ProdigyWorks will be at the Outdoor Retail trade show in Denver and we’d love to chat!  Learn more about how high-level outside thinking can lead to smarter, sustainable innovation.

ProdigyWorks – Originating as a partnership with Mensa more than 12 years ago, ProdigyWorks is a unique, global, high-IQ network that takes incredibly diverse combinations of the world’s smartest and most creative thinkers and unleashes them on brands’ toughest innovation, futuring, naming and product development challenges. 





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