May 24, 2021
One of the most notable ways that the pandemic changed us is how we spend our leisure time. With many usual outlets either unavailable or deemed unsafe, people either hunkered down with their streaming services, video games and other indoor entertainment options or took to the great outdoors.
According to the Outdoor Industry Association (OIA) 2020 Outdoor Participation Report released at the end of 2020, just over half of Americans ages six and older participated in outdoor recreation, including hunting, hiking, camping, fishing, and canoeing. The OIA further indicated that Americans took up new activities in significant numbers in April, May and June 2020 as the weather warmed. This demand contributes to an outdoor clothing market that is valued at $14.9 billion by market research provider Statista.
Now that the warmer weather has arrived again, there are a number of brands poised to benefit from consumers’ renewed love affair with the outdoors.
The outdoor footwear manufacturer behind brands like Sperry, Merrell, and Saucony, Wolverine Worldwide, Inc. (Tii:WWW) has experienced strong consumer demand for its wares. Illustrating this demand, the company recently raised its full-year outlook, projecting 25%-28% revenue growth compared with the prior year. Wolverine Worldwide reported that sales for its Merrell line of footwear products grew nearly 25%, while its Saucony brand of footwear and apparel spiked by 60%. For its first quarter ended April 3, 2021, Wolverine’s revenues climbed 16.3% to $510.7 million, the company crediting robust e-commerce growth and large wholesale volume.
There are other players in the high-end cooler market, but none have the brand recognition as does Yeti Holdings Inc (Tii:YETI). This company’s coolers are designed for heavy outdoor use, with powerful insulation and strong latches and handles. The global outdoor products designer, retailer and distributor reported that sales for its first quarter ended April 3, 2021, grew 42% on continued strong demand for the brand throughout the period. The company also cited a 32% increase in drinkware net sales and a 57% rise in coolers and equipment. More than half of Yeti’s sales came by way of its direct-to-consumer channel, which accounted for 59% of sales.
One of the areas that have experienced significant growth due to the pandemic is the RV market. With consumers – particularly younger families and millennials – wanting to travel safely, RV demand spiked substantially in 2020 and appears to remain strong so far this year. America’s largest retailer of RVs and related products and services, Camping World Holdings (Tii:CWH) is on the receiving end of this trend and has rolled out an aggressive growth plan to capitalize. The company is expanding its business presence across several states, including Wyoming, Michigan, West Virginia and South Carolina. Camping World also reported plans to expand in the Minnesota market by acquiring Hilmerson RV in Little Falls. The acquisition is expected to close in early summer 2021.
Columbia Sportswear Company (Tii:COLM) products enjoy a strong following for their technology-forward designs. Founded in 1938 as a hat manufacturer, the company manufactures lifestyle apparel, footwear, accessories, and equipment that are sold in approximately 90 countries. For its first quarter ended March 31, 2021, net sales grew 10% to $625.6 million as strong consumer demand and lean retail inventories resulted in a favorable full-price selling environment. Columbia Sportswear has topped earnings estimates in three of its last four quarters.
V.F. Corporation (Tii:VFC), the parent company of a number of well-known outdoor brands that include Altra, The North Face, SmartWool, and Timberland, announced that while full-year fiscal 2021 International revenue decreased 7%, strong demand in the massive Chinese market resulted in a 24% sales rise for the region. One of the world’s largest apparel, footwear and accessories companies, V.F. Corporation has made a slew of management changes over the past year. They include a new Global Chief Marketing Officer; Chief Financial Officer; Global Brand President, Timberland; and a revamped EMEA (Europe, the Middle East and Africa) leadership team.
America’s love affair with the great outdoors shows no sign of slowing down. Expect these and other brands to continue ramping up production, rolling out new products and marketing campaigns to increase market share.