Lazard Consumer Pulse Survey: U.S. Consumers’ Outdoor Recreation Habits

Reports and studies — Financial Advisory, Consumer

October 31, 2022

Our 2020 Consumer Pulse Survey on recreation, leisure, and fitness recapitulated consumers’ dynamic shift from indoor activities to outdoor activities due to the COVID-19 crisis. Since then, Americans have witnessed a huge fiscal stimulus, Russia’s attack on Ukraine, skyrocketing inflation, labor challenges, and continued supply chain disruptions. In many cases within the span of a year, stores flipped from having empty shelves due to consumer hoarding and supply chain hang-ups to having bloated inventory with some empty shelves intermixed due to consumer pullback and continued supply chain issues.

Given all the economic volatility, many consumers are experiencing economic whiplash. This whiplash may cause people to reevaluate their dollar spending intentions but not necessarily their time. And as we write this, consumers may have already changed their mind from what they intended to do last month. Recreation, leisure, and fitness companies’ earnings reports continue to convey this mixed bag—alternating between handily beating forecasts to missing estimates with the majority of these earnings reports warning of slower times ahead. To help sort through this volatility, the latest Lazard/CH Consulting Advisors Consumer Pulse Survey focuses on understanding consumers’ recreation, leisure, and fitness spending and interest given the uncertain economic outlook.

We surveyed 1,000 Americans on how they are spending their time and allocating their dollars in the category pre-COVID, during the last two years, and, importantly, how they think about the future. Our research shows a good portion of the consumers who, during the last two years, began and spent time and money in outdoor activities will continue engaging and spending in the category. Recently, Dick’s Sporting Goods’ earnings announcement also noted that consumers have made “lasting lifestyle changes.” Industry participants have undoubtedly witnessed outsized demand in many categories. As a result, many in the industry are asking what is the shape of future demand – will it fall from its heights? Will it stabilize at a higher base? Our survey suggests that while there has been demand pull[1]forward, there is still an active core of consumers who will continue to spend in key categories even when faced with a turbulent economic environment.

Download the review to read the findings in full.

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