Outdoor Industry Growth Offers Support Opportunity

Across the country, people are talking about the run on sporting goods and outdoor gear. Product availability has been limited in many areas. Kayaks, tents, firearms, fishing equipment and other types of outdoor gear is being sold in record numbers. More people experiencing the outdoors is good for business, but that doesn’t mean the outdoor community is whole. 

Johnson Outdoors Inc., which describes itself as, “a leading global innovator of outdoor recreation equipment and technology,” recently released a report titled “Johnson Outdoors Reports Surging Sales in Outdoors Products.” It highlights the company’s revenue growth through a challenging time.  

In the release, Helen Johnson-Leipold, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Johnson Outdoors, offered, “The 2020 fiscal year was like no other year in our history. We started the year with a very strong first quarter, but the onset of the pandemic and the initial stay-at-home mandates cut short our momentum and significantly impacted our second and third quarters, the heart of our primary selling season. As those mandates eased, we saw demand ramp up and participation grow in Fishing, Camping and Watercraft Recreation. This positive late-season momentum resulted in a strong finish to the year.” 

According to the release, total company revenue grew 6 percent. Johnson-Leipold added, “The great outdoors offers the experiences and recreational activities that can rejuvenate the mind, body and spirit, and most importantly, are safe to enjoy. With strict safety procedures and protocols in place, the hard work and dedication of our employees enabled us to respond to robust demand.”

Johnson Outdoors is not alone in experiencing recent growth. American Outdoor Brands, Inc. is a Columbia, Missouri based provider of products for hunters and shooters. The company recently announced financial results for the second quarter fiscal 2021. They reported quarterly net sales were $79.1 million, an increase of $31.4 million, or 65.7%, over net sales of $47.7 million for the comparable quarter last year. They explained the growth was driven primarily by increases in both e-commerce and traditional sales channels.

Brian Murphy, President and CEO, said, “I want to especially thank our employees, who helped us deliver what we consider to be outstanding results this quarter while positioning us for a tremendous first year as a public company. Their efforts, combined with our award-winning products, made it possible for customers to continue exploring their connection with the outdoors during these challenging times.”

Murphy’s statement reminds us that behind every product we’ve been able to purchase during the pandemic, there are people putting themselves at risk. Many of us too often fail to appreciate all the people involved in a supply chain. Keeping them employed and healthy at the same time has been a challenge. Consumers need to be thankful for all involved, from corporate leadership to entry level employees, for making special efforts to ensure we can still purchase the products we need and want. 

Strong financial times also allow for increased generosity. Many not-for-profit organizations have suffered during the pandemic. Banquets and other large gatherings often serve as key means of fundraising and financial stability for non-profits. Most of those have been canceled or postponed. Event-based organizations are surviving on direct donations, especially in the form of corporate support. The National Shooting Sports Foundation, for example, relies heavily on the revenues from the Shooting, Hunting, Outdoor Trade Show (SHOT), which has been canceled for 2021. Thankfully, some corporate supporters are stepping up to ease the blow. 

“We are proud to support the National Shooting Sports Foundation (NSSF) in its vital efforts in stewardship across the Firearms Industry. With the SHOT Show 2021 being cancelled, we felt compelled to support such a crucial part of our industry as a whole,” Rick Hanke CEO / President of Legacy Sports International recently released. “We are glad to offer a donation of $10,000 to the NSSF in effort to assist with their fundraising challenges.”

The pandemic has affected segments of the outdoors industry in different ways. This is a time for those in the community doing well to support organizations and individuals in need. More people enjoying the outdoors and buying more outdoor equipment is great, but let’s not forgot those fighting for wildlife and wild places, and our rights to enjoy them.  

See you down the trail… 

Brandon Butler

Pic: New hunter, Jeremey James, uses a Maven spotting scope to search for mule deer in Colorado.  

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