Sports and outdoor activities are more than just an industry. They have become a means of reaching and supporting people on an emotional level. This strength has become especially apparent in the current pandemic.
The way in which society’s need for sports and outdoor experiences has changed as result of the coronavirus crisis is revealing new, broader target audiences. But what exactly is the motivation behind this need and why is this not only an opportunity for the classic sports and outdoor industry, but for many other branches as well?
The new White Paper "Opportunities for industry-wide growth: taking advantage of the increased importance of sports and outdoor activities" from ISPO and the rheingold institute answers these questions. It also presents three hypotheses for a new, sporting future and examines what these hypotheses mean for brands and products of the future.
Coronavirus restrictions have severely limited our sphere of activity and the experiences available to us. In addition to the feelings of helplessness this provokes, individuals struggle to cope with the accompanying loss of personal development opportunities. Activities such as roaming through forests, climbing mountains and catching fish engage our ancient instincts.
This not only generates a host of opportunities in sports, outdoor activities and tourism, but also provides openings for other industries to pivot to these areas. Mixing creativity, digitalization, sports and/or outdoor activities currently leads to compelling combinations and concepts.
Our lives currently require a constant balancing act of freedom and responsibility. One way of escaping this tension for just a short while is to retreat into nature and create new freedoms for ourselves.
Brands that equip their customers for sports and outdoor experiences do more than just facilitate the activity: they provide reliable protection for the adventure. This holds significant growth potential for the sport, fitness and outdoor sector, as well as presenting many opportunities for other industries – from personal mobility to health to insurance.
It’s easy to lose sight of our true selves when we spend most of our days indoors in a climate-controlled environment. Working at a computer divorces us from our senses and increasingly threatens the meaningfulness of our experiences. Exercise, particularly in nature, gives us a chance to really feel at home in our bodies again.
Brands need to ignite customers’ inner spark and activate their desire to engage their senses. Brands – whether from the sports and outdoor industry or other sectors – that manage to authentically position themselves here, create added value or enable participation, will expand their reach and reap economically valuable goodwill.
"People are overwhelmingly going through a kind of reflective, clarifying process. They are creating a framework for how they want to live in the future," explains study director Marcel Beaufils, adding: "Domestic products have real power to win over and retain new target groups long-term here."
ISPO Munich (31 January - 3 February 2021) with its new physical-and digital hybrid format welcomes everyone who wants to help further develop the growing significance of sports and outdoor activities.
The complete White Paper with further information about needs and motivations as well as approaches to address them as a brand can be downloaded here for free: