I spent last week at the Outdoor Retailer Summer Market show (“OR”) in Denver. As usual, it was a good opportunity to connect with many folks and to stay abreast of developments and trends in the space. My perception was that traffic was slightly down from last year. The timing of the show was a bit unusual this year in that Grassroots Outdoor Alliance (“GOA”) was held the week of June 9th (GOA is a less “sexy,” yet highly efficient show; no fancy booths-just pipes and drapes) and several regional trade shows (including the California Outdoor Sports Show in Sacramento, 360 Adventure Collectives in NJ and SC, Western Winter Sports Representatives Association shows in CO and OR (Oregon, not the show) and the Outdoor Reps Association Summer Show in WI) all taking place the week of June 23. While the press and media tend to congregate at OR, specialty retailers likely pick a show or two – but not all. Another strong, but not always verbalized undercurrent, continues to be the dwindling number of retailers themselves.
Outdoor-oriented, direct-to-consumer (“DTC”) players, ascendant in number, may make an appearance at these shows (OR in particular) for networking and meetings, but they obviously aren’t renting booths.
In terms of new products of categories, nothing revolutionary particularly caught my eye, though plenty of evolutionary advances in numerous companies and product lines were present.
Water sports’ companies continue to expand their floor space presence. Related, and in terms of neat products, Oru Kayak previewed a lightweight, 20-pound kayak that folds into the size of a small suitcase (and “no” Boeing has not ordered several thousand of them for their 737 Max 8…maybe they should). Big technology companies (e.g., Google) also appeared to be expanding their presence. Lastly, and consistent with nearly every other trade show these days, CBD / hemp companies were present (though perhaps not as visible as the Mile High venue might indicate).
MHT Partners, a leading consumer growth investment bank, continues to play an active role in the outdoor products space and welcomes the opportunity to discuss activity and strategy within this ever-evolving sector. Click here to connect.