The outdoor industry is experiencing a surge during the pandemic as many people are turning to nature to de-stress and engage in safe, socially-distanced activities. Consumers, who were perhaps not as interested in the outdoors pre-pandemic, are now indulging in all types of nature-bound activities — ranging from cycling and backyard camping to kayaking, rafting and golfing. In fact, the cycling (+63%), paddle sports (+56%) and golfing (+51%) industries reported tremendous YOY increases in sales. Heightened interest in activities such as bird watching and nature sightings prompted binocular sales to increase 22% YOY, reaching $16 million in June 2020.1
While the expansion of the outdoor industry makes it an attractive platform to advertisers, it also reveals a dichotomy: How can marketers meaningfully connect with audiences who are looking to disconnect?
Audio is the ideal companion for marketers who are looking to reach and engage outdoor enthusiasts. Here are three priority groups advertisers can connect with – whether these listeners are quietly observing bird species in a national park, or charting new waters with a canoe.
Millennials have surpassed Baby Boomers as the country’s largest living adult generation2, and are more likely than typical US adults to indulge in jogging/ running (+54%), snow skiing/ snowboarding (+42%), camping (+32%) and cycling (+23%).3
- AM/FM radio reaches a grand majority of millennials (89%), with most being heaviest/ heavy to medium radio listeners (62%). This group is also +51% more likely than average to listen to podcasts.3
- Post COVID-19, millennials have increased their overall audio consumption – OTA (+1.1 hours/ week), streaming OTA (+0.4 hours/ week) and podcasting (+1.2 hours/ week).4
More than one-third (34%) of the current outdoor consumers currently live in the cities.5 With 83% of US population living in busy urban areas, this cohort promises significant growth for the industry.6 As urban audiences yearn for calm, simplicity and activities that bring them closer to nature, audio platforms – AM/FM radio, streaming audio and podcasts, remain their trusted source of information. As Entercom’s Engaged Impressions study reveals, those audiences who trust audio for news, advertising and product recommendations are more likely to be urban.7
Health and Wellness Enthusiasts
With the pandemic, health and wellness is in the spotlight. People are craving timely, relevant and trusted content related to their well-being. 62% of U.S. adults have adopted some type of healthy lifestyle change since the onset of the pandemic.8 As consumers adopt new lifestyle habits, such as jogging/ running, fitness clubs or clean eating, they turn to podcasts to learn more about their interest areas. And they get hooked on what their hosts have to say! Entercom’s Engaged Impressions study shows that health and wellness podcasts are highly immersive,9 emotionally connecting with audiences and holding their attention.
With a growing body of research indicating that spending more time in natural, green spaces bodes well with one’s health and well-being10, stepping out with audio is a great way to de-stress. Whether listening to 104.3 The Shark in Miami, U.S. 101 in Chattanooga or podcasts like The Rachel Hollis podcast, audio listeners are making the outdoors, wellness and audio, the de-stress mantra of their lives.
1 NPD, June 2020.
2 Pew Research Center article: Millennials overtake Baby Boomers as America’s largest generation, April 28,2020
3 Nielsen Scarborough Research: Market/Release: Scarborough National Database 2020 Release 1 Total (Jan 2019 – May 2020), Base: Total Adults 18+ Projected: 257,715,351 Respondents: 215,475
4 Entercom’s Engaged Impressions Custom Study, Alter Agents, August-October 2020, Sample of n=1008 US Adults (P18-54), Completed in August 2020, Base: Gen Z (n=248), Millennial (n=355), Gen X (n=405), QM2. On average, how many hours do you spend in a typical week doing the following activities?
5 Outdoor industry association, 2020 Forecasting report
6 University of Michigan, Center for Sustainable systems
7 Entercom’s Engaged Impressions Custom Survey, Alter Agents, August 2020, online survey of n=1,008 P 18-54.
8 Parade and Cleveland Clinic Survey, n=1,000, P18-64, September 2020
9 Entercom’s Engaged Impressions Custom Neuro Study, Alter Agents, October 2020, Neuro study of content and advertising Based on n=107,186 data points from 111 participants Three groups of randomly selected media consumers in NY, Chicago and LA markets Completed in October 2020. Immersion scores predict action with an accuracy of >80%.
10 Forbes, De-Stress With ‘Nature Bathing’ When Job Pressures Are Too Much, November 2019