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Brief Published: 8 May 2017

America Outside: US Fitness & Outdoor Trends

In 2016, outdoor activity in the US saw a 2% increase

Two separate reports conducted by the US-based Outdoor Foundation and Sports, Fitness and Activities Association confirm nearly half of Americans aged six and above participated in at least one outdoor activity in 2016. Highlights from the studies include:

  • Outdoor Adventurers: From 2015-16, outdoor activity in the US saw a 2% increase, with 1.6 million Americans participating in an outdoor sport. Caucasian youths and young adults made up the largest group of participants, with US-Hispanics the second most active outdoors. Across groups, participation in sport was split evenly between men and women.
  • Sports Spend: According to US-based public education and advocacy alliance Research!America, sales of sporting goods amounted to $64bn in 2015 – an annual growth rate of 2.3% over five years. While overall spending on sports decreased over the next 12 months, a slight increase of around 1-2% did occur in the areas of gym memberships, travel to and from a sport or activity, winter sports, outdoor recreation and individual sporting events, compared to the previous year.
  • Popular Pastimes: Running and jogging remain the most common solo outdoor pursuits, while stand-up paddleboarding has seen the biggest popularity surge. However, spending on team sports including baseball, ice hockey, rugby and swimming took the biggest hit, falling by 8%. Aspirational athletes (who currently don’t take part in sports, but would like to) showed a preference for outdoor recreation over indoor sports, fitness and leisure activities. Regardless of age, aspirational participants listed camping among their top three most appealing outdoor activities.

For more on consumers’ shifting approach to physical fitness and the great outdoors, see Nature Embracers and Millennial Fitness Update.