America Is Rediscovering the Outdoors
There has been much discussion about how the COVID-19 pandemic is going to change consumer behavior in the short term, and perhaps cause long-lasting change in demand for products. One very obvious change in my mind is that Americans have rediscovered the outdoors, since this has been established as the safest place to gather and socialize with friends or family while minimizing the risk of transmitting the virus. Since children were not attending school, families whom were desperate to find a safe activity outside of the home were also venturing out on hikes, walks, paddling expeditions, and bike rides. The friends I know in the cycling business have said that this has been the best year ever, which has created a significant shortage of bicycles and associated gear.
Retailers whom have recognized the trend, were quick to incorporate the message into their advertising and communications, and promote safe ways to enjoy fun activities. Camping gear retailers have also rode the wave, equipping people for adventures of all kinds into the great outdoors. Out on the roads, the traffic volume has certainly grown, as America does it’s best to celebrate summer, and travel away from home.
Closer to our interest in the industry, I also see this trend driving some business in kitchenware and specialty foods, with many families enjoying picnics and backyard barbecues where they can safely distance with friends and family. In this issue you will discover some of the latest additions to the outdoor entertaining category. I think there will be sizeable business to be had by retailers that merchandise and promote a selection of goods to make outdoor entertaining more enjoyable and even fashionable. The products I have seen from the tabletop industry made out of melamine that I have covered previously in our publication are far superior to what was being produced years ago. I find that’s it is often difficult to know without touching the product that it is not made our of ceramic or clay. It is now possible to set an outdoor table just as fabulously as you would indoors with your finest china. The Triton material is the closest thing to glass I have seen, and the beverageware that is being produced with the material will surely compliment the latest melamine to finish the table. In short, any consumer that has not purchased a recent outdoors entertaining product should see that the current batch of products are a significant upgrade.