Marketing, Sales, and Support

The Outdoor Market

We’re a society that takes sports—especially outdoor sports—very seriously. According to The New York Times, we take it seriously enough to spend almost $45 billion a year having fun, most of it out in Mother Nature. Who said you couldn’t make a living by having fun? Two of the fastest-growing outdoor sports are snowboarding and fly fishing.

The Fly Rod and the Dollar Trend

These are trends that business is taking seriously. An entire industry has grown up around each sport. The popularity of fly fishing has skyrocketed in the last few years. There are currently 8 million fly casters.

If you’ve priced fly-fishing gear lately, you’ve noticed that it’s quite
expensive. However, casters are paying the high prices. And if you look for trends within trends, you’ll notice that women casters are the fastest-growing element of the fly-casting population. An entire industry has developed around lady fly fishers.

The Snowboard and the Dollar Trend

When Sherman Poppin strapped a couple of skis together and created the first snowboard back in 1965 for his children, few knew it would take off like gangbusters. Poppin called his invention a "Snufer."

It started simple: a hill by the side of a road and a few old board-skis with straps. But in the last few years, snowboarding has become a major sport. In fact, it’s now an Olympic event. It currently ranks third or fourth in winter sport popularity. By the year 2000, it will likely be the most popular winter sport. In fact, experts are projecting that 90 percent of people on the slopes will soon be strapping on snowboards.

And yes, an industry has grown up around it. Careful trend watchers are capitalizing on boarding’s popularity. They were in on the ground floor—and now, of course, they are smiling. Snowboarding has increased 148 percent in  just a few years. In 1996, 2.4 million people boarded.

Trend watchers have made money by being on top of this new market. By the way, Japan is a new boarding market; in fact, it’s one of the fastest-growing new markets. Is it any surprise, then, that many major boarding companies are looking east with a great deal of interest?