Outdoor Retailer Summer Show 2024 Retrospective

Outdoor Retailer Summer Show 2024 Retrospective

July 1st, 2024

The Outdoor Retailer Summer Show 2024 was a fun and educational experience, especially if you are a fan of the great outdoors!

Patrick von Holt
  by Patrick von Holt

Outdoor Retailer Summer Show 2024


Industry insights, great people and some really cool brands - The Outdoor Retailer Summer Show was a fun and educational experience, especially if you are a fan of the great outdoors! Looking back on the event, while there were some mixed reviews, I found my time in Salt Lake City was well spent. From industry updates, emerging trends, and networking opportunities with both established and up-and-coming brands, ODR 2024 had plenty to offer!


Outdoor Industry Insights


The opening day was marked by an industry speaker who provided a sobering overview of the current state of the outdoor industry. For the second consecutive year, the market has seen a decline, with an overall decrease of 3%. This downturn is more pronounced in specific segments, such as specialty gear, which has dropped by 9.7%, equating to a $4 billion loss. Also notable, equipment sales are down by 16% (think roof-racks, snowboards, bikes, etc). 

Like many other industries, prices are starting to hit a ceiling and consumer behavior is putting pressure on businesses to drive prices down and offer steep discounts. Year-to-date, 31% of units sold year-to-date were on promotion, with an average discount of 28%. Another great example of this is Target’s recent decision to reduce prices on 50,000 products in its catalog.


Industry Opportunities


A key takeaway from the opening day speaker’s address was the potential to engage the “casual” market—consumers who are not yet deeply invested in outdoor activities but show interest. Attracting these consumers will require a strategic approach with a strong emphasis on value for their money. 

A notable exception to the market decline is hydration products, which are more and more popular. This segment presents a valuable opportunity for brands to capitalize on increasing consumer interest and focus on health and wellness.  


outdoor show floor


The Digital Commerce Perspective


If you sell outdoor gear, there is a 95% chance you are using Shopify. Self-service was the most popular reason for the platform selection and it is clear that Shopify has attained the coveted brand status of “household name”. With platform selection out of the way, innovation and optimization have become the focus.

Some topics that came up frequently were…


Conversion Optimization

Driving more sales is on everyone’s mind, but what can merchants do to increase conversions, average order value, and other key metrics? There is no simple answer to this question, but digging into the data is always a good place to start. How are shoppers finding your website? Where are they dropping off? What is your competition doing differently? 

My advice on this front is to start by asking lots of questions - the answers will start to show themselves.


Wholesale and B2B Ecommerce - 

B2B ecommerce remains a fertile frontier and was a popular topic at ODR this year. How do I train my wholesale customers to buy through my website? What do my wholesale customers expect when buying online? How are 3rd party pricing apps different from Shopify Plus’s B2B suite? 

In its most basic sense, catering to your B2B customers online can be a light lift; however, depending on the scale of your business, this can turn into a much larger endeavor. Just like the topic of CRO, asking the right questions is a good place to start. 


ADA Compliance

From 2022 to 2023 there was roughly a 40% increase in the number of ADA lawsuits filed against ecommerce businesses. Surprisingly, a large percentage of those lawsuits were filed against merchants using overlay apps that are meant to be a quick resolution to WCAG requirements.

Accessibility is a topic we are passionate about here at Sunrise Integration. Protecting merchants from lawsuits and ensuring your website is accessible for the differently abled are both worthy pursuits. Ensuring your website is accessible has all sorts of waterfall benefits too! Proper image tagging can lead to improved SEO. Easy to read text and keyboard navigation creates a better experience for everyone. Having an Accessibility Statement lets your visitors know you care and are seeking feedback. The list goes on.


I will refrain from going into a sales pitch here, but needless to say, these are all topics and inflection points where brands can benefit from a Shopify-specialized agency. We are here to help! 😀 


patrick show floor


Beyond the Show with Shopify


After a busy first day, Shopify welcomed everyone at the show to a reception with great food, drinks, music and an opportunity for more casual conversation. In addition to being a major sponsor of the event, Shopify also worked with the team here at Sunrise Integration to facilitate connections at the show and sponsor a Sunrise Integration event after day two. 


A special thank you to Shopify for their support in Sunrise Integration’s event at Bad Caddy Golf. While this was a much more intimate event compared to Shopify’s grand opening, we had the chance to really get to know the folks that came out, dig into their ecommerce goals and make some new friends.


Innovation abounds!

It is hard to pick favorites, but there are three products that truly stood out from the crowd:


Lava Gel Oven - This Flame-Free outdoor cooking system is portable compact and weighs less than 1.5 pounds including 3 meal charges. When activated by water, this product can completely cook a meal for you in 7-10 minutes. Use outdoors, on road trips, to prepare for the unknown, or anywhere you could use a hot meal. In addition to the Lava Gel Oven, Lava Gel has virtually endless applications. Learn more about this revolutionary product at www.LavaGelOven.com. 


Chalkless -  Chalkless’ unique formulation absorbs oil and repels moisture on the skin’s surface to deliver unprecedented, enhanced grip for competitors of all levels. It goes on in seconds, lasts for hours, and washes off with soap and water. From tennis players to musicians, construction workers to quarterbacks…gymnasts to special forces…people are now realizing that “grip” is a thing, and a crucial factor in optimal performance.” Learn more at www.Chalkless.com


or chackless


Heat IT -  Thanks to Heat It, you can treat itchy insect bites within a few moments with your smartphone. To relieve itching & pain, the affected skin area is briefly heated to around 124 °F. This chemical-free principle of local hyperthermia is medically confirmed.

It's as easy as 1-2-3:

1) Plug it into your smartphone port

2) Start the treatment and place it on the bite

3) Feel the itch relief!” Check out www.heat-it.com to learn more.


Honest thoughts and “the word on the street”


My experience at The Outdoor Retailer was largely positive, but I did get the sense that some attendees were a bit underwhelmed. While this was my first year at the event, the word on the street was that turnout was lower than expected, and the representation of large brands was notably lacking. Considering market and industry trends, this seems understandable. 

As a big fan of spending time in the mountains, it was easy to make new connections and generally have a great time. Three days of face-time with outdoor brands has left me with a solid understanding of the latest products, trends and challenges in the market. I will also say that this is a very dog-friendly event and lets be honest, that makes everything more fun!


What’s next?


The Outdoor Retailer Summer Show may have highlighted some of the current challenges facing the outdoor industry, but it also underscored the potential for innovation and growth. My big takeaway is the need to adapt to a changing market landscape by focusing on value-driven strategies and tapping into emerging trends. We look forward to applying these lessons in our work and helping our clients thrive in an evolving market.

Tags:   events   retail