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Outdoor recreation market in the United Kingdom (UK) - statistics & facts

Outdoor recreation refers to a wide range of recreational activities that take place in an outdoor setting. They are generally pursued for enjoyment, for the challenge or for the health and fitness benefits. In addition to being able to appreciate natural environments, outdoor activities can also contribute to the development of skills such as social, team building, or problem-solving skills. Traditional examples of outdoor recreational activities include hiking, camping, mountaineering, cycling, canoeing, caving, kayaking, rafting, rock climbing, running, sailing, skiing, scuba diving, and surfing.

Outdoor sports practices

Between 2020 and 2021, when the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic was having a particularly significant impact on daily life, the sports participation rate in the United Kingdom (UK) suffered a decline. Non-professional team sports had to be stopped, and many gyms and leisure centers closed their doors for several weeks to curb the spread of the virus. However, the sports participation rate in the United Kingdom was boosted by outdoor sports activities. According to a Statista survey on sports and fitness conducted in the United Kingdom, the most popular outdoor sport practiced by Britons in 2021 was cycling. As for the most popular outdoor watersports in the United Kingdom (UK), the latest figures released by the Royal Yachting Association (RYA) showed that spending time at the beach, coastal walking, and outdoor swimming were the most popular activities for Britons.

Sports & outdoor e-commerce

In the eCommerce industry, the sports and outdoor market segment consists of leisure products linked to sports and outdoor activities. It also includes clothing, shoes, and sports and outdoor equipment. According to the Statista Market Outlook, the number of users in the sports and outdoor segment in the United Kingdom was estimated at approximately 17 million in 2021. Figures are expected to increase further in the coming years, supported by health and wellness interests, but also the drive of digital and the increasing popularity of connected equipment, which makes outdoor recreational and sports activities attractive and engaging for users.

Technological advancements in outdoor recreation

Connected watches, technological sportswear, sports equipment using the latest technology: the sports and outdoor market is constantly innovating and trying to meet every budget. However, larger budgets are certainly required for new products using the latest technology. In fact, the income of users in the sports and outdoor market in the United Kingdom (UK) was between medium and high levels in 2021. Looking at the age and gender of British users in that segment, three-quarters of them were between 25 and 54 years old and the market was mostly represented by men in 2021.


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