Over 82% Who Went Outdoors For First Time Will Stay Engaged In Outdoor Activities As Restrictions Lift

MARBLEHEAD, MASS. (May 13, 2020) – While Americans have followed “stay at home” restrictions, an entirely new consumer group discovered outdoor experiences for the first time, while following social distancing rules, according to a survey fielded last week by CGPR, a consumer active lifestyle agency owned by French West Vaughan. Most importantly, over 82 percent of these individuals said they will continue to stay engaged in outdoor activities after restrictions are lifted, paving the way for increased participation.

“The silver lining is that new people discovered the peace and sense of balance that outdoor activities may bring,” said Chris Ann Goddard, founder of CGPR. ”During the past few weeks, we saw unprecedented numbers of people enjoying a wide variety of past times including activities such as taking walks, flying kites, riding scooters, going on bike rides, walking their dogs or running on the beach. Getting outdoors, as we have seen, is as simple as walking out your back door. The fresh air and sunshine that has lifted us all will continue to do so. This gives us optimism for the future.”

Survey respondents were divided into those new to outdoor experiences and enthusiasts who regularly participated in outdoor activities. For novices, the top reason for going outdoors was exercise, followed by getting sunshine and fresh air and, lastly, walking the family dog. When asked what were the key factors why they hadn’t gone outdoors before: 59 percent said lack of time; 29 percent said lack of knowledge about what to do outdoors; 18 percent said price of gear and/or apparel; and 12 percent said lack of access.

For enthusiasts, when asked if COVID-19 impacted how they enjoyed the outdoors, over 60 percent said it had changed how they engaged in outdoor activities. Over 70 percent of this group of devotees said post COVID-19 they will be more careful, cleaning equipment and practicing social distancing.

The health and psychological benefits of outdoor activity have been a frequent topic amongst outdoor retailers, media outlets and data firms, most recently with L.L.Bean’s Op Ed authored by Chairman Shawn Gorman, “Social distancing doesn’t mean staying inside. It does mean taking up space differently outside.”

Harris Insights recently noted: Tech can’t replace the need to get outside: As Americans search for ways to reduce anxiety and feel motivated and productive, they are finding outdoor exercise is one of the best cures – positively impacting mental state more than any tech-enabled behavior examined (video calling, online learning), etc.”

To capture the emotional and physical benefits and the ease of getting outdoors, CGPR, in partnership with French West Vaughan, turned to its friends and family asking them to share their favorite outdoor activity. The result is a video, “Reach Out”, that is being released today to celebrate these simple pleasures. The video showcases outdoor experiences of all kinds including walking, hiking, canoeing, surfing and swimming among other activities.

Categories: Research