Trends for 2022 in the outdoor leisure sector
What are the trends you expect to see during 2022?
Over the last year, we’ve seen a surge in people undertaking outdoor activity for their health and mental wellbeing, particularly exercising during periods when getting outdoors was somewhat restricted. With working from home and hybrid working becoming the new norm, we expect people are likely to take more short bursts of exercise by having a walk or run, to take a break from screen time and to click the reset button in-between meetings.
Sustainability is a big topic of conversation right now and with consumers becoming far more environmentally conscious, we expect that this will impact our behaviours and create greater respect for nature and wildlife.
What's going to stay the same between this year and 2022?
This year has certainly seen new habits being formed, with greater emphasis placed on getting outside, going for a walk and building a greater connection with the local environment. I expect that staycations will still be a big factor for 2022 with increasing uncertainty around foreign travel and going abroad, and this is likely to bring a greater emphasis on exploring and discovering new areas of interest.
When gyms were closed during lockdowns, as a nation we relied upon outdoor activities as a replacement. During this time new habits were formed resulting in a stronger affiliation with the mental and health benefits of exercising outdoors. We expect this will result in more and more people walking, running and cycling outdoors. At OS we see this as a key emerging trend, continuing certainly into the near future.
Our paper maps have always been relatively consistent with sales of around 1.7 million a year, but one of the biggest areas we’ve seen a spike is the number of subscribers in our OS Maps App, increasing 78% during the pandemic. With millions of individual routes covering 30 million miles, this shows that users are not just following OS routes but continuing to add their own.
What can you expect to see from OS in 2022?
There's a number of exciting things that the consumer team are working on – firstly expanding our offering by launching our award-winning OS Maps App in new and international territories following the success in Australia this year, with future roll-out planned throughout 2022.
Another area that we're looking at is our e-commerce capabilities and giving customers the tools they need to quickly and easily find the right kit and equipment to enhance their outdoor activities.
What would you like to change in 2022?
I’d love to see more inclusivity around the outdoors. The outdoors is there to be enjoyed freely by anyone and yet that’s still not the case with many people feeling either uncomfortable exploring new areas or who struggle to access the outdoors. One question we should all consider is ‘How do we open up the outdoors to be much more inclusive’?
Secondly, we’ve seen key advances in the world of technology with a lot of emphasis on the metaverse. Augmented reality technology will become much more prolific in terms of our outdoor experience, and at OS we’re already exploring new ways of enhancing the great outdoors and ways we interact and navigate certain routes to further enhance that outdoor experience.
There are certainly some very exciting times ahead!