Increasing popularity of indoor climbing has sparked new interest in the activity, says researchers at NPD Group, helping the industry to grow by 13 percent in the 12 months ending January 2017. The industry has grown its sales by $52.9 million since 2014, reaching a four-year high of $175.5 million.
Climbing gear, the largest category making up 81 percent of total dollar sales, grew by 13 percent, with climbing shoes (+28 percent), quickdraws (+26 percent), and cams (+24 percent) among the growth drivers. Sales of climbing ropes and helmets grew by 8 percent and 6 percent, respectively.
“Climbing, a traditionally outdoor experience, is exploding indoors via climbing clubs and gyms around the country, and is even popping up in sporting goods stores and on university campuses,” said Matt Powell, vice president and sports industry analyst, The NPD Group. “Once reserved for capable enthusiasts seeking a ‘man versus nature’ challenge, climbing has become an outlet for social activity and a new form of working out. With climbing now officially part of the 2020 Olympic Games, I expect that this trend will continue gaining in popularity and participation.”
“While the core outdoor enthusiast will always exist, a new consumer base of families and friends seeking unique ways to have fun are exploring outdoor markets like climbing. As the number of participants continues to increase and grow more diverse, retailers and manufacturers will need to develop and market product differently than ever before,” said Powell.