As water sport season draws near, sales of recreation kayaks were up 21 percent, or more than $42 million, and 18 percent in unit sales in the 12 months ending February 2016, according to figures from The NPD Group. Looking at the top items that make up this increase, the vast majority of those items are fishing kayaks.
“Compared to stand-up paddling, which has become a saturated multi-channel market, there is still uncharted territory within the kayak market, and many manufacturers have found an opportunity in fishing kayaks,” said Matt Powell, vice president and sports industry analyst, The NPD Group. Most major kayak manufacturers now offer top-notch fishing kayak options, and this is driving up sales for the category.”
The necessities and accessories that go along with kayaking have also been performing well, demonstrating the broader impact that kayak sales have on related categories. During the period, sales of kayak paddles, as well as water sports wet suits and water shoes and sandals accelerated.
“Retailers and manufacturers that will have the most success in this space are those who focus less on selling, and more on engaging with consumers through the experience,” added Powell. “I suspect that generational factors will play into kayak sales, especially fishing kayaks. As more Boomers—who tend to be outdoor enthusiasts and favor human-powered recreation—retire and free up their time, I expect that fishing kayak sales will continue to grow.”