You are here

Study: Outdoor as U.S. economic driver

Published June 20, 2012

WASHINGTON, D.C. (BRAIN)—The outdoor recreation market drives $646 in annual U.S. spending and supports 6.1 million domestic jobs, according to a report released Wednesday by the Outdoor Industry Association.

Further, the outdoor industry generates $39.9 billion in federal tax revenue and $39.7 billion in state and local tax revenue, states the report, titled “The Outdoor Recreation Economy.”

The OIA breaks down the total spending thusly: $120.7 billion in product sales (apparel, footwear, equipment, vehicles, accessories, services) and $524.8 billion in trips and travel-related spending (food/drink, transportation, entertainment/activities, lodging, souvenirs/gifts/miscellaneous).

In a breakout of outdoor activities, the report estimates more than $10.5 billion in annual spending on gear, accessories and vehicles by bicycling participants, plus about $70.1 billion in trip-related sales.

“During a time when some American industries are struggling, we are seeing solid growth,” said Will Manzer, CEO of outdoor retail chain Eastern Mountain Sports and chairman of the OIA board of directors. “Since 2005, the outdoor recreation economy has grown approximately 5 percent annually. In fact, outdoor recreation supports a significant number of jobs, on par with—or, in some cases, more than—other sizable American industries.”

Executives from leading outdoor recreation companies are calling on policymakers to take action to promote their industry as an important part of the U.S. economy, and OIA held a briefing on Capitol Hill Wednesday with Sen. Mark Udall, D-Colorado, Rep. Charlie Bass, D-New Hampshire, Brunswick Corp. CEO Dusty McCoy and Manzer.

“As a horizontal industry in a vertical nation, outdoor recreation is often overlooked,” Manzer said in a release. “However, outdoor recreation directly fuels major sectors of the American economy like manufacturing, hospitality and transportation. Just like any other sector of the U.S. economy, outdoor recreation needs support to continue to thrive.”

Click here to download the full report.

Join the Conversation