Outdoor Industry & the Hispanic Market: A Match Made In Heaven

There are few industries that have not fully embraced the business case to invest in the Hispanic Consumer Market. With a median age of 28 and a buying power that’s on the rise, there is no denying the commerce and consumption opportunities this market represents. The Outdoor Industry — which includes a wide range of outdoor experiences such as camping, cycling, trail running, kayaking, hiking, etc. — has begun to realize the importance this segment will play not only in regards to industry growth, but to it’s overall sustainability.

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Earlier this month, business partner Liz and I, had the great fortune of attending the Outdoor Retailer Winter Market in Salt Lake City, Utah at the invitation of the Outdoor Industry Association, the largest trade organization of outdoor industry professionals.

We were invited to experience the event in preparation for a speaking engagement at the upcoming Outdoor Retailer Summer MarketAugust 5-8. Some of our favorite exhibits included Adidas OutdoorNorth FaceKeen FootwareAhnu, and Patagonia. And we met many incredible startups, retailers and even climbing superstar Kevin Jorgeson! However, what we didn’t see, were many other people of color.

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The current lack of ethnic diversity within the industry is probably no big surprise. Multicultural populations historically have been rooted in the urban centers across the country and most do not have familial or cultural outdoor traditions. Our family “camping” trips typically meant piling into the family station wagon and heading to the coast to enjoy a few days of baloney sandwiches in our motel complete with kitchenette.

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The good news for the industry is that there is an entire generation of Latino Millennials thirsty for new experiences and to create new family traditions. And this isn’t just any generation. This generation represents 21% of the entire Millennial population and 25% to 50% in markets such as Los Angeles, Miami, Houston, New York and Chicago. They are also growing in traditional “outdoor” markets such as Atlanta, Indianapolis and Charlotte. I have no doubt that once Latino millennials “discover” the beauty, wonder, health and entertainment benefits of an outdoor lifestyle, they will quickly embrace it as their own.

The question is…..what brands are willing to be their outdoor ambassadors and invite Latinos to join in the fun? I have my own ideas. Would love to hear what you think!

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