Outdoor Retailer 2019: Summer Market


The Outdoor Retailer Summer Market took place in Denver, Colorado June 18 – June 20.  The Denver Convention Center was packed with top brands showing off their newest gear and designs.  All three days the Convention Center was packed.

On the surface this show seemed like the shows of the past; all the big-name outdoor athletes were in attendance, local politicians showed up to make a high profile appear, and an overwhelming amount of gear to check out; however, this year’s show had a different vibe.

The first notable difference was the presence of a new product:  CBD.  Enough companies representing different types of CBD products showed up, they had to have their own section.  A few CBD vendor have targeting the OR shows in the past, this year the floodgates had open. An entire section off the main floor was dedicated to this rising industry.  It appeared they were well received by the show visitors and I would expect the CBD vendors to be a regular the OR show going forward.

The next difference was a show-wide emphasis on sustainability.  While the environment and protecting our natural resources has always been an important part of the businesses and individuals in the outdoor community; at the 2019 show, it seemed to be everywhere.  Any booth that did not somehow incorporate the eco-friendly traits of its product in their presentation were in the minority.

Along those same lines of political activism, there was a lot of talk about tariffs.  Fueled by Governor Polis’ visit to the show and talking trade policy, there seemed to be many conversations that were centered around President Trump’s use and talk of tariffs.  It is understandable that companies that rely on cheap foreign labor to keep their profit margins up are against tariffs.

This year certainly felt like the year the outdoor industry starting to walk the talk of environmentalism and sustainability.  Hopefully this is the new normal and those who are influencers in the space can begin to lead a conversation that will spread the casual outdoor enthusiasts.

Top Gear: