When fashion states, “go fish,” consumers head to the outdoors with bait, tackle, and of course sensible, sporty style of dressing.
It all started in 2020 when the COVID-19 pandemic confined consumers to their houses, and nature was one of the only safe and easily accessible recreational activities.
Outdoor apparel and equipment retailer L.L. Bean said its fishing segment grew 4% percent last year compared to 2019. L.L. Bean also stated that its ice fishing category surged by 20%, and the segment for the 2020 fly fishing season, which runs from May to September, increased by 60% over the previous year.
A boom in the Fishing Industry (Outdoors)
According to Charlie Bruder, the vice president of merchandising at L.L. Bean, the recreational fishing business was already booming before the pandemic. However, it has gained more entrants in the last couple of months, increasing its growth.
“In 2020, Americans connected with the outdoors in large numbers, with fishing seeing significant growth among both experienced anglers looking for more time on the water and beginners looking for new ways to spend time outside. The Outdoor Industry Association also stated that Freshwater fishing gained 3.4 million new participants in 2020.”
Interestingly, the new enthusiasts in the fishing industry include younger generations., most of whom have been influenced by the widespread popularity of fishing as a recreation. This is because fishing is a great way to interact with nature while also having a lower entry barrier than other outdoor activities in terms of ability, expense, and accessibility.
And since the pandemic seems to be surging, fishing might be the best way many can free themselves of stress. Sometimes going out and spending time fishing might be the best stress reliever.
Meanwhile, with over 45 million sport anglers in the United States, William says fishing has grown to become the nation’s most popular outdoor activity. Therefore, fishing’s economic benefit is quite significant, with annual retail sales exceeding up to 50 billion dollars. Relatively, fishing can be done as a social distancing activity.
According to Williams, 90 percent of current anglers began fishing as children and were introduced by an older family member.
“Introducing fishing to younger demographics is critical for the industry. This has been true for several years, but with increased participation, the love of fishing is being passed down to an increasing number of young people. We see a trend here.”
Is Fishing Becoming a Unisex Recreation?
Initially, fishing used to be a male-dominated activity. Nevertheless, Ash Williams, vice president of marketing at Grundéns, a performance fishing apparel brand, says the gender gap has declined in recent years, with women accounting for 46 percent of anglers.
“Participation among girls aged 13 to 17 increased by 6%, the highest increase of any female age group. COVID-19 has aided in this increase in female involvement.”
Why Fashion and Fishing are Tied
Fashion-conscious beings are on the lookout for new clothing and footwear.
“We’re also witnessing great sell in our apparel products that are specifically designed for sport anglers. Also, forays into the footwear market have been very successful, with the recent introduction of our SeaKnit Boat Shoe, designed from the deck up,” says William.
Similarly, like any sport, when it comes to fashion, utilitarianism is the dominant philosophy. Since sport anglers are increasingly seeking performance, they need waterproof, breathable, and lightweight products to have the best fishing experience. The days of bulky, non-breathable outwear that restricts free movement are long gone.