New data points toward staycations remaining a popular holiday choice for Brits this year. Outdoor World Direct has reported an ‘unseasonably buoyant start to the year’ has received double the amount of orders expected for the month so far in January 2022.
January is typically classed as low season in the camping industry, however, the business has handled orders in quantities akin to May, which is unheard of.
Family tents and awnings have been the most in-demand products so far, with sales 100% higher than figures in January 2021, indicating a healthy appetite for staycation holiday parks and camping holidays again this summer. Last year saw campsites overwhelmed by bookings and camping equipment retailers struggled to keep up with demand, particularly as supply chain issues meant most of the anticipated stock didn’t arrive in time for the summer season.
Despite the supply chain issues Outdoor World Direct faced last summer, tent and awning sales were twice as high as a regular calendar year thanks to many Brits opting for a staycation.
David Scotland, owner of Outdoor World Direct, believes there are multiple factors at play reviving the ‘great British camping holiday’ for the second year running, including ongoing uncertainty around international travel and a new generation of campers born out of the pandemic.
“Uncertainty around other countries’ restrictions is still a huge factor as families want something they can look forward to that is less likely to be cancelled or rescheduled,” says David Scotland, “anecdotally, many customers who are aspiring to go abroad this summer are also planning a second or ‘back up’ holiday in the UK. At this moment in time, it is difficult to gauge how long these factors will continue to affect the industry, with rules changing all the time.
However, it’s not just holidaymakers stuck for options that are driving the trend. “We’re also experiencing high demand from families looking to replace cheap kit,” says David, “many tried camping for the first-time last summer, enjoyed it more than anticipated and are now upgrading their equipment to invest in an even better experience this year.”
In addition to first time campers (and banana bread bakers), some used the pandemic as an opportunity to invest in a campervan or caravan. Google Trends data revealed searches in the UK for ‘campervan’ and ‘caravan’ were higher in the summers of 2020 and 2021 than previous years, which explains Outdoor World Direct’s increased demand for awnings.
Although a positive start to the year is welcome for the travel industry, David Scotland warns those planning to buy new camping equipment need to do so as soon as possible as ongoing supply chain issues continue to plague the industry.
“It’s an incredibly challenging situation,” says David, “last year we experienced the highest demand of our 23 years of trading, yet we had large amounts of stock ordered for the 2021 season arrive too late for summer. We’re still receiving some of the orders due over a year ago but we know that stock is going to be a huge industry-wide issue again this year due to a myriad of challenges in the far east. The cost of shipping containers is extortionate and disruption to global production caused by lockdowns and material shortages are impacting the whole consumer goods industry. If you know you need a tent, awning or any other camping equipment for the summer, I’d buy it sooner rather than later. We’re also seeing price increases of 20% going forward into 2022 and 2023. It may well be advantageous for consumers to pick up a product before these price inflations come into force.”