The 2014 Special Report on Fishing, issued by the Outdoor Foundation and the Recreational Boating & Fishing Foundation, shows that 15.8% of Americans over age 6, or 46 million people enjoy fishing. While this represents a slight drop over the past few years, industry experts see encouraging trends in the new data. Analysts say that more women are trying the sport and more ethnically diverse consumers are going outside with fishing rods and poles to see what they can catch.
Fishing is considered a gateway activity in terms of introducing more consumers to the outside world and to helping them learn more about protecting the environment. While about 36% of consumers plan a fishing trip with less than 1 week of lead time, about 12.4% plan as far ahead as one month. In the past year, 54% of fishing enthusiasts purchased gear and equipment related to the activity.
Many consumers also divide their time across several types of fishing:
- Freshwater and saltwater 6.8 million (consumers)
- Freshwater and fly fishing 3.6 million
- Saltwater and fly fishing 1.9 million
- Freshwater, saltwater and fly fishing 1.6 million
In the last year, at least 41.9% of all new fishing participants were female. Historically, females have comprised about 34% of fishing participants. Industry experts note that retailers should reach out to Hispanic consumers with promotional messages. Currently, only 7.7% of all fishing participants are Hispanics, which means they are underrepresented as they comprise 17% of the country’s population. However, 9% of surveyed non-fishing Hispanics have indicated an interest in trying this pastime.
Consumers say they were motivated to try this activity for the first time because they wanted to:
- Experience excitement/adventure 49.4%
- Spend time with family 47.1%
- Try to catch their own food 29.4%
- Access solitude 28.2%
AudienceSCAN reports that over 50% of fishing participants have children living at home. And, they over-index as rural residents. This audience shows a higher than average rate of participating in camping and hiking, exploring nature, and spending time on the water. Fishing supply retailers should consider connecting with this audience via email advertising or newsletters as fishing participants who saw these types of messages in the past year were more likely than average to start an online search.
AudienceSCAN data is available as part of a subscription to AdMall for Agencies. Media companies can access AudienceSCAN data through the Audience Intelligence Reports in AdMall.