Many Americans Opt to Climb Mountains over Corporate Ladders in 2015

REI Survey Reveals Enthusiasts Want to Spend More Time Outside and Inspire Others to Follow in Their Tracks with Holiday Gift Purchases

Nov 6, 2014

As the holiday season approaches, REI is gearing up to meet growing demand fueled by outdoor enthusiasts’ wish lists and New Year’s resolutions. The co-op today announced the results of a survey[i] offering new insights about consumer motivations, preferences, and shopping plans.

According to survey findings, two in five American adults are outdoor enthusiasts, participating in outdoor activities at least once every three months. In the next year, 73 percent want to spend more time outside – seven times greater than the number who want to spend more time on career building. Outdoor lovers also want to pass their interests on to others.

“Our customers give gifts from REI to share the joy that comes from being outdoors, and we want to enhance these experiences,” said Doug Schmidt, divisional vice president of Retail at REI. “We look forward to helping people achieve their goals in the new year, whether they hope to break records, connect with nature, or simply spend quality time with friends and family.”

REI’s survey explored three key areas:

Why outdoor enthusiasts love to be active

  • It’s about wellbeing: Overall, the main motivators for spending time outdoors are fun, fitness, and stress relief – far outranking thrill seeking.
  • No. 1 motivators differ by generation: While fun is the top driver to get outside for Millennials, it’s stress relief for those ages 35-44, a tie between fitness and stress relief for ages 45-59, and fitness for ages 60 and up.
  • It’s a resolution you can keep: In contrast with common aspirations like losing weight, enthusiasts believe spending more time outdoors is achievable.
  • “Working out” is simply a means to an end: Sixty-seven percent say they exercise regularly in order to enjoy outdoor activities.

What’s on their wish lists

How they’ll shop this season

  • Simplicity rules: Over 70 percent of enthusiasts plan to keep it simple and give gift cards or money.
  • It’s a tie with tech: They’re as likely to give gifts that get others outside as they are to buy them the hottest high-tech gadgets.
  • Bricks and mortar still matter: Sixty percent of those shopping at outdoor recreation retailers with a brick-and-mortar presence will opt to visit the physical store. Nearly half say they want the advice of experienced staff.
  • “Self-gifting” runs rampant: Eighty-four percent admit to making “self-gift” purchases – potentially due to the fact that 73 percent have previously received a gift they’ve never used. Over half say they’ve re-gifted.

To find the perfect gifts for the outdoor lovers on your list, visit

View the complementary survey infographic at

About REI

REI is a $2 billion national multichannel retail co-op headquartered outside of Seattle. With more than five million active members, REI serves the needs of outdoor adventurers through innovative, quality products; inspiring classes and trips; and integrated customer service that allows shoppers to buy great gear and clothing in any way they want. REI has 136 stores in 33 states and and Anyone may shop with REI, while members pay a one-time $20 fee to receive a share in the company’s profits through an annual member refund based on patronage. Membership in the co-op also includes special promotions and discounts on REI Adventures trips and REI Outdoor School classes.

[i] Research was conducted within the U.S. by independent market research company Edelman Berland on behalf of REI from October 10-14, 2014, among 1,099 outdoor enthusiasts age 18 or older. The margin of error for the audience is ±2.95 percent at the 95 percent confidence level.

About the REI Co-op

REI is a specialty outdoor retailer, headquartered near Seattle. The nation’s largest consumer co-op, REI is a growing community of 24 million members who expect and love the best quality gear, inspiring expert classes and trips, and outstanding customer service. If you can’t visit one of our many stores, you can shop at, REI Outlet or the REI shopping app. Everyone is welcome to shop REI, but members who join the co-op enjoy a range of benefits. More than a retailer, REI is a purpose-driven and values-led company dedicated to enabling life outside for all.