Long-standing camping equipment retailer, Outdoor World Direct, has reported its busiest summer ever this year, despite facing severe stock shortages and delays which saw the business only able to offer 30% of the stock it had pre-ordered from suppliers.
The retailer, which primarily trades online and has a showroom in Yorkshire, experienced unusually high demand for camping supplies this summer, with family tents and campervan awnings being particularly sought after.
David Scotland, who owns the family-run business which his dad Eric set up in 1999, reported a 60% uplift in sales, despite a large percentage of his summer stock never arriving.
“This summer has been one of the strangest I’ve ever experienced as a camping shop owner,” says Mr. Scotland, “demand for camping supplies has been higher than ever before — we even had people attempting to turn up during lockdown at the showroom earlier in the year, despite all non-essential shops being ordered to close. On the other hand, we’ve also faced huge stock shortages which made it impossible to fulfil the demand. Disruption caused by Covid-19, Brexit, production shortfalls and the Suez Canal blockage meant that key lines we ordered for Spring 2021 are now expected in early 2022 at the earliest. We’re experiencing stock delays of over a year on selected lines because the cost of shipping containers has more than trebled and it’s hit consumer goods retailers hard across all industries — like many retailers we’ve had to be really selective about what products to stock.”
Despite the challenges the industry has faced, Mr. Scotland is feeling confident about the future, especially because of a surge in popularity for caravans, campervans and motorhomes.
“With international travel being out of the question for most of us this summer just gone, many people have bought their first caravan, campervan or even tried tent camping for the first time,” says Mr. Scotland, “caravans and campervans are a long-term investment, they’re not something you buy and use once, for many it becomes a lifestyle so I think we’ll continue to see high demand for awnings and cooking equipment next spring, along with family tents which are always popular. However, supply disruption will definitely carry on into 2022, if not 2023, due to a shortage of production space, and the market being very clean of stock in the short term.”
Outdoor World Direct sells high quality camping equipment and caravan awnings from manufacturers – including Vango, Coleman, Outwell, Lichfield and more – via its website and Ossett-based showroom in Yorkshire.