Millennial Hiking Trend Report UK
Written By: SportsShoes
Each year brings with it new and exciting trends that impact exactly how we keep fit; from the rise of yoga and spin classes, to combat sports and boxercise. Year on year, we seem to savour finding new ways to push our bodies to the limits.
At SportsShoes we pride ourselves in keeping at the forefront of the biggest trends in the industry and we have been monitoring online search behaviour of different outdoor activities to discover that hiking has seen a steady increase in interest over the past five years. And this interest is being driven by the millennial generation, with over a third of all hiking-related online searches performed by people aged 18-30 (Source: AudienceView).
Curious to find out more about why millennilas are being drawn to hiking, we surveyed 2,000 18-35 year olds to discover their attitudes towards the outdoor activity. Our findings are below:
The Appeal of Hiking to a Millennial Audience
Straight away, we were able to find just how popular hiking could be set to become within the age group, with a staggering 81% of millennials stating that they would consider taking up hiking as a hobby. Out of those, almost one third (31%) told us that they ′definitely′ would consider taking up hiking as a hobby!
When quizzed on the reasons why hiking might appeal to them as a hobby, it was the combination of escaping to nature and being able to exercise while you’re at it, that is winning most millennials over to hiking. The top five appealing factors of hiking being:
- It’s a good form of exercise: 65%
- The views you can see: 55%
- It’s a good way of experiencing nature: 53%
- Escaping from daily life: 48%
- It’s a perfect way to disconnect from technology: 36%
Beyond this top five, we also found that standing out on social media is a driving factor for almost a third of millennials. With 29% of them admitting that hiking would appeal to them as they could take photos to post on their social media channels. (See our report on Instagram and hiking here)
This visual impact of hiking has also made a difference to those that already do it as a hobby, with over 1 in 10 current millennial hikers telling us that pictures on social media were what inspired them to start. In addition to this, hiking friends, family and a love of nature were found to be equal inspirations for current hikers – each inspiring 38% of millennial hikers.
When speaking to millennials that do already hike, it was clear that heading to the hills with your walking boots on is indeed a new trend, with the majority (31%) having started less than a year ago.
Hiking or Netflix?
To truly ascertain how popular hiking is becoming, we looked into other hobbies that are known to be popular with a millennial audience. From going to the gym, to watching Netflix or simply flicking through apps on a smartphone – how does hiking stack up?
Really well is the answer, with many millennials preferring heading out for a hike, over sitting down to a boxset or hitting the gym. Our main findings were:
- 31% would prefer going for a hike, than hitting the gym
- 29% would prefer a hike than going shopping
- 29% would also prefer a hike over watching Netflix
- 28% would prefer hiking to heading out on a run
- One quarter (25%) would prefer a hike to going clubbing
The Influence of Hiking on Fashion
Netflix aside, we also found that many millennials feel that the rise in popularity of hiking has had an impact on UK fashion trends, withover a third (36%) noting that the popularity of outdoor brands for day-to-day fashion has increased – coinciding with the new hiking trend.
It was also felt by nearly half (44%) that activewear itself has become more stylish – something that should enable the social media savvy to stay stylish out on the hills!
Hiking Knowledge in a Millennial Audience
While it’s great to see hiking on the ascending in popularity, it also goes without saying that hiking is an activity that requires proper preparation and knowledge, especially if the weather takes an adverse turn.
With this in mind, we quizzed our millennial audience on some hiking fundamentals, finding that:
- wouldn’t know what to do in an emergency
- are currently worried about getting lost during a hike
- feel that there are no good hiking spots near them
- feel as if they don’t have time in their schedule to go hiking
- cannot currently read a map
In addition to this, we found that without technology, coming close to half (39%) of Britain’s millennial population would be unable to read a map.
These concerns, coupled with a potential lack of knowledge, tell us that there is a need for those early in their hiking journey to familiarise themselves with the necessary equipment and actions to take on a more troublesome hike.
For this reason, we’ve launched our very own Outdoor Hub, a space that will be regularly updated with tips and advice for hikers of all levels. Head there now, to find out more.