Many businesses are challenged with maintaining their sales momentum in 2022 and the fishing equipment and kayak markets are no exception. U.S. sales revenue for fishing equipment declined by 14% from January through May 2022, versus the same period last year, according to Retail Tracking Service data from NPD. Fishing kayak sales declined by 38% over the period. Sales in both categories remained significantly higher than they were before the pandemic, but both are now faced with a reduction in consumer demand.

Slowing demand is not the only challenge for the fishing equipment and kayak markets, as it is now coupled with inventory growth – something we’re seeing across all of retail. In fact, the U.S. Census Bureau noted that retail inventories are currently at their highest levels since March 2018. NPD retail tracking of specialty retail channels confirms that this inventory situation is occurring across numerous sports equipment categories, including fishing kayaks. As of April 2022, inventory levels were 44% higher than they were pre-pandemic in 2019.

With declining demand and increasing inventories, retailers must take action to address this challenging scenario. Discounting will likely be a response to this challenge but there are better solutions, especially for peripheral product categories appealing to the same consumer. Rather than straight-up discounts, add-on sales strategies are an effective way to increase revenue, while also growing customer loyalty. For example, for those buying fishing kayaks, it’s entirely reasonable to expect they would also be interested in fishing equipment and may be intrigued by a cross-category promotion offering a discount on additional fishing-related purchases.

For sports equipment manufacturers, there are three enormous benefits to bundling products for consumers engaged in a particular activity:

  1. Increased revenue – Add-on sales strategies can help manufacturers increase revenue, by encouraging customers to buy additional items. At its most basic level, a retailer that offers a discount on fishing gear when buying a kayak or another expensive item will boost the bottom line, even while margins for each sale are lower than originally planned. Additionally, the revenue gained by this approach can be reinvested into other product categories, which can keep both the retailer and manufacturer from getting stuck with outdated products in their inventories.
  2. Improved customer loyalty – For brands that have business across product categories, add-ons create brand loyalty because the consumer comes to associate the brand with the activity itself.
  3. Increased efficiency – Add-on sales strategies can help brands make the most of each customer interaction, resulting in increased efficiency and productivity. With fewer employees working in retail due to low unemployment levels, this efficiency is especially critical for success.

In this retail climate of lessened demand, reduced staffing, and increased inventories, add-on sales strategies are an effective way to boost revenue and grow customer loyalty. The fishing equipment and kayak businesses should consider implementing add-on sales strategies to increase sales and improve efficiency. Using sales data can assist in the execution of these strategies by helping retailers and manufacturers identify the right pricing for their add-on promotions, determining the timing of these promotions, and helping to identify the right product mix to offer. Carefully reviewing these elements can preserve revenue and pique consumer interest during challenging times.