The fishing tackle industry is agreed on two things. One is that, with COVID-19 transforming recreational habits, millions of new and returning anglers have engaged in fishing and boating.
The other is that retaining this new audience is essential if the industry is to turn this unexpected boom in participation into a long term win. The alternative is an opportunity wasted, a fact recognised by the Recreational Boating and Fishing Foundation (RBFF), the US organisation dedicated to increasing the number of people in the sport.
The RBFF’s recently published study – Casting a Wide Net: Identifying New Anglers and Boaters and Determining Tactics for Retention – seeks to avert the latter outcome by arming the industry with insights for engaging these potential new customers. “As we look ahead to 2021 and beyond, engaging with these newcomers will be an integral part of our industry’s continued success,” said RBFF President and CEO, Frank Peterson. “With that in mind, this new study provides data-backed insights to help fishing and boating organisations retain these non-traditional new audiences.”
Key findings from the report include:
• New anglers and boaters are younger, more urban and more diverse. They are also highly socially connected.
• Common reasons for getting started included cancelled vacations and summer plans, more flexible schedules while working from home and inspiration from families and friends.
• The three main motivators for this new audience are social interaction with loved ones, the challenge of the activities and the connection to nature.
• The biggest barriers faced by new participants include balancing other priorities, not having the proper equipment or not knowing about affordable options, not having enough experience or the lack of a fishing companion.
• 90% of new anglers and 94% of new boaters wish to continue these activities in the future. Ways for fishing and boating organisations to retain these new people include reminding them of the great experiences they had in 2020, highlighting convenient water access, providing beginner educational resources, emphasising the social aspects of fishing and boating and recommending cost-effective equipment.
The report also indicated that newcomers would be encouraged to continue participating if they could become better at catching fish, by having their own gear and by the interest of others around them. Reasons for diminished interest included work demands once COVID-19 is over, the resumption of other activities currently not allowed under COVID rules and the reliance on tackle owned by others.
Download the full report and infographics here.