Boost Your Brand This Summer with Game-Changing Outdoor Trends

Here are the top consumer trends to watch for (and tap into) this summer.

Summer is officially here, and with it comes longer days, warmer weather, more time spent with family and friends, and associated trends that brands can tap into to reach consumers where they are: outside. Acorn’s Strategy team sought out key moments where brands and retailers can utilize influencer campaigns to create ‘buy moments’ designed like an experience to drive conversions. From must-have adventure gear to eco-friendly grilling solutions, there's a wealth of potential to inspire consumers who are spending more time outdoors and seeking new adventures.

Getting Outside with Consumers

In a time of increased consumption of ‘little screens’ (smartphones), ‘medium screens’ (laptops/computers), and ‘big screens’ (TV), as coined on TikTok, consumers are looking to escape to the outdoors more and more. This year, interest in outdoor recreation grew to a record 175.8 million participants, or 57.3% of all Americans aged six and older, according to the 2024 Outdoor Participation Trends Report. The report further highlighted:

✋🏼✋🏽✋🏾✋🏿 Increasing numbers of participants of color are driving diversity across ethnic/racial categories in outdoor recreation.

🏳️‍🌈🏳️‍⚧️ Members of the LGBTQ+ community make up 11.3% of the outdoor participant base (19.9M) and continue to be the most active adult group in outdoor recreation.

🚣🚶‍♀️‍➡️🔭 ‘Casual outdoor participants’—those that participate casually in at least 1-5 activities—comprise 40% of all participants. They’re motivated to get outdoors to connect with nature, spend time with friends, boost their mental health, and have awe-inspiring, shareable experiences.

🚴‍♀️ 🥾 🎣 The top activities that get people outside include hiking (day), fishing (fly/salt/fresh), running/jogging/trail running, camping (car, backyard, and RV), and biking (road/mountain/BMX).

 

Social media platforms have become avenues for sharing outdoor experiences, where enthusiasts and experts share their adventures and discoveries. With summer being a prime season for outdoor activities, brands can meaningfully integrate trends into their campaigns to drive audience engagement. Highlighting key outdoor moments can inspire niche audiences, from experts to novices, by providing ideas on what to bring and how to prepare for the next adventure. Consider trends like simple packing tips for long trips, ASMR outdoor cooking, “how-to” content/demonstrations, outdoor activities (both local and aspirational), and preparation for fall.

 

And don’t forget to use trending hashtags to boost visibility and attract a broader spectrum of outdoor enthusiasts. Our predictions for trending hashtags this summer? #adventuregear #campingneeds #outdoormusthaves #exploreoutdoors #gearupandgo #outdoorcooking #woodworking

If You Can’t Stand the Heat, Get Out of the Kitchen

Grilling enables consumers to escape hot kitchens, serve up their favorite summer cuisines, and enjoy time outdoors in their backyard, while camping, or elsewhere. In fact, 79% of U.S. adults own a grill or smoker, and 70% say grilling is their preferred cooking method during the summer. While grilling may have garnered feelings of ‘how do you do this?’ in the past, social media has made this type of meal preparation more user-friendly, with tips, tricks, and delicious recipes just a search away.

 

Walmart and Acorn recently brought this insight to life through an on-site spring grilling event. Acorn cast celebrity chef Aaron Brown (@smokinandgrillinwithab) as the event host, where he developed approachable recipes and grilling tips, supporting a wide range of Walmart products.

 

This campaign included dozens of videos (like the one featured on the right), images, and a session on Talk Shop Live, a live streaming platform with a built-in buying experience. The comprehensive approach included content creation and social media amplification, highlighting the ease of grilling and positioning Walmart as the go-to destination for grilling needs. 

Brands beyond meat and grilling equipment can also capitalize on the art of grilling by exploring trends that fit into a variety of niches. Grilling has expanded beyond the typical backyard BBQ, with consumers throwing their favorite side dishes, vegetables, fruits, and plant-based favorites on the grill. These trends open the door for brands typically outside the grilling space to inspire audiences to get creative with their outdoor meal preparation

Consider These Additional Trends for Your Next Campaign

 

🌶️ Fusion of flavors: Promote products that allow consumers to explore exotic spices, sauces, and marinades, creating a fusion of tastes that brings the world to their backyard.

💰Money-saving recipes: Influencers can showcase how to create great-tasting meals without breaking the bank, highlighting cost-effective ingredients and techniques that maximize flavor and minimize expenses.

♻️ Eco-grilling: As environmental awareness grows, eco-friendly grilling practices are becoming more popular.

🥂 Hosting occasions: Provide inspiration and solutions for hosting memorable occasions, from themed parties to casual family dinners. Offer tips, recipes, and products that make entertaining easy and enjoyable.

🏕️ Gourmet camping: Target this niche by promoting products and ingredients that allow campers to enjoy sophisticated meals without extra equipment.

 

Golden Opportunity for Brands

By identifying and integrating these key moments into their strategies, brands can create memorable experiences that resonate with consumers, drive engagement, and foster brand loyalty. The summer season is ripe with opportunities for brands to connect with their audiences in meaningful ways, from the backyard to the great outdoors. Whether through influencer partnerships, targeted social media campaigns, or innovative product offerings, the potential to inspire and captivate is sizzling. So, gear up, embrace the trends, and get ready to make this summer one to remember.

Want to learn more about integrating influencer activations into your summer programs? Connect with us on LinkedIn or reach out directly.


Written By

Lola Behrens


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