After the camping explosion, the first spring is ushered in.
After three years of the epidemic, the niche project of camping has continued to go out of the circle, seizing the market share of many homestays and hotels, and gradually opening up the minds of consumers.
But with the end of the epidemic, the revival of the tourism industry is causing a certain degree of impact on the camping industry in 2023. Multiple camping enthusiasts and camping bloggers, “The number of campsites participating in this year has decreased.”
The “2022 Research Report on the Integrated Development of China’s Cultural Tourism and Camping Industry” shows that the growth rate of the overall market size of the camping economy will reach its peak in 2022. As the impact of the epidemic eases and the market recovers, the overall growth rate of the camping market will slow down and show a downward trend.
However, the overall growth rate of the camping market is still relatively high, and the industry predicts that the overall size of the domestic camping market will reach 178.14 billion yuan in 2023.
Since the end of last year, after the country issued industry-related opinions and policies, at the beginning of this year, major tourist attractions began to add camping projects. This is also a manifestation of the private economic capital of the “market team” driving the government’s “national team” in reverse.
At this year’s ISPO Beijing 2023 (Asian Sporting Goods and Fashion Exhibition), 223 exhibitors and 368 domestic and foreign brands participated in the exhibition, an increase of more than 50% compared with last year’s ISPO.
The founders of many camping brands have a point of view that the domestic camping category has a huge room for growth, with at least 3 to 5 years of growth.
Especially this year, the domestic camping market has reached a critical point and is about to usher in a turning period of reshuffle.
The “missing” campsite
After the popularity of camping, there have been endless disputes about camping to seize the share of homestays and hotels.
The biggest difference between hotel homestays and camping is that camping can be moved, and it is not limited to a certain scene, while homestays and hotels are fixed assets that require renovation and asset management.
The operation of the campsite is more lightweight.
On the one hand, camping once became the most profitable business in the camping industry. Due to the rapid development of the industry and imperfect regulatory standards, a large number of companies in the market have characterized the camp business as “arbitrary fees for enclosing a block of land”. These “cutting leeks” behaviors have also seriously damaged the entire market ecology.
In late November last year, 14 ministries and commissions including the Ministry of Culture and Tourism, the Ministry of Public Security, the Ministry of Natural Resources, the Ministry of Housing and Urban-Rural Development, the Ministry of Emergency Management, and the Forestry and Grass Bureau jointly issued the “Guiding Opinions on Promoting the Healthy and Orderly Development of Camping Tourism and Leisure” “, which mainly puts forward guiding opinions on the development of camping equipment, and clarifies the development of camping land and how to use and manage it.
However, compared with foreign countries, domestic infrastructure, related policies and land administration relations have not yet been perfected.
Shi Zhengnan, the co-founder of Dare Wilderness, pointed out in an interview, “This directly leads to the instability of land use, because the follow-up policy may change. The guidance of the ministries and commissions comes out, and it is implemented in various places, and then some specific management measures There is still a process to come out.”
Therefore, there are hidden risks in the site selection and construction of domestic campsites along with rapid growth.
From a commercial point of view, camp operations are not easy. Just the site selection criteria for camps will exceed 50 factors. Enterprises also need to consider the cost of camp rental, the number of days that can be operated, and so on.
Shi Zhengnan, the co-founder of Dare Wilderness, said that from land levelling, gravel paving, parking lot, fire safety, service center, to prefabricated containers, toilet showers and other infrastructure, all these need to be built by the camp itself.
Too many uncertain factors determine that the payback cycle of camps varies greatly. The fastest payback period is two weeks and ten days, and the slowest is several years or even a loss.
Hot Wilderness was the first to get the first wave of customers online, and it worked smoothly with the hotel in Sanya at the earliest. Shi Zhengnan said, “Because there is no hard rental cost, he once paid back the cost in ten days.”
The repurchased orders of hot wilderness camps come more from light outdoor demand and catering scenes. Because the cost is relatively lower, the “overnight” just-needed package is the product line with the most orders and repurchases.
At present, on the whole, the number of high-quality campsites around domestic cities is scarce.
“The penetration rate of camping in Europe and the United States is very high. There are 70 to 80 million people who play at least once a year. In terms of infrastructure, there are only about 2,000 camps in China, and there are about 30,000 camps in the United States alone. The quality It is also better than domestic ones.” Shi Zhengnan.
For campgrounds, the coverage of consumption scenarios is far more important than the number of campsites.
Shi Zhengnan believes, “This year, domestic camping brands can start out with 100 camps, but no more than 5. An ideal state is that camping can be everywhere. When hotels, service areas and leisure areas in scenic spots are also An interactive camping scene can be set up, and everyone can enjoy the third space of ‘camping’.”
For example, car camping is also emerging. Many car companies such as Ideal and Xiaopeng have localized the concept of camping and created more functions that serve the family scene. The integration of camping companies and car companies is also accelerating. But the camping market is difficult. Unlike the domestic coffee market ten years ago, it is not a product, and not all places can be commercialized.
Shi Zhengnan pointed out that the business of camping localization services can only be successful in certain specific scenarios, such as the fission of social marketing. But it is not realistic to launch a new platform for booking camping services now. After all, the frequency of use is far lower than that of takeaway and taxi.
Domestic vertical outdoor camping platforms have not appeared before, but now there are very few with a loud voice.
It is difficult to create a platform-level company in the segmented track of camping, and it is difficult for users to acquire customers to place orders through a self-built system. At this stage, there are very few vertical platforms on the market to do things related to the entire camping industry.
Among them, although there are a few platform organizations such as the camping social product Minye CAMP, they will soon face competitors from all walks of life, including Fliggy, which has occupied the minds of users at a certain time, Ctrip, Douyin, Xiaohongshu and other large-traffic platforms, as well as small platforms with small businesses but precise operations.
Comparing the development of the camping market in Europe, America and Japan, some mature camping information platforms will appear only after the camping brands and products mature. For example, HipCamp, which created a campground reservation platform, can provide users with more refined campground searches, and is now known as the “camping version of Airbnb”. Obviously, the domestic camping information platform is still in its infancy.
Players are getting more and more advanced, domestic products have not kept up
Experienced camping players are smaller than most camping enthusiasts. One of the major psychology of camping is “advanced”, becoming an equipment party, and paying more and more attention to the modification, upgrading and refinement of camping equipment and tools.
Some players are becoming more and more advanced, but the product strength of the domestic camping market has not kept up.
China’s characteristic advantage lies in its excellent supply chain and its ability to fulfill contracts. Under this, it can be seen that domestic camping products, especially outdoor energy storage products, are updated very quickly. However, in the outdoor product industry, products have long lacked production standards, and a large number of camping equipment has been complained about and imitated.
“Except for a few senior players, the vast majority of consumers do not understand the functional characteristics of products in this industry. It is not easy for consumers to perceive the differences of the products themselves. Many advanced camping products are only available in extreme environments. Only in the specific usage scenarios can consumers experience functional differences.” Xu Guoqing, founder of KingCamp.
Xu Guoqing is one of the first batch of outdoor camping entrepreneurs in China. The KingCamp he founded started making family camping equipment in 2002 and has more than 40 patented technologies. Before the epidemic, it mainly targeted overseas markets and exported to 46 countries, but now it focuses on domestic markets.
Xu Guoqing told Titanium Media APP, “The most troublesome thing this year is the planning of the product team, especially the recruitment of product managers.” Because the camping industry is too small in China and there are too few talents, more product managers can only rely on himself. In-house cultivation.
There is a consensus that there is a shortage of product design talents in the camping industry. Tiana, founder of Camplus, a new outdoor lifestyle platform, said, “In the camping industry, a good design talent can easily transfer to other industries.”
However, companies that make camping products are about to usher in the knockout competition. In the end, everyone wants to be the next “lululemon”, gradually upgrading from product to lifestyle brand.
Of course, the camping industry also has its own “Michelle Ice City”. For example, Primitive, which ranks among the top ten domestic outdoor camping brands by revenue, focuses on cost-effective products, and the price is aimed at the mass market. In 2022, its sales will double year-on-year.
The founder of Primitive, Li Pengcheng, is positioned as Xiaomi in the field of domestic outdoor equipment. This year, we have increased our “exhibition” at industry exhibitions to upgrade our brand.
Domestic camping, in fact, has just begun
Compared with the camping market in Europe and the United States, which began to mature and regulate around 2000, and the quality was upgraded around 2010, the Chinese camping market is only in the stage of forming a consumption trend in 2020.
Xu Guoqing, founder of KingCamp, said that before the epidemic, there were thousands of outdoor brands in China, but no more than 10 achieved annual revenues of over 100 million yuan. In fact, the current camping market is still in a very early stage of development, and there are at least 3-5 years of growth.
According to the “2021-2022 China Camping Economy Industry Status and Consumer Behavior Data Research Report” released by iiMedia Research Institute, the scale of China’s camping market will increase by 18.6% year-on-year to 35.46 billion yuan in 2022.
Some fast-running leading brands and manufacturers are already investing in downstream camping companies. Mu Gaodi has invested in the hot wilderness, and the tent manufacturer Voluntary Boting Tourism has invested in the Hi King wild luxury camp.
Some investors pointed out to Titanium Media APP that the camping market is a very fragmented market, and the market size of a single brand is limited. To give a vivid example, a management group with multiple sub-brands like Huazhu Group may emerge in the camping market, but it is difficult for a brand with a large market share and scale to emerge. At the same time, camping companies will definitely develop along with the traffic platform.
“Layering” is the key word for predicting the future development of the camping market, and the entire camping industry will soon enter a new period of reshuffle.
Looking at the domestic camping market structure based on the development history of Japanese camping, some top camping brands in Japan account for about 10% of the market share. At present, in the domestic camping market, no company can achieve such a market share. This means that there are still opportunities for leading companies to emerge in the camping market.
This will be a very competitive stage.
Foreign companies are already making plans. The Hoshino Resorts under Hoshino Group in Japan started a hotel-plus-camp model in China last year.
In October last year, the Japanese outdoor lifestyle brand Snow Peak (雪诺应克) announced the cooperation with Ren En (Beijing) International Business Management Co., Ltd. and CITIC Juxin (Beijing) Capital Management Co., Ltd. (Citic Trust PE) to establish in China The joint venture company “Snowbike Nature (Beijing) Culture Development Co., Ltd.”, whose business scope includes commodity sales and experience services, is expected to start operating in the first half of 2023.
There is a former executive of a large outdoor company, and it is not difficult for real estate and hotel groups to start a chain camp. In his opinion, camping is actually still waiting for a big boss who really has funds and understands marketing to rush in.
From the perspective of channels, most domestic camping brands have not yet built their own factories because of the variety of camping products and the high threshold for capital. Right now, the offline channels of camping brands are still in the early stages of development.
Xu Guoqing, the founder of KingCamp, said that because the epidemic affected the offline real economy, KingCamp had closed hundreds of offline stores in China, but now he is reconsidering whether to lay down offline channels.
Li Pengcheng, the founder of Yuanren, focuses on the layout of offline channels this year, and exhibitions and Douyin are becoming important ways to expand offline channels.
For camping players, after the wind blows, it is not easy for young people to simply have fun through camping. Some groups who choose BC camping to escape city life will continue to exist, while for other urban exquisite camping users, their entertainment options will only increase.
It is foreseeable this year that after the bonus period, the first batch of players will be eliminated in the camping market.
After the turmoil, the real problem for camping companies is how to move from incremental to stock operation. The real challenge will also gradually emerge after the recovery of the epidemic. In the further future, the trough of the stock is often the source of breakthroughs and innovations.
When most people stop following the trend and only pure players remain, camping has only just begun.