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Bass Pro Shop's $5 billion aquisition nets fastest-growing online outfitter.

by Taylor Stanton - May 16, 2019

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With the announcement of Bass Pro Shop's $5.5 billion acquisition of rival Cabela’s, Slice Intelligence decided to wade into the online sporting goods market and see what trends we could catch. Data shows Bass Pro is reeling in 2016's fastest growing sporting goods retailer. Cabela's online sales from January through September this year have climbed 47 percent compared to the same period in 2015, outpacing both Dick’s Sporting Goods and REI.

While Cabela’s is the foremost outfitter in terms of growth, the retailer's online revenue is smaller than both REI and Dick's Sporting Goods. REI generated nearly four times as much revenue as Cabela's in the last 12 months, while spending at Dick's Sporting Goods' was 2.5 times the amount of Cabela's shoppers.

Cabela's can learn from REI's annual sale

As with most e-commerce merchants, Cabela's collects most of its revenue during the holiday season. REI also experiences a healthy holiday boost in November and December, but May is its biggest month. REI bucks the seasonality trend because of its popular anniversary sale, hosted each May in celebration of the retailer's founding. Shoppers spent 36 percent more at REI.com this May compared to last November, which is the second-largest month in sales over the past 12 months.

Millennials #optoutside and boomers love Cabela's

REI’s online dominance of the outdoor industry is driven by millennial shoppers. Over a third of the merchant’s buying population in the last year were between the ages of 18 and 34. By contrast, Cabela’s clientele is older. The baby boomers make up most of Cabela’s account for 37 percent of its shoppers. Interestingly, data indicates that Dick’s Sporting Goods' shoppers fall in the middle, as almost 40 percent of its online shopping population comes from Gen X.

Our take: Bass Pro's buy is happening at a great time

This $5 billion purchase may be coming in at a a good time for Bass Pro Shops. 

“From the perspective of the online business, the timing of the Cabela’s acquisition couldn’t have been better for Bass Pro Shops," explains Ken Cassar, principal analyst, Slice Intelligence. "Cabela’s.com is coming off of a year with terrific growth, with online sales up 47 percent. And Cabela’s has historically enjoyed significant holiday season spikes in its online business. Both brands also have sizable opportunities to expand their online positioning by branching out to younger customers and facilitating REI like annual sales."

About this data

With a panel of over 4 million online shoppers, Slice Intelligence gives the most detailed, and accurate digital commerce data available, and is reported daily.

Slice Intelligence is the only service to measure digital commerce directly from the consumer, across all retailers, at the item level, and over time. Our retailer-independent methodology precisely measures commerce as it happens. By extracting detailed information from hundreds of millions of aggregated and anonymized e-receipts, Slice can map the entire Purchase Graph, connecting each and every consumer to all their purchases.

Slice gets its data from e-receipts – not a browser, app or software installed by the end-user – so its measurement reflects comprehensive shopping behavior across multiple devices, over time which are key in an increasingly omnichannel retail world. Slice Intelligence is the exclusive e-commerce data provider for the NPD’s Checkout Tracking e-commerce service.