Y2K was officially the first time that survivalism gained mainstream awareness, followed by another peak right before 2012. But if you thought the survivalist movement wasn’t as strong as it’s ever been, you’d be wrong. In fact, the survivalist market is not only still going strong, but is a thriving multi-million dollar industry. Let’s take a closer look at the economics of the survivalist market and where it’s heading.

Look at the Survivalist Market

There are an estimated 3.7 million Americans who consider themselves survivalists or “preppers”, a play on the word preparation. These are people who go far beyond the preparations FEMA recommends, such as having a five-day emergency kit on hand.

Nearly four million dedicated preppers are quite a market, and this isn’t counting campers and sports enthusiasts who may buy some of the same gear. Military supply shops certainly advertise to the prepper market to reach new potential customers as well.

There is also a wide variety of dedicated survivalist/prepper expositions being held every year. The NPS Expo, for example, had four thousand attendees in its first year. And this isn’t the only survivalist expo in the U.S. The Self Reliance Expo is similar in size, and there are many smaller expositions held across the country.

While there are people selling everything from freeze dried food to shelters, education is a major part of the industry. That’s why there are many very popular blogs related to survival and preparedness. Survivalist sites like Mom With Prep are rising in popularity, and there are hundreds of them.

Factors Driving the Survivalist Market

According to an industry poll, the top three concerns for preppers were economic collapse, electric grid failure and natural disasters. Fear that the global economic chaos will trigger economic collapse or that U.S. debt will cause the national economy to implode is what is fueling some of these fears. Scattered power outages seen after massive storms are also a major cause for concern. Natural disasters always cause a spike in interest in prepping, whether it is the 2010 Haiti Earthquake or Hurricane Katrina. And even without major natural disasters, there is a significant demand for survivalist gear coming from campers and the increasing number of people living off the grid.

Survival in Popular Culture

One reason why survivalists and preppers are going so strong is because their views are going mainstream via the entertainment industry. In 2000, the “Survivor” series made its debut. The show attracted more than fifty million viewers during its 2000 season finale. This show can be considered the pioneer for a whole new genre: survival entertainment. “Survivorman” was rolled out in 2004. “Man vs Wild” came out in 2006. “The Colony”, a group survival show, came out in 2009. All of these shows bring the concept of preparedness and survival to the forefront and demand is increasing.

Survivalists are seeking both information and supplies to prepare them for potential disasters. They are proactively preparing for the worst as insurance for themselves and their families. And many businesses are cashing in by supplying this ever-growing demand.


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