NPD said sales of camping gear experienced double-digit growth in 2015.

After record-warm weather last November and December, retailers bemoaned the impact on outwear. And recent data from The NPD Group showed that outerwear sales fell sharply during the fourth quarter.

But the data also revealed a jump in the sales of camping gear as well as a consumer shift in outerwear toward lighter, layered outer from heavy overcoats. As a result, NPD said annual outerwear sales “were flat and camping-related equipment helped to grow the outdoor industry in 2015.”

“Outerwear performance is dependent on the weather,” NPD researchers said in their report. “A record warm 2012 and one of the coldest winters in 2013-14 drove annual 2013 outerwear sales up 9 percent, but in 2015 sales suffered as a result of a warm fourth quarter. Though outerwear sales peak in November and December, the category experienced a 6 percent decline during the fourth quarter of 2015.”

Simultaneously the camping segment, “which usually generates the highest sales during the warmer months of May and June, saw strong growth continue through the fourth quarter, with a 13 percent increase in sales during this time.” NPD said the boost in sales of camping gear was due to warmer temperatures as well as “heightened interest in the activity.”

Matt Powell, vice president and sports industry analyst at The NPD Group, said “despite the atypical weather, there is still a shift taking place when it comes to consumer preference for outerwear, which is altering the category landscape.”

“Driven by the Millennials, consumers are choosing lightweight puffy jackets and multiple layers that incorporate new technologies as opposed to traditional, heavy winter coats,” Powell said. “Consumers are doing more with less; rather than purchasing specific products for every season or activity, they are buying adaptable and multipurpose items.”

Powell noted that “following the new Millennial pattern, the camping industry is doing a solid job at promoting the unconventional; driven and embraced by consumers, the industry has responded to the less-traditional, modernized and urbanized side of camping.”

For retailers positioned in the camping segment, business has been good. Although Dick’s Sporting Goods, for example, struggled in the fourth quarter due to the warmer weather, the company said on a call with investors that the outdoor category “comped relatively flat in the quarter.” The retailer said it also “saw strength in lifestyle camping, paddle sports and sport games, offset by a decline in hunting.”