The Survivalist Niche: How Preppers are Helping Grow a Multi-Billion Dollar Industry

The Survivalist Niche: How Preppers are Helping Grow a Multi-Billion Dollar Industry


The Doomsday Prepper

Not everyone thinks about it, but we are faced with potential threats every single day. Those who do think about it are out there prepping (some going even as far as hoping) for the worst.

Before the modern life-easing conveniences that we have today, planning for the months ahead was a matter of survival. For instance, in place of colder climes, people had to preserve food grown in the summer in order to eat and survive through the winter. Those who did not were guaranteed extreme hardship or death.

People have been prepping for hard times ahead since as far back as we can trace the footsteps of humanity. People who did not think and plan ahead simply did not survive. The success of our ancestors was completely dependent on their ability to adapt and to prepare for the future.

To cite an example closer to the present day, the 20th century was also a prime time for survivalist practices as well. The Cold War brought about the real fear of nuclear war between the emerging world superpowers. In response, people built their own bomb shelters and stockpiled food and other supplies in preparation for the worst.

Today, we face the hovering threat of global warming, drug-resistant microbes, rising sea levels, social and economic instability, to name a few things that place the future of humankind into a place of murky uncertainty. As people find themselves faced with a possibly chaotic future, more people are turning to learn survivalist techniques and spending more money and resources on acquiring survivalist gear. While it turns out that there is no data to track the growth of survivalism in recent years, it turns out that in the United States alone, there are over 3.7 million people who consider themselves survivalists or preppers.

A prepper is the popular term used for a person who practices emergency preparedness. This can extend to anything from natural disasters, economic collapse, pandemics, terrorism, food shortages, and the apocalypse and the complete downfall of humanity as we know it. The survivalist niche is intense, and there are dozens of varying doomsday related anxieties a person could have.

Being prepared for emergency situations or the end of the world is not cheap. At the very least, a doomsday prepper will need to be equipped with basic survival needs such as food, clothing, and shelter. Given that there are close to 3.7 million people who are willing to spend money on disaster preparedness, assuming that each person spends $1000 dollars on survivalist merchandise, the expense amounts to 3.7 billion USD.

If you are trying to find a growing niche with a passionate and eager following, then the survival niche may be it for you. If there is one thing that will not go out of style or fall out of trend, its humanities drive to survive when faced with uncertainty and adversity.


How fear and uncertainty is driving sales

The media plays a strong hand in fanning the flames of societal anxiety and fear with never-ending news coverage of global tragedies, resulting in the ever-growing ranks of the survivalist. The internet plays a big part in spurring the movement, with more websites, blogs, online forums, and podcasts that help spread resources and information to old-time survivalists as well as making it easier for the would-be survivalist to become capable and adept in survivalism in a short period of time.

The prudence of a prepper is based on realities you will find today. Think of the three big hurricanes of 2017, Harvey, Irma, and Maria, back to back, that brought in widespread death and destruction to the United States. There are also many instances of terrorism around the world, economic uncertainty, civil unrest, and the sudden and barely controllable outbreak of a disease like Ebola that took place between the years 2013 and 2016.

It’s all too real and kind of scary and the fear is precisely what is driving the survivalist niche up to billion-dollar heights. You would be hard-pressed to find a niche that is as driven by fear and emotions as the survivalist and prepper niche. The fact that what primarily drives the people who are a part of the survivalist niche is fear and anxiety about the future could mean a successful business for any interested entrepreneur.

Considering the fact that survivalists need to be prepared for an incredibly diverse range of disastrous outcomes, preppers have multiple reasons or instances that drive their need to purchase gear. Every time elections are held, a natural disaster occurs, or mass tragedy takes place, you will find a spike in sales in survival gear.


What preppers are buying?

Preparing for calamity and even the end of the world involves long-term and carefully considered hoarding. If you are thinking about starting an online business under the survivalist niche, you will have no end to the nifty products and product categories you can work with to cater to the needs of preppers. 


1. Food

A vital necessity all humans need in order to survive. On average, a human being can survive three weeks without food and three days without water. Clean food and water is one of the first things a survivalist should stock up on first. Food a survivalist might need that you can sell online include:

  • Dehydrated goods. A typical home-cooked meal won’t be practical or even possible in certain emergency situations. This is why dehydrated food is so popular with preppers. lasts a long time and it is also a viable resource for you to sell online It.
  • Nuts and Seeds. Nuts and seeds are also an all-time favorite when it comes to an emergency food pantry that you could distribute online. You can sell individual classes of nuts or trail mix, peanut butter, and popular nut butters.
  • Crackers. Crackers last far longer than bread, so they are perfect for long term storage and are generally great for storing in case of emergency situations.
  • Granola Bar and Cereals. Granola bars and cereals last long in storage. It fills people up while, is usually fortified with vitamins and minerals, and can be enjoyed in a handful of ways.
  • Shelf Stable Milk and Juice. Shelve stable liquids last longer than the average beverage you get from your local supermarket. Shelve stable milk and juices have a long shelve life and only need to be refrigerated after they are opened.
  • Multivitamins. Nutrition is hard to come by during emergency situations. So, stocking up on multivitamins is something that all prepares need to have in store.
  • Water Purifier. As we said, a person can only survive 3 days without water. Water purifier kits are a top priority item for emergency preppers and outdoor survivalists.

    2. Clothing

    Clothing is another basic survival need. Clothing protects us from the cold, the sun, from wounds and other injuries. Dressing to survive is just as critical as storing food. Here are general categories of clothing you can sell online:

    • Clothing that Protects from the Sun. UV rays are harmful and deadly if you are exposed to them for a prolonged period of time. Sun protective clothing can be a necessary asset in survival situations for people who plan to travel to or live in a hot location.
    • Clothing that Protects Against the Cold. Pro tip: you can’t survive if you’re freezing to death. Not being prepared for the cold is a guaranteed fatal mistake to those who are unprepared. Protective clothing against cold conditions is a must-have for preppers and outdoor survivalists.
    • Insect Repelling Clothing. Insects are potentially problematic in outdoor survival situations, as many of them are poisonous or are carriers of a deadly disease. Insect repellent clothing is specially designed to repel and prevent insect bites and is an asset to survivalists.
    • Survival Footwear. Protecting your feet is important in survival situations. Surviving without footwear will limit mobility and put you at risk of injury. Selling special reinforced footwear for the outdoors with features like an anti-slip, anti electric shock, and puncture-resistant shoes are good choices.

      3. Tools

      Tools have always been essential to mankind’s survival. Possessing an array of tools is not considered optional for preppers and outdoor survivalists. There are basic tools that have been around for a long time but there is also no end to the cool inventions and neat designs for survival tools entering the market every day that survivalists and regular Joes are eager to get their hands on.

      • Fire starters.  Being able to start a fire can be one of the most important things a person needs to do in order to survive the cold, predators, and order to cook food or sterilize equipment. There are a number of fire-starting tools you can include in your online store, for instance, the fire starter knives, stormproof matches, tinderboxes, and more.
      • Survival Knife. A survivalist cannot call him or herself a survivalist without a multipurpose knife. It is a critical item that should not fail you during critical times. A survival knife is useful in many survival situations. The ideal survival knife is strong, sharp, and should be able to cut through tough material easily.
      • First Aid Kit. The first aid kit is an invaluable and critical item that is necessary not just for survivalists, but for anybody. Selling complete general first aid kits will be a great multi-function tool to include in your online shop.
      • Multitool. Every survivalist has a multitool in their survival kit. They are highly flexible tools that can be used in everyday situations as well as in survival situations. They are lightweight and can be carried easily in your pocket, strapped to your belt, or inside your survival kit or bug out bag. There are thousands of cool multitools available online.
      • Sleeping Bags. A warm, comfortable, and protected place to sleep at night is essential to the survivalist, so sleeping kits are a basic necessity, and this includes sleeping bags. There are numerous types of sleeping bags on the market to suit different survival needs and situations.
      • Survival Hatchet. Multi tools are great, but dedicated tools like the hatchet are necessary for harder jobs, like cutting wood, which could be lifesaving. Make sure to include an array of dedicated survival tools into your online shop.


        Over the next few years, the demand for survivalist goods is likely to keep growing steady as long as the uncertainty of the future remains strong. So if you are trying to find a growing niche with a passionate and active following, the survivalist niche is a strong bet. If there is one thing that will not go out of style or fall out of trend, it’s humanity's drive to survive and conquer adversity.

        What are your thoughts on the survivalist or prepper niche for your ecommerce business? Ecommerce Pro would like to know. If you have a project in mind, contact Ecommerce Pro today. Together we’ll share ideas and discuss the advantages of the various profitable niches that can benefit you and your online store.