2008 Annual SNEWS® Specialty Outdoor Retail Survey: Top-selling brands for climbing, paddling and snowsports

Welcome to Part 3 of the 2008 SNEWS® Outdoor Retailer Survey summary, where outdoor specialty retailers get to speak their minds and offer industry observations and commentary on what is great, good, not so good and desperately needs improvement in the industry. As we announced last week in Part 2, the full survey results, complete with expanded and detailed analysis of each category's results, will be presented to our Full Access SNEWS subscribers over the next two weeks in sections, with this week focusing on best-selling outdoor brands in the climbing, paddling and snow categories.
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Welcome to Part 3 of the 2008 SNEWS® Outdoor Retailer Survey summary, where outdoor specialty retailers get to speak their minds and offer industry observations and commentary on what is great, good, not so good and desperately needs improvement in the industry. As we announced last week in Part 2, the full survey results, complete with expanded and detailed analysis of each category's results, will be presented to our Full Access SNEWS subscribers over the next two weeks in sections, with this week focusing on best-selling outdoor brands in the climbing, paddling and snow categories. If you missed last week, click here to read Part 2 of our annual survey, the "2008 Annual SNEWS® Specialty Outdoor Retail Survey: Top-selling outdoor brands for camping and backpacking."

Although SNEWS sends the survey to hundreds of outdoor specialty retailers all over the country, this survey is by no means scientific in its approach. We do believe the results are quite representative of the outdoor specialty retail market as a whole, and those surveyed are consistent from year-to-year, so comparing answers from past surveys presents a useful picture of trends, market conditions and retailer moods -- one of the most useful features of this survey. It is very important to remember as you read the results for top-selling brands below that retailers are not predisposed to selecting a brand. They are each presented with a question and a blank. It is also important to note that just because a brand is not listed in this survey does not mean it is not selling well. It just means that it was not a top seller in responding stores -- either by perception or reality.

OK, let’s get on with the results:

The Climbing Department

Of the stores responding to the survey, 63 percent told us they carried climbing equipment, a 20-percent jump over last year due in large part to the drop in the number of stores who were paddlesports-only or resort stores that responded in 2007, but not in 2008. Of those who responded to this category, 34 percent told us they do not carry climbing apparel. And while we wondered a bit about who the leader in the climbing shoe category was last year, La Sportiva returned to a most dominant position with 38 percent of those responding singling out the company as their best-seller. In climbing harnesses and hardware, no surprise really: Black Diamond Equipment continues to dominate. And, Prana simply owns the climbing apparel category hands down. As for climbing ropes, shuffling continues in a very diverse category. It will be interesting to see what the loss of Beal from the mix will mean to one or more of the companies in next year's survey.

What are the top-selling climbing hardware brands this year?

Black Diamond Equipment – 70.5%

Petzl – 15%

C.A.M.P. USA – 4%

Mammut – 3%

What are the top-selling climbing shoe brands this year?

La Sportiva – 38%

Five Ten – 15%

Evolv – 14.5%

Mad Rock – 6%

Mammut – 6%

Scarpa --- 5%

What are the top-selling climbing apparel brands this year?

Prana – 51%

Patagonia – 4%

What are the top-selling climbing rope brands this year?

Blue Water – 27%

Sterling – 19%

Black Diamond Equipment – 15%

Petzl – 15%

Mammut – 12%

Beal – 7%

Edelweiss – 4%

What are the top-selling climbing harness brands this year?

Black Diamond Equipment – 58%

Petzl – 19%

Mammut – 7%

Singing Rock – 3%

Arc'Teryx – 3%

*Tied companies are listed randomly and all are considered statistically equal in terms of ranking. All answers have been rounded up to the nearest 0.5 percent, and since we don’t name every single company name or category with a percent, the percentages may not total 100 percent.

The Wintersports Department

Fifty-one percent of the stores responding to our survey told us they carried snowsports equipment, continuing the year-over-year increase that began in 2006. Still, it appears this is primarily driven by retailers carrying snowshoes.

What are the top-selling telemark / AT ski brands this year?

Do Not Carry – 44%

K2 – 19%

Black Diamond Equipment – 19%

G3 – 4.5%

Atomic – 4.5%

Fischer – 4.5%

Volkl – 4%

What are the top-selling telemark boot brands this year?

Do Not Carry – 44%

Scarpa – 24%

Garmont – 14%

Dynafit – 4.5%

Crispi – 4.5%

Fischer – 3%

What are the top-selling cross-country ski brands this year?

Do Not Carry – 29%

Fischer – 20.5%

Alpina – 15%

Karhu – 9.5%

Rossignol – 9%

Atomic – 4.5%

What are the top-selling cross-country ski boot brands this year?

Do Not Carry – 34%


Salomon – 23%


Alpina – 14%


Fischer – 8.5%


Rossignol – 3%

What are the top-selling snowshoe brands this year?

Tubbs – 38%

Atlas – 19%

MSR – 10%

Redfeather – 9%

TSL – 4.5%

Crescent Moon – 4.5%

*Tied companies are listed randomly and all are considered statistically equal in terms of ranking. All answers have been rounded up to the nearest 0.5 percent, and since we don’t name every single company name or category with a percent, the percentages may not total 100 percent.

The Paddlesports Department

Eighty-two percent of our responding stores told us they carried paddlesports equipment. While that represents an increase in the number of stores from the year prior, much of this is due to several factors. First, we had less resort or destination-only stores responding to this survey -- stores that typically do not carry boating equipment. Second, a number of stores told us they added boats in a small way this year to diversify and capitalize on sit-on-top or recreational boating sales in their area.

No real surprises this year in any category other than give props to Hobie, which has clearly established itself in the sit-on-top category. Even with Jackson Kayaks, whitewater continues to be a tough, rough category to sell. Still way too many bro deal-mentality buyers and discounted boats floating around for a retailer, and as a result, a manufacturer, to make a go of this category yet.

What are the top-selling whitewater kayak brands this year?

Do Not Carry – 66%

Jackson Kayak – 11%

Liquidlogic – 9%

Dagger – 9%

Pyranha Kayaks – 3%

Wave Sport – 3%

What are the top-selling canoe brands this year?

Do Not Carry – 39%

Mad River – 25%

We-no-nah – 18.5%

Old Town – 9%

Esquif – 3%

What are the top-selling touring kayak brands this year?

Do Not Carry – 3%

Wilderness Systems – 46%

Current Designs – 15%

Hurricane – 6%

Eddyline – 6%

Necky – 5%

Perception – 7%

Hobie – 3.5%

Dagger – 3%

What are the top-selling sit-on-top brands this year?

Do Not Carry – 21%

Hobie – 18%

Wilderness Systems – 15.5%

Ocean Kayak – 11.5%

Native – 9%

Emotion – 6%

Heritage – 3%

What are the top-selling PFD brands this year?

Stohlquist – 34%

Astral Buoyancy – 25%

Kokatat – 11.5%

MTI – 9%

Extrasport – 6%

Lotus – 5%

What are the top-selling paddle brands this year?

Werner – 49%

Aquabound – 22%

Adventure Technology – 6%

Cannon – 5%

Bending Branches – 4%

Harmony – 3.5%

What are the top-selling paddlesport apparel brands this year?

Do Not Carry – 36%

NRS – 21%

Kokatat – 22%

Immersion Research – 6%

Stohlquist – 5.5%

Patagonia – 3%

What are the top-selling paddlesport accessory brands this year?

NRS – 18.5%

SealLine (Cascade Designs) – 19%

Seattle Sports – 9%

Harmony – 6%

Sea to Summit – 3%

*Tied companies are listed randomly and all are considered statistically equal in terms of ranking. All answers have been rounded up to the nearest 0.5 percent, and since we don’t name every single company name or category with a percent, the percentages may not total 100 percent.

In our final look at the SNEWS Outdoor Retailer Survey results for 2008, we'll share detailed analysis in the overall trade show attendance trends, as well as retailer feedback to our free-thinking questions. Look for that report Monday, March 9.

The SNEWS Outdoor Retailer Survey may not be reproduced for redistribution of any kind, in whole or part, including for promotional or sales purposes of any kind, to consumers or the trade, without the written consent of SNEWS. Contact SNEWS at survey@snewsnet.com for reprint details and restrictions.

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