New SIA data paints a mixed picture for the snowsports industry

A new survey from Snowsports Industries America indicates some meaningful changes among winter sports consumers this year.
Publish date:
SIA's new report provides some insight into the coming months for the snowsports industry.

SIA's new report provides some insight into the coming months for the snowsports industry.

Snowsports Industries America released the first installment of a large, two-part consumer insights report this week, a look into changing behaviors and expectations among winter sports enthusiasts.

The survey, titled “The Impacts of COVID-19 on Snowsports Consumer Trends and Insights," was conducted online in mid-July and collected a total of 1,209 responses, mostly from attendees of recent snow shows—not a representative sample by any means, but likely a highly engaged one.

For businesses involved in the snowsports industry, the results are solidly mixed, with some data inspiring confidence about the upcoming season, and others indicating that shifting business strategies may be needed to cope with changes in the winter sports consumer landscape.

Below is a breakdown of the report's key findings.

Consumer confidence

First, some good news. The results of the survey clearly show that consumer confidence in snowsports participation outpaces confidence in the U.S. economy more generally. People are excited to get out, and believe they will be able to do so at higher numbers than expected, given the general outlook on the country's economic direction. 

Screen Shot 2020-09-17 at 11.19.15 AM

Change in participation

Also good news: Snowsports participants expect their participation levels to increase in the months and years to come. However, enthusiasts in other outdoor categories reported the same, and with much stronger numbers. Relatively speaking, the expected 31 percent boost in snowsports participation may actually qualify as a disappointing result, though it does beat out a couple of other relevant categories like climbing and watersports.

Of particular importance for ski resorts: The highest expected snowsports participation increases pertain to off-resort categories like cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, and winter running. Resort skiing and snowboarding rank dead last in expected participation increase.

Screen Shot 2020-09-17 at 11.20.42 AM

Spending changes

Travel spending is expected to slide significantly, though spending on outdoor gear may remain comparatively stable. Still, responses show an expected 9 percent decline in outdoor gear spending—not an insignificant number.

Screen Shot 2020-09-17 at 11.22.01 AM

Shopping habits

Brick-and-mortar snowsports retailers can expect a lasting change in shopping behavior, with a significant number of consumers who preferred in-person shopping before the pandemic shifting their preferences. 

While the number of shoppers who said they're more likely to buy snowsports equipment online doesn't appear to have been affected by the pandemic long-term, the number of shoppers who have an equal preference for online and in-person shopping has increased dramatically.

Screen Shot 2020-09-17 at 11.23.29 AM

Customer safety desires

Finally, for those customers who are visiting brick-and-mortar stores again, mask-wearing ranks first in their preference for observed safety protocols, followed by frequent sanitization and room for social distancing among customers.

Screen Shot 2020-09-17 at 11.26.15 AM

Full results and part two

The video below explains more of the methodology used to collect these results, and what they might mean for the industry in the months to come.

The full report, free for SIA Premium members, is also available to other SIA members at preferred rates, here, and non-members, here.

The second installment of the two-part survey, conducted online in mid-August, is planned for release in February 2021.



Wondering how you can do more to fight climate change? SIA is here to help.

This week, SIA announced the launch of a new campaign aimed at rallying the winter outdoor community around immediate, achievable climate action. The new initiative is called ClimateUnited, and already some big brands in the winter sports industry—Burton, K2, and Rossignol among more


New data shows the outdoor industry heading in the right direction

It's hard to believe, but the latest data from the Outdoor Recreation Roundtable showing a 65 percent year-over-year decrease in sales among outdoor businesses actually counts as good news. Of course, it's all about context. ORR, in partnership with the Oregon State University more


Google wants to use data to make the fashion industry greener

A new partnership between Google and the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) Sweden might just help the fashion industry become less dirty by harnessing the power of data and machine learning. According to Google, the global fashion industry accounts for a whopping 20 percent of more

Nick Sargent SIA

Why SIA president Nick Sargent loves data...

With just days before the first ever Outdoor Retailer + Snow Show event, we talked with Nick Sargent, President of Snowsports Industries America (SIA) about what he’s most excited about, what to expect from demo days, and why research is a vital part of his organization. SNEWS: more


Looking into the crystal ball of snow sports this winter

Amidst the coronavirus pandemic, the travel slush fund will save skiing this winter. Unable or unwilling to book expensive air-travel vacations to the Alps (Americans need not apply), Canadian Rockies (ditto because we’re such maskless hosers), and perhaps even the Mountain West more


Snowsports Industries America Launches United By Winter

Park City, UT January 11, 2018. Today, Snowsports Industries America (SIA) announced the launch of United By Winter, a climate advocacy platform for the winter sports industry. The campaign is intended to give SIA members the education and tools to address climate change and it’s more

SIA event with people skiing

SIA to acquire consumer-facing show

SIA continues to bolster its direct connection with winter sports enthusiasts by announcing its intent, today, to purchase two established consumer-facing shows, the Boston and Denver Ski and Snowboard Expos from BEWI Productions. The two shows act as the "unofficial kickoff to more


United Nations of Shred: SIA’s International Snowsports Forum

While most SIA Snow Show attendees were putting their paws on the latest hardgoods and networking in the halls of the Colorado Convention Center, a group of international researchers were glued to their chairs in Conference Room 206. The mission was to pool their resources here more

SIA Ends To Mixed Reviews

The 2002 SIA SnowSports Show, held Jan. 29 to Feb. 2 in Las Vegas, left some exhibitors smiling, others shaking their heads in disappointment, and many feeling as if, well, it was just another SIA show. Retail attendance dropped 10.5 percent to approximately 5,164 registered more