During their annual fall meeting, the board of directors for SnowSports Industries America (SIA), the snow sports industry’s member-owned trade association, reviewed Phase 1 findings from SIA’s Downhill Consumer Intelligence Project (DCIP). DCIP represents an 18-month snow sports research program SIA is leading in collaboration with more than 20 research and non-profit organizations. Surprisingly, examination of historical data dating back to the mid-1970s showed no significant growth or decline in the downhill participant base.
“After reviewing long-term trends, we now know that future efforts to grow snow sports must break old paradigms in order to have a significant impact,” said Bob Gundram, president of C3 andSIA board chairman. “The SIA board is eager to use information DCIP uncovers about consumer behavior to develop new ways to grow snow sports participation and participants, as well as product sales at retail,” added Gundram.
DCIP is the first research effort in over a decade that is focused specifically on developing a comprehensive understanding of alpine and snowboard consumers, which in turn will guide strategies and tactics for growing snow sports participation.
"Early returns indicate some good business opportunities and a strong consumer demand to get on snow. The industry must also use new pathways to get new consumers and help keep them dedicated to the sport. We’ve learned we all need to work at making the sport easier to try, affordable to access and deliver an on-snow experience in more places than we have in the past," said Brad Steward, vice president global digital marketing at Amer Sports Corporation and SIA Snowboard Committee member that advocated for DCIP.
The discovery phase of DCIP, available now, indicates that future snow sports participation campaigns need to seriously consider significant demographic, cultural and climate shifts that have happened in the United States in the past 35 years.
“It’s an everyday challenge for any business owner in the U.S. to adapt to consumers’ rapidly evolving needs and preferences,” said Kelly Davis, SIA’s director of research. “DCIP will use on-the-ground research from more than 20 partners to give the entire industry a solid understanding of what motivates and influences snow sports consumers.”
Phase 2 of the DCIP is designed to uncover the most effective ways to bring new participants into the market and fully engage current participants. This phase will include deep segmentation of both snowboard and downhill ski participants demographics and psychographics.This phase will help determine the best ways to engage current and potential consumers. In Phase 3, on-hill interviews, interviews with non-converts and special research with core snowboarders will round out the DCIP in order to put a strategic downhill participation plan in place by July 2015 and begin implementation of programs by early 2016.
“SIA is ready and eager to embrace the findings of DCIP and work with the entire industry to implement them,” said Tyler LaMotte, SIA board member and global business unit director at Patagonia. “This research will give us a crucial framework to unify suppliers’ and retailers’ recruitment efforts like never before.”
The final results of DCIP will include a comprehensive, data-intensive look at the snow sports industry’s past and current market reach, an assessment of snow sports programs that were built on past consumer studies, and detailed consumer profiles by age, snow sports discipline, gender, geographic region, crossover activities, and general lifestyle variables and snow sports product and services preferences.
For more information about SIA’s snow sports research and market intelligence products including retail, wholesale, consumer, participation and special reports as well as the 2014 SIA State of the Industry Videos contact SIA’s Director of Research, Kelly Davis at KDavis@snowsports.org or go to Snowsports.org/research. Get the latest updates from SIA research by following #SIAdata on Facebook and Twitter.