SIA: Snow Sports Accessories More Than Just The Basic Essentials

As already announced in May, overall sales for the entire winter sport market (including specialty and chain stores) were up 4% in dollars to $2.3 billion for the August 2005 through March 2006 period, according to the SnowSports Industries America (SIA) Retail Audit, conducted by Leisure Trends Group. Contributing to the banner year in sales were apparel and equipment accessories. Accessories sales led the charge generating more dollars than equipment in product sold with an end of the season tally of $779.0 million.
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MCLEAN, Va. – As already announced in May, overall sales for the entire winter sport market (including specialty and chain stores) were up 4% in dollars to $2.3 billion for the August 2005 through March 2006 period, according to the SnowSports Industries America (SIA) Retail Audit, conducted by Leisure Trends Group. Contributing to the banner year in sales were apparel and equipment accessories. Accessories sales led the charge generating more dollars than equipment in product sold with an end of the season tally of $779.0 million.

The overall accessories category experienced growth in several product areas this past season. Gloves, mitts, winter boots and neck gaiters all had double digit dollar gains. Snowshoes experienced a 40% increase in units sold, while helmet sales increased another 14% in units. Peer pressure now says you are dumb not to have a helmet but are the adults listening? High quality optics won this season. While units remained roughly even, dollar sales for goggles and sunglasses advanced 11% and 15%, respectively.

Tag Kleiner, marketing director at Smith Optics, offers his perspective on solid sales for the season, “We had a banner year last season and we think it's due to a couple key factors. First, except for a couple pockets it was a great snow year across the country and that always helps sales across the board. Second, product innovation and technology introductions really helped drive our business. Product colorways and graphic treatments were also a big key to our success last season and we know we need to continue pushing the envelope.”

In the August to March selling season, specialty retailers sold a total of $600.1 million in both equipment and apparel accessories, ending the season up 7% in dollars over last season. The apparel accessories category increased sales 4% over last year, totaling $329.9 million by the end of this season. Winter boots (up 12%), gloves (up 18%), mitts (up 14%), base layer (up 3%) and neck gaiters (up 16%) contributed to this dollar increase.

Equipment accessories increased 10% with dollar gains from goggles (up 9%), sunglasses (up 18%), snowshoes (up 14%), helmets (up 16%), technical day packs (up 35%), luggage (up 12%), wax (up 5%) and snowboard accessories (up 13%).

“Three areas that helped out our accessory departments were gloves, footbeds for boots and helmets,” said Joe Rauscher, owner of Joe's Ski Shop in St. Paul, MN. “We were able to pick up more gloves at longer margin and capture more sales. In our hardgoods division, customer insoles were hot. We recommended to our customers heading out West to have new custom insoles made for their boots. Our largest growth area this past season was in helmets, not as a hardgoods accessory, but as a clothing accessory. Most people own one pair of boots or skis but they own multiple outfits. More and more customers are buying a second helmet to match a specific jacket they own. Lightweight, vented, protection and now styling, that's what sells helmets.”

In chain stores, the entire accessories category grew 12% this season over last. Apparel accessories brought in $116.0 million in sales thus far this season, a 13% increase over last season. Winter boots (up 12%), gloves (up 8%), mitts (up 4%), base layer (up 12%) and headwear (up 4%), specifically, saw category dollar inclines.

Equipment accessories brought in $62.9 million in sales this season, an 11% increase over last season. Goggles (up 20%), sunglasses (up 8%), auto racks (up 11%), luggage (up 13%), wax (up 32%) and snowboard accessories (up 13%) managed to have dollar boosts.

– SIA –

SnowSports Industries America (SIA) is the intelligent partner of the snow sports industry. SIA annually produces the SIA SnowSports Show, the largest industry trade show and networking environment, and delivers invaluable data, support and marketing products. SIA serves as the national, not-for-profit, member-owned trade association representing snow and winter sports companies. For more information, check out www.thesnowtrade.org. SnowSports Industries America, 8377-B Greensboro Drive, McLean, VA 22102-3587. Phone: (703) 556-9020, Fax: (703) 821-8276, E-mail: siamail@thesnowtrade.org

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