Snow Accelerated Sales in Late December

Consumers spent $1B+ in the snow sports market in December. Sales for the season reached $2.1B - down 4% in units sold and 3% down in dollars sold compared to November when sales were down 8% in units sold and 7% down in dollars sold.

SnowSports Industries America (SIA) and Leisure Trends Group have released SIA RetailTRAK™ numbers for August–December 2012, total market projections are based on data collected from the Point of Sale systems of more than 1,200 snow sports retailers.

December started slow in the snow sports marketplace, but the onset of true winter conditions and good snow across more than 50 percent of the country brought acceleration in sales of equipment, apparel and accessories made for cold and snowy conditions. Consumers spent more than $1B in the snow sports market in December alone, and sales for the season reached $2.1B ¬¬- down 4 percent in units sold and down 3 percent in dollars sold compared to November when sales were down 8 percent in units sold and 7 percent in dollars sold. The arrival of winter will continue to spur sales in the snow sports market and all eyes are on recovery from last season’s difficulties brought on by lack of snow.

The snow sports market had an uphill battle to fight in the pre-season as inertia from last season, recovery from Hurricane Sandy and “fiscal cliff” concerns put multiple dents in the market. Conditions in the snow sports market from late November to the end of the winter season typically depend upon current snow conditions and Mother Nature began to rev up winter conditions during the holidays. In fact, snow covered 51 percent of the lower 48 on December 25th and sales picked up accordingly.

Despite the acceleration in sales late in December, inventories continued to weigh down retailers. On December 31st, specialty shop retailers had $951M worth of snow sports equipment, apparel and accessories in inventories, 3 percent higher than Dec. 31, 2011.

Sales during the second half of the 2012/2013 season (January to March) typically bring in approximately 35 percent more dollars into the snow sports market for equipment, apparel and accessories. Increased snowfall and lower temperatures could help retailers clear out swollen inventories and allow for a full recovery from last season’s disappointing sales and participation.

As the market picks up several trends in the market are emerging:
•Twin tip ski sales (flat and systems combined) are up 2 percent in dollars sold to more than $45M and up 4 percent in units sold to 101,500 pairs of skis sold through Dec. 31.
•Sales of alpine/AT boots, alpine boots with a walk mode and rubber/Vibram sole designed for use with alpine touring bindings have more than doubled compared to last season. More than 41,000 alpine/AT boots were purchased between August 1 and December 31.
•Sales of lighter, more technical AT/Randonee boots are up 19 percent in units and 29 percent in dollars sold.
•Sales of skins, used on the bottoms of skis to prevent backwards sliding when traversing or sliding uphill, are up 10 percent in units sold and 9 percent in dollars sold.
•Splitboard sales, although still a small category with 2,300 units sold through December, are up 33 percent in units sold and up 19 percent in dollars sold.
•Action camera sales are soaring, up 14 percent in units to 69,500, and up 36 percent in dollars sold to $20M.

Snow conditions will determine the fate of the snow sports market for the remainder of the season. Good snow conditions have a positive impact on participation and sales overall and expectations are for increased participation and increased sales. In fact, good conditions should bring more than 20M U.S. residents out for snow sports this season and result in an increase over last season’s $3.3B in total sales. For a detailed look at advances in technology in snow sports equipment apparel and accessories, don’t miss the January 31 opening of the 2013 SIA Snow Show in Denver, Colo.

The market data presented in this report comes from the Snow Sports RetailTRAK™ produced for SIA by Leisure Trends Group. Leisure Trends Group gathers RetailTRAK™ data directly from the Point of Sale systems of more than 1,200 snow sports retailers. For more information about snow sports retail sales, market data and other SIA Research products including the Snow Sports Market Intelligence Report, the SIA State of the Industry Videos, Snow Sports Participation Study and other exclusive industry reports, please contact Kelly Davis, SIA’s Director of Research at or visit

SIA releases the topline results for snow sports retail seven times each season from November to May covering results of retail sales made between August 1 and March 31 each season. Topline/category retail sales data for the snow sports market is available as a member benefit to all SIA members. In addition, members gain free access to topline data for the Running, Outdoor and Paddle Sports when you register. The topline data is accessible on a 24/7/365 basis on Leisure Trends Cross-Industry RetailTRAK™ data portal. Non-SIA members may subscribe to the topline portal for just $375 per year.

SIA RetailTRAK™ Data 2012/2013 Season Release Schedule
1.New This Season - November 7, 2012 August – September
2.December 7, 2012 (est.) August – October
3.January 5, 2013 (est.) August – November
4.January 31, 2013 August – December
5.March 5, 2013 (est.) August – January
6.April 5, 2013 (est.) August – February
7.May 6, 2013 (est.) August – March

- SIA -

SnowSports Industries America (SIA) is the national not-for-profit, North American member-owned, trade association representing suppliers and service providers of snow sports products with constituents in the retailer, rep and resort communities. Annually producing the SIA Snow Show, the largest snow sports industry trade show, on-snow demo and networking environment globally, SIA delivers invaluable data/research reports including the Snow Sports Market Intelligence Reports, SnowSports RetailTRAKTM and Executive Market Summary. SIA also produces the Supplier Show, Sourcing Snow, at the SIA Snow Show; learn more at SIA is dedicated to growing the industry through consumer initiatives and websites, and, marketing resources, services and collaborative programs to increase participation and move product. Ford is the official partner of the 2013 SIA Snow Show. For more information, visit SnowSports Industries America, 8377-B Greensboro Drive, McLean, VA 22102-3587 (Washington, DC Area). Phone: 703-556-9020, Fax: 703-821-8276, Email: