Snow Sports Finishes Difficult Season Down

SIA and The Leisure Trends Group released RetailTRAK™ numbers for March indicating the snow sports market brought in $3.4B during the 2011/2012 season, $135M less than last season.

Today, SnowSports Industries America (SIA) and The Leisure Trends Group released the most recent RetailTRAKâ„¢ numbers for March 2012, collected from the Point of Sale systems of more than 1,200 snow sports retailers. The snow sports market brought in $3.4B during the 2011/2012 season, $135M less than last season.

This season started strong with plenty of momentum leftover from the record-breaking 2010/2011 season and the promise of another epic winter of La Niña snow, but the repeat never materialized. In fact, the 2011/2012 season may go down as one of the worst on record. December brought sparse snow across the country and the conditions didn't improve until the third week of January. The lack of snow put a significant dent in sales and in snow sports participation; the National Ski Areas Association (NSAA) announced that skier/riders visits were down 17% across U.S. snow sports resorts this season to 51M skiers and riders on the slopes. Resorts brought in fewer visitors and less revenue and visitors bought less equipment, apparel and accessories in the snow sports market.

Snow sports unit sales declined 12% overall this season, including a 17% decrease in units sold through chain stores and a 14% decrease in specialty shops. However, Internet sales did rather well, and increased 10% this year driven by late season equipment and accessories sales. This may indicate that many retailers are using commerce enabled websites to move product when in-shop sales have slowed. Excluding carryover, online unit sales increased 15% through February and March this season, compared to February and March 2010/2011.

End of season inventory levels are having a significant impact on sell-in for next season. Retailers were not able to sell through the gear they purchased from suppliers this season, which drove up costs and reduced cash flow used to purchase product for the 2012/2013 season. At season's end there were 30% more units in specialty inventories overall. In fact, snow sports specialty retailers ended this season with 41% more equipment units, 46% more apparel units and 27% more accessories units sitting in inventory than at the end of the 2010/2011 season. Suppliers are reporting significant declines in sell-in for next season as retailers struggled to move this season's gear and manage the costs of carrying unexpected inventory that will surely result in lower margins and fewer profits until the snow begins falling in the 2012/2013 season.

Topline/category retail sales data for the snow sports market is available as a member benefit to all SIA members. In addition, you 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 the Leisure Trends Cross-Industry RetailTRAKâ„¢ data portal. Non-SIA members may subscribe to the topline portal for just $375 per year. To sign up for topline data click HERE.

The market data presented in this report comes from the Snow Sports RetailTRAKâ„¢ produced for SIA by the Leisure Trends Group. The Leisure Trends Group gathers RetailTRAKâ„¢ data directly from the Point of Sale systems of more than 1,200 snow sports retailers. For more information about snow sports retail sales information and other SIA Research products including the Snow Sports Participation Study, Revisiting Growing the Snow Sports Industry, the State of the Market, Model for Success, and much more, please contact Kelly Davis, SIA's Director of Research at

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. Established in 1954, SIA annually produces the SIA Snow Show, the largest snow sports industry trade show, on-snow demo and networking environment globally, while delivering invaluable data/research reports including the Snow Sports Market Intelligence Report, SnowSports RetailTRAKTM and Executive Market Summary. SIA helps grow the industry with consumer initiatives and websites, and, marketing products, services and programs helping our Members operate more efficiently, bring their products to market and increase participation in snow sports. Subaru is the official vehicle of SnowSports Industries America (SIA), the 2012 SIA Snow Show and On-Snow Demo/Ski-Ride Fest and Winter Trails. For more information, check out SnowSports Industries America, 8377-B Greensboro Drive, McLean, VA 22102-3587 (Washington, DC area). Phone: 703.556.9020, Fax: 703.821.8276, Email: