Snow Sports Market Flat in January - SNEWS

Snow Sports Market Flat in January

According to the SnowSports Industries America (SIA) Retail Audit Report released today, Snow Sports market sales reached $2.26 billion in January with a .4% gain in dollars sold compared with August through January last season.

According to the SnowSports Industries America (SIA) Retail Audit Report released today, Snow Sports market sales reached $2.26 billion in January with a .4% gain in dollars sold compared with August through January last season. Significant declines in the West and Northeastern region sales, particularly in snowboard equipment sold, resulted in flat dollar sales overall, despite significant gains in the South. Reduction in carryover sales, coupled with more purchases of current season model equipment and apparel, kept dollar sales in the green even as the number of units sold declined 7% overall.

However, the news in January was not all bad. Customers were more likely to buy this season’s models rather than closeout models as inventories of closeout equipment shrank. Specialty shops increased their margins and saw significant declines in inventory through January, resulting in improved cash flow and reduced risk of carrying extensive inventory at the end of the season, which would need to be sold off at or below cost. Weather patterns typical to El Niño drove sales in a colder and wetter southern region, but hampered sales in the Rockies and in the warmer than average Northwest. Weather will continue to drive sales as late season snow returns to the atypically dry Rockies and the results of record snow in the South and Mid-Atlantic are realized in the market.

Category Total Sales Change in Units Sold Change in Dollars Sold

Equipment $611,495,419 -7.22% -1.56%

Apparel $886,841,701 -6.34% -0.42%

Accessories $763,199,329 -6.95% 2.93%

Total $2,261,536,448 -6.84% 0.37%

Source: SIA Retail Audit, All Stores August through January. Carryover sales included

Quick Trends

• Fat Skis – current season model sales increase by more than $4.5 million

• Reverse Camber Snowboards – 4 of the top 5 selling boards this season are rocker boards

• AT/Randonee Skis – unit sales up 58% to 4,842 skis

• High Performance Alpine Boots – up 16.5% in units and up 19% in dollars sold

• Snowshoes – sales up 7% in dollars with 117,887 units sold in snow sports shops

• Alpine Tops – up 2% in dollars sold compared to an 8% decrease in dollars sold for snowboard apparel tops

• Insulated Apparel – cold and wet weather results in sales increase of more than $16 million

• Helmets – continue to be the hottest category in the market with 897,315 sold so far this season. Retailers are making more per helmet units and unit sales are up 26% for almost $16.8 million more dollars sold through January 2010. Helmet sales are on track to hit 1 million units in 2009.10 season

• Winter Boots – fashion trends are driving a 22% increase in dollars sold

• Sales in the South – El Niño brings colder and wetter weather to the southern U.S. and cold southerners are buying plenty of gloves, hats, and parkas to get through the winter. Record snowfall in February is expected to drive very strong sales in this region in February.

Regional Results

The Leisure Trends Group is now providing SIA members with in-depth regional data for the Specialty shop distribution channel throughout the snow sports season. For the first time, SIA will provide members with information throughout the season about sales in the Northeastern, Western, Midwestern, and Southern U.S. regions.

Regional Specialty Shop Sales Season to Date Growth Units Season to Date Growth $ Total Dollar Sales ($millions)

Northeast Equipment -8.2% -3.6% $157,085,140

Northeast Apparel -3.7% -.06% $131,778,688

Northeast Accessories -14.2% -1.3% $122,161,383

Northeast Total Sales -11.4% -2% $411,025,211

West Equipment -8.8% -3.1% $445,522,012

West Apparel -8.3% -3.1% $133,158,495

West Accessories -7.9% 1.7% $161,301,817

West Total Sales -8.0% -1.4% 445,522,012

South Equipment 10.3% 12.4% $51,730,237

South Apparel 7.4% 3.1% $97,095,146

South Accessories 8.2% 16% $82,216,340

South Total Sales 8.1% 9.5% $231,041,743

Midwest Equipment -4.7% -.9% $71,641,307

Midwest Apparel -12.1% -6.0% $104,159,084

Midwest Accessories -13.4% -3.5% $70,923,026

Midwest Total Sales -12.1% -3.8% $246,723,417

All U.S. Equipment -5.9% -1.3% $431,518,384

All U.S. Apparel -5.1% -1.8% $466,191,414

All U.S. Accessories -7.9% 2.3% $436,602,566

All U.S. Total Sales – No Carryover -7.1% -.3% $1,334,312,363

Source: Leisure Trends Group Aug 2009-Jan 2010 Specialty Shops Regional Category Data, carryover Sales not included


Snow Sports Specialty, $1.33 billion – Down 7% in units and up .3% in dollars

Alpine ski equipment sales increased 2% in dollars on strong sales of fat skis (>80mm waist width), high performance alpine boots, and high end bindings (DIN 12+). Carryover unit sales of alpine equipment fell 17% for skis and 10% for boots. Snowboard equipment unit sales were down 10% and dollars sold were down 8%. Many snowboard buyers are looking for a bargain and snowboard carryover sales increased 26% in units and 29% in dollars. Inventories units declined 9% overall through January this season. Equipment inventories were off 13% overall led by a 19% decline in alpine equipment units in inventory. Specialty apparel inventories were down 7% while 9% fewer accessories sat in inventory through January this season. Sell through in specialty shops was at 52% for equipment, 57% for apparel items, and 51% for all accessories. Retail prices have increased about 7% overall in specialty driving better margins (1.4% growth) and ensuring better cash flow for specialty retailers throughout the season.

Internet, $478 million – Down 2% in units and up 7% in dollars

The Internet channel showed its first ever decline in sales with a 2% dip in units sold August through January this season. Although this channel continues to expand in dollars sold, unit sales are down and overall sales are leveling off after three seasons of hyperactive growth. Equipment sales increased most with 10% growth in units sold and more 13% growth in dollars sold led by the snowboard equipment category that realized its only sales gain in the Internet channel. Snowboard equipment sales increased 16.5% in unit sales and 15.6% in dollar sales online August through January. Internet sales include sales through “clicks only” establishments that have no brick and mortar shop for customers to visit as well as online sales in shops with a brick and mortar location and a commerce enabled website for their customers. Many of the sales reported come from brick and mortar establishments that are reaching customers online and in the shop.

Chain Stores, $449 million – Down 9% in units and down 4% in dollars

Chain store sales were hardest hit through January of this season with declining sales in every category of equipment, apparel and accessories. Equipment sales continued their nosedive with a 17% decrease in units sold and a 9% decrease in dollars sold. Snowboard equipment sales were particularly hard hit with 21% fewer units and dollars sold. In fact, the only equipment category that showed any gain in chain stores were alpine flat skis that brought in just 2% more dollars so far this season. Chain stores sell far less equipment than specialty or online sales channels. In fact, chain stores sold fewer than 16% of all skis sold so far this season. Even the traditionally strong apparel sales in chain stores decreased in January with declines of 10% in units and 3% in dollars sold season to date. Sales of accessories declined 7% in units and chain stores realized a very modest gain of 1.3% in accessories dollars sold through January. Overall, consumers appear to choose chain stores less often for their equipment needs and chains are responding by minimizing their focus on equipment sales.

The market data presented in this report comes from the SIA Retail Audit conducted by the Leisure Trends Group. The Retail Audit data is gathered directly from the Point of Sale systems of about 1/3 of the snow sports retailers in the U.S. market. Each season, Leisure Trends gathers snow sports sales data from a representative panel of more than 1,200 snow sports retailers who provide sales data directly from their Point of Sale systems. The panel and the method for extrapolating the results out to the entire industry is based on a triennial census of snow sports retailers designed to accurately define the size and structure of the snow sports retail marketplace. SIA maintains these data for members down to the product level. For more information about SIA’s Retail Audit information please contact Kelly Davis, SIA’s Director of Research at

- SIA –

SnowSports Industries America (SIA) is the national not-for-profit, North American member-owned, trade association representing the snow sports industry. 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, the SIA Retail Audit and Executive Market Summary. SIA also develops marketing products, programs and services such as logistics and Government affairs that help our Members operate more efficiently and increase participation in snow sports. For more information, check out SnowSports Industries America, 8377-B Greensboro Drive, McLean, VA 22102-3587. Phone: 703.556.9020, Fax: 703.821.8276, Email:


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