Snow sport retail report

Posted By: The Ski Channel on January 8, 2010 6:10 am

                               Snow Sports Retailers Watch Inventories Shrink in November Despite Sluggish Sales

MCLEAN, Va. (Jan 6, 2010) – Overall, snow sports sales from August to November were about even with August to November sales last season but equipment sales slowed significantly.  Due to conservative buying trends the previous year, many retailers are selling through their inventories earlier in the season. Snowboard equipment sales declined 7% in units and 8% in dollars and alpine ski equipment sales declined 5% in units but increased 1% in dollars.  Specialty shop sales were down 8% in units and 6% in dollars, as consumers enjoyed warmer than average temperatures and all of the gear and apparel they purchased in the pre-season.  Although sales were down overall, consumers used the Internet to research and buy more products and sales online were up 19% in units and 21% in dollars.  In fact, online equipment sales accounted for 20% of all equipment sales through November.



Source: SIA Retail Audit by the Leisure Trends Group.  Comparison of November Sales 2006 to 2009, with Carryover sales included


Despite flat market performance, inventories for most product categories were significantly lower compared to levels measured in November 2008.  Overall, inventories were 5% lower in units and 3% lower in dollars compared to the same time last season.  In fact, inventory levels increased in just two categories of snow sports products compared to last season; Randonee/AT equipment inventory units were up 15% and cross country ski equipment inventory units were 5% higher.

Inventory declines in units:

    * Alpine ski equipment down 8%
    * Snowboard equipment down 4%
    * Alpine apparel down 3%
    * Snowboard apparel down 8%
    * Apparel accessories down 6%

If sales picked up in December, as anecdotal information indicates, low inventories at retail could limit consumers’ choices in the mid and late season.  Items like rocker snowboards, mega fat skis, shell and insulated parkas and helmets may become hard to find in January and continue to be scarce for the remainder of the season.

“With inventory levels this low, it gives retailers an opportunity to really rethink what they will buy to stay relevant to their customers”, said David Ingemie, SIA President.

Traditionally, snow sports sales through November account for just 14% of all dollars sold during the snow sports season.  Season to date sales for November represent about 20% of total season sales and the snow sports market is on track to exceed last season’s total sales of $2.8 billion.  Early indications for December are very positive in the snow sports market and December typically accounts for more than 30% of the season’s sales.

The market data presented in this report comes from the SIA Retail Audit conducted by the Leisure Trends Group.  Each season, Leisure Trends gathers snow sports market data between August 1 and March 31 from a representative panel of more than 1,200 snow sports retailers who provide sales data directly to Leisure Trends 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.