Snow sports hit 3 Billion in February sales

Posted By: The Ski Channel on April 5, 2011 1:32 pm

The snow sports market surpassed the $3 billion mark for the 2010/2011 season but sales slowed significantly in February.  Season to date, snow sports sales are up 13% in dollars sold and up 8% in units sold. Total sales last season never reached the $3 billion dollar mark, in fact, by the end of March 2010 all snow sports sales reached just $2.94 billion.  However, comparing February 2011 to February 2011, units sold were down 2% and dollar sales were down 1.5%.  Despite slowing sales, margins showed continued strength, up 8% compared to February 2010 and total sales for the 2010/2011 season sales (August to March) should surpass the $3.1 billion record set in the 2007/2008 season.

Equipment sales fell off significantly in February as scarcity made it difficult for late season consumers to find preferred products as all equipment inventory units were down 17% season to date.  Overall, equipment sales were down 20% February 2010 to February 2011 but remained up 16% in dollars sold and up 5% in units sold across the entire season.  Alpine equipment sales slowed in February, down 2% in dollars sold and down 9% in units sold, compared to February 2010.  Snowboard equipment sales were up 6% in dollars sold season to date, but down 25% when comparing February 2010 to February 2011.  The only equipment category that showed a gain when comparing February 2011 to February 2010 is AT/Randonee equipment, that was up 95% in units and 101% in dollars sold.  Despite a slow February, all equipment sales remain very healthy across the 2010/2011 season.

Apparel sales were slightly stronger in February 2011 compared to February 2010 as La Niña conditions persisted and the northerly storm track continued to bring snow to North America’s mountain regions. Weather plays the most critical role in snow sports sales and a look at sales by region clearly illustrates this phenomenon. 

Regionally, heavy snow and colder than average temperatures continued to drive consumers to buy in the western region where sales were up 24% in equipment dollars sold, 15% in apparel and 18% in accessories sales. 

The Northeast also enjoyed sales increasing including 16% more in equipment dollars, 20% more in apparel and 20% in accessories dollars sold season to date. 

In the South, snow sports participants who were headed for more mountainous terrain continued their equipment buying spree increasing sales up 19% through February this season.  But warmer weather in the southern U.S. did not drive apparel and accessories sales.

Southern apparel sales were relatively flat with a 3% gain in dollars sold and accessories are up just 1% over last season.  The Midwestern region’s sales continued to grow this season; up 15% in equipment, 5% in apparel and up 13% in accessories dollars sold.  Unit sales are up 9% overall in the Midwestern states. 

All apparel sales increased 1% in units and 2% in dollars sold compared to February 2011.  Season to date, apparel sales are up 11% in dollars and up 7% in units sold.  Accessories sales are following a pattern similar to apparel with strong season to date sales and flat sales in February.  Apparel sales were up 13% in dollars sold season to date but up only 2% in dollars when comparing the month of February 2011 with February 2010.

Overall, the snow sports market is enjoying excellent sales this season and despite a slow February, is on track to set a new sales record this season.

 2010/2011 Season Trends

  • Alpine skis (flat skis sold without bindings) in the 80mm-110mm waist width category were up 69% in dollars sold on more than 64,000 units compared to 38,000 units through February last season.
  • AT/Randonee equipment sales have doubled compared to last season in units and in dollars to more than $16 million in sales in snow sports channels and up more than 50% in outdoor specialty shops this season to $10 million in that sales channel. 
  • Reverse/Mixed camber ski sales were up 142% in units and 136% in dollars sold so far this season.  More than 46,900 pairs of reverse camber/mixed camber skis have so far this season representing 10% of all alpine skis sold (flat and systems).
  • Reverse camber snowboard sales were up 42% in units and 46% in dollars sold.  In fact, 45% of all current season model boards sold so far this season have reverse camber.
  • Alpine apparel is selling well this season; up 13% in dollars sold to $107 million.  The La Niña generated snow and cold across the northern half of the U.S. have spurred apparel sales all season.
  • Snowshoe sales are up 21% in units and up 20% in dollars sold through February this season.