Snow Sports Sales Off to a Healthy Start According to RetailTRAK Data

Posted By: The Ski Channel on December 6, 2011 3:24 pm

SnowSports Industries America (SIA) and The Leisure Trends Group have released the first set of RetailTRAK™ Data (Aug – Oct 2011) for the 2011/2011 snow sports season. The data reveals that snow sports retail sales are off to a strong start this season and equipment is leading the charge.

Overall, snow sports retail receipts are up 14% in dollars sold and 7% in units sold August – October (pre-season) 2011. Total snow sports pre-season sales increased from $565M through October 2010 to $644M through Oct 2011.

“We entered this season with inventories full of 2011/2012 gear after last season’s epic conditions that kept participants on the slopes and in the shops well into spring. Consumers began this season with uninterrupted enthusiasm for the coming La Niña repeat and it is definitely showing up in equipment sales.” commented Kelly Davis, SIA’s Director of Research.

Pre-season sales in the snow sports market traditionally serve as opportunities for consumers to get discounts on items left in inventories over the summer, but this year consumers were buying snow sports gear at full price at the Labor Day and Columbus Day sales. This phenomenon is most apparent in alpine equipment where buxom sales led the pre-season market. Apparel and accessories sales also gained over last season and strong prices seen at the end of the 2010/2011 season continued into the early 2011/2012 season.

Source:  Snow Sports RetailTRAK™ produced for SIA by the Leisure Trends Group.  Aug – Oct 2010 compared with Aug – Oct 2011

Trends to watch for the 2011/2012 season include  reverse and mixed camber skis, with sales doubling compared to pre-season sales a year ago to 32,000 pairs. “The fatter, the better” is the motto – flat skis with waist widths 95mm-110mm are up 60% in units sold to more than 20,000 units in the first months of 2011/2012. Rocker/Reverse camber snowboard sales continue to rise; now 70% of all boards sold are rocker. Bargain hunters will notice that snowboard apparel average prices are down 4% from August – October 2010. Helmets sales continue to grow, unit sales are up 12.5% so far this season. Sales of beacons, probes and shovels, and necessities for the backcountry experience are up 19% in units sold.

Consumers are looking for snow sports gear in every sales channel and all three retail channels measured experienced growth in the early season. Online sales are up 12% in units sold and 19% in dollars, while chain store sales are up 10% in units and 10% dollars sold. However, specialty retail continues to dominate the snow sports market with 70% of all retail equipment sales and almost 50% of all retail sales overall. Specialty shop sales reached $319M, a new record for the August to October time frame; up 12% in dollars sold, driven by big gains in equipment sales. Equipment sales in specialty shops increased 12% in units sold and 19% in dollars sold. Chain stores sell about 25% of all snow sports apparel and accessories but just 6% of all equipment. It’s very clear that core snow sports participants, particularly those that purchase equipment enjoy the distinctive expertise that snow sports specialty shops offer to savvy consumers.

Source:  Snow Sports RetailTRAK™ produced for SIA by the Leisure Trends Group.  Aug – Oct 2010 compared with Aug – Oct 2011

The market data presented in this report comes from the Snow Sports RetailTRAK™ produced for SIA by the Leisure Trends Group. The Leisure Trends Group gathers RetailTRAK™ data directly from the Point of Sale systems of more than 1,200 snow sports retailers. For more info, visit: