SIA Newsletter


Snow sports retailers sold $624M in apparel, accessories and equipment from August 1 to October 31, 2013, up 3% in dollars sold compared to the same period in 2012. Good snow conditions in late November and December are expected to have a positive impact on the snow sports market during the critical holiday buying season. Typically, about 35% of total season sales are made between Black Friday and December 31st.

Total Snow Sports Market Sales through October 31, 2013

  • Equipment Sales: $161 million, up 1% in dollars sold and flat in units sold
  • Apparel Sales: $272 million, up 2% in dollars sold and down 5% in units sold
  • Accessories Sales: $191 million, up 6% in dollars sold and down 1% in units sold

Snow Sports Retail Sales Aug - Oct 2013 v. Aug - Oct 2012

Source: SIA RetailTrak™ data produced by Leisure Trends, and NPD Group Company

Notable Trends

  • Snowboard sales were up 1% in units sold to 100,000 boards sold through October 31st, the strongest start for snowboard in three seasons. With about 7.5M snowboarders in the U.S., good snow conditions likely will bring in some new riders and lapsed riders back to slopes (at resorts and in backyards across the country).
  • Alpine Touring/Randonee equipment continues to enjoy significant increases in sales, through October AT equipment sales increased 26% in dollars sold and 23% in units sold.
  • Backcountry accessories sales including beacons, probes and shovels increased 46% in dollars sold through October.
  • Cross country ski sales increased 13% in units sold and 7% in dollars sold. Cross country boot sales are 16% in units sold to 11,000 units. Cross country sales suffered significantly with below average snow and late snow the past two seasons. The category should recover much of the decline with good snowfall this season.
  • Alpine binding sales were up 11% in units sold and up 15% in dollars sold through October. Most of the gains stemmed from sales of high performance bindings with DIN 12+.

Specialty Shops

Specialty Shops are defined as single and multiple store retail organizations that concentrate their merchandise at medium and high price points. These stores typically provide a higher level of service and are independently owned and operated.

Specialty shops’ receipts totaled $254 million August through October 2013, 5% less than the same time period last season. Unit sales are down 4% overall in specialty shops.

  • Equipment Sales: $95 million, down 8% in dollars sold and down 10% in units sold.
  • Apparel Sales: $92 million, down 8% in dollars sold and down 11% in units sold.
  • Accessories Sales: $67 million, up 2% in dollars sold and up 2% in units sold.

Specialty Store Highlights:

  • AT Boot sales are up 151% in dollars and up 96% in units sold to 632 units.
  • Backcountry accessories sales finished October up 28% in dollars sold.
  • Women’s insulated vest sales are up 19% in units sold to 37K units through October.
  • Baselayer dollar sales are up 14% in units and up 10% in dollars sold to $7.8M
  • Overall, carryover gear (products that are sold at, or below average retail cost) sales in specialty shops including equipment, apparel and accessories were 5% lower through October 2013 compared to 2012. Specialty retailers are selling more gear in the early season at higher margins.

Chain Stores

Chain stores are retail organizations that operate stores throughout either a regional or national area. Merchandise is centered in the medium and lower price points. Additionally, chain stores tend to promote heavily and discount deeper than specialty stores.

Chain stores’ receipts totaled $137 million in August and October 2013, 7% more than August and October last season. Unit sales are up 4% overall in chain stores.

  • Equipment Sales: $9.5 million, up 14% in dollars sold and up 25% in units sold.
  • Apparel Sales: $82 million, up 5% in dollars sold and up 3% in units sold.
  • Accessories Sales: $45 million, up 3% in dollars sold and up 1% in units sold.

Chain Store Highlights:

  • Equipment sales in chain stores have increased from $8.4M through October 2012, to $9.5M through October 2013, a 14% increase.
  • Average prices for equipment in chain stores were 59% below average prices for equipment sold in specialty shops and online stores. Consumers looking for less sophisticated gear at the lowest prices are likely to shop in this channel.
  • Insulated parka sales reached 139K units and $18M in chain stores through September, up 44% in units and up 47% in dollars sold.
  • Headwear (hats, not helmets) sales increased 17% in dollars sold and 19% in dollars sold to 251K units sold through September.

Internet/Online Stores

The panel of Internet/catalog merchants comprises the core pure play ecommerce & catalog retailers as well as chain and specialty brick & mortar retailers that have an online presence. Brick & mortar retailers provide a separate report for their online transactions.

Online sales totaled $234M up 15% in dollars sold but sales are down 5% in units sold through September.

  • Equipment Sales: $56 million, up 18% in dollars sold and up 14% in units sold.
  • Apparel Sales: $116 million, up 9% in dollars sold and down 7% in units sold.
  • Accessories Sales: $61 million, up 15% in dollars sold and down 5% in units sold.

Internet/Online Channel Highlights:

  • Increases in dollars sold coupled with decreases in units sold in the apparel and accessories categories indicate that in the online channel products are selling at higher margins in these categories. In fact, average prices for equipment, apparel and accessories online were 9% higher than average prices in specialty shops and are 63% higher than average prices in chain stores.
  • Online sales of snowboard equipment are up 9% in units sold and up 14% in dollars sold to $22.4 million. Forty-six percent of snowboard equipment dollars were sold online, 46% were sold in specialty shops, and 8% in chain stores.
  • Alpine bindings sales increased 11% to 71K units sold at average prices 3% above specialty shop retail prices.
  • Average prices for apparel available online increased 17% from $100.54 for August through October 2012 last season to $117.23 through October this season.

Going Forward in 2013/2014

Snow sports sales are off to a good start for the 2013/2014 season, and promising snow conditions in the critical weeks late of November and December bode well for the market. Snow explains about ¾ of the variance in snow sports sales season to season. The job market, gas prices and other variables do little to explain overall trends in the snow sports market. Overall, the snow sports market has more than 19M participants in skiing, snowboarding, cross country skiing, snow shoeing, telemark and alpine touring. This season, we project that consumers will spend more than $3.5M this season on equipment, apparel and accessories in the snow sports market.

SIA releases the top line results for snow sports retail seven times each season from November to May covering results of retail sales made between August 1 and March 31 each 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 Leisure Trends Cross-Industry RetailTRAK™ data portal. Non-SIA members may subscribe to the topline portal for just $375 per year.

SIA RetailTRAK™ Data 2013/2014 Season Release Schedule

  • November 7, 2013 August – September
  • December 7, 2013 (est.) August – October
  • January 5, 2014 (est.) August – November
  • January 31, 2014 August – December
  • March 5, 2014 (est.) August – January
  • April 5, 2014 (est.) August – February
  • May 6, 2014 (est.) August – March

For more information about snow sports research and market intelligence products including retail, wholesale, consumer, participation and special reports please contact Kelly Davis, SIA Director of Research at 703-556-9020 or by email at