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SIA Market Research Associate, Emily O’Hara Breaks Down the January Numbers


By: Emily O’Hara
March 7, 2012

I wish I could write that the January numbers were fantastic, sales were up across the board and the snow is back. Unfortunately, we all know that’s not the case. January followed suit of December and sales struggled amidst a month of little snow across the country. Total sales across all retail channels, August 2011 through January 2012 brought in close to $2.7 billion, down 12% in units and 4.5% in dollars sold. During seasons like this, some categories struggle more than others, accessories being one, as many of the products aren’t needed unless you’re actually on the mountain and actively participating; accessories are down 16% in units and 9% in dollars. Equipment hasn’t been hit quite as hard, but still feels the burn with a drop of 9% in units and 5% in dollars. Apparel remains the least effected category with the lack of snow, considering that participants and non-participants continue to buy throughout the winter months to maintain the snow sports “look.”

Despite the fact that the majority of sales are down as of January 31, there are some categories and trends that have done very well considering the circumstances—

Trends to watch in 2011/2012

  • Adult twin tip flat skis and ski systems sales are up 25% in units sold and up 34% in dollars sold to almost $50M on 102,400 units sold August through January.
  • Reverse camber skis are flying out of retail despite a lack of fresh pow; sales are up 75% in units to 106,346 compared to 60,674 through January last season.
  • Reverse camber/rocker snowboard sales continue to rise. Unit sales of rocker boards are up 9.5% in units and 7% in dollars sold. In fact, 73% of all snowboards sold through January have reverse camber.

At this point in the season, the most noticeable issue in retail shops is that inventories are inflated significantly when compared to last season, meaning that sell-through is also going to be down. With a kick of snow out West in February, we can hope that there is a light at the end of the tunnel and sales increase as more participants are driven to buy retail.

February RetailTRAK numbers will be released in early April. In the meantime revisit the Mid-Season Snow Sports Intelligence Report here.