SIA Newsletter

Snow Sports Sales Accelerate in November

November snow sports retail sales increased 13% in units sold and 14% in dollars compared to the month of November 2012. Sales reached $1.2B season to date (August to November), $83M more than was spent at retail through November last season. This is a welcome turn-around early in the holiday shopping season after two seasons of sparse snow and warmer than average temperatures in November. In fact, the National Climate Data Center reported that average temperatures in the contiguous U.S. were below the 30 year average and there were nearly three times as many record cold daily highs and lows in November. In late November (measured on November 27th), 36% of the contiguous U.S. had snow cover compared to 20% in November 2012. This led to early resort opening in November; in fact, many had the earliest opening dates in more than a decade. Colder temperatures, snow, and an opportunity to enjoy skiing and snowboarding early combined to drive the snow sports market in a decisively positive direction.

Snow Depth

Overall Snow Sports Market Sales through All Channels August through November 30, 2013

  • Equipment Sales- $304M, up 6% in dollars sold and up 4% in units sold
  • Apparel Sales- $530M, up 6% in dollars sold and flat in units sold
  • Accessories Sales- $328M, up 13% in dollars sold up 7% in units sold

Notable Trends

  • Alpine Touring/Randonee equipment continues to enjoy significant increases in sales, through November AT equipment sales increased 34% in dollars sold and 34% in units sold.
  • Backcountry accessories sales including beacons, probes and shovels increased 29% in dollars sold through November. Beacons led the way with a 36% increase in dollars sold on more than 8,000 units through November.
  • Alpine ski equipment sales climbed 1% in units sold and up 8% in dollars sold to $195M through November.

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 $521 million August through November 2013, 4% more than the same time period last season. Unit sales are up 3% overall in specialty shops.

  • Equipment Sales- $195M, flat in dollars sold and down 4% in units sold
  • Apparel Sales- $184M, up 2% in dollars sold and down 3% in units sold
  • Accessories Sales- $142M, up 12% in dollars sold and up 8% in units sold

Specialty $ Sales by Major Category Aug-Nov 2010 to Aug-Nov 2013
Source: SIA RetailTrak™ data produced by Leisure Trends, an NPD Group Company

Specialty Channel Highlights:

  • AT Boot sales are up 174% in dollars and up 128% in units sold to 1432 units.
  • Backcountry accessories sales finished November 38% in units and up 36% in dollars sold.
  • Alpine bottoms sales are up 4% in units sold and up 9% in dollars sold to $24M
  • Base Layer dollar sales are up 17% in units and up 19% in dollars sold to $14M
  • Adult alpine suits increases 176% in dollars sold to $1.1M and up 145% in units to 9,513
  • Overall, carryover gear sales in specialty shops including equipment, apparel and accessories that are sold at, or below average retail cost was 5% lower through November 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 regional or national level. 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 $263M for August through November, 11% more than August through November last season. Unit sales are up 12% overall in chain stores.

  • Equipment Sales- $9.5M, up 14% in dollars sold and up 25% in units sold
  • Apparel Sales- $82M, up 5% in dollars sold and up 3% in units sold
  • Accessories Sales- $45M, up 3% in dollars sold and up 1% in units sold
  • Source: SIA RetailTrak™ data produced by Leisure Trends, an NPD Group Company

Chain Store $ Sales Aug-Nov 2010 to Aug-Nov 2013
Source: SIA RetailTrak™ data produced by Leisure Trends, an NPD Group Company

Chain Store Channel Highlights:

  • Equipment sales in chain stores have increased from $17.5M through August through November 2012, to $19.7M from August to November 2013, an 11% increase.
  • Average prices for equipment in chain stores were 42% below average prices for equipment sold online and 43% below average prices in specialty shops. Consumers looking for less sophisticated gear at the lowest prices are likely to shop in this channel.
  • Insulated parka sales reached 275K units and $36M in chain stores through November, up 38% in units and up 44% in dollars sold.
  • Headwear (hats, not helmets) sales increased 28% in dollars sold and 30% in units sold to 568K units sold through November.

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 $378M up 11% in dollars sold but sales are down 1% in units sold through November.

  • Equipment Sales- $89M, up 19% in dollars sold and up 19% in units sold
  • Apparel Sales- $189M, up 6% in dollars sold and down 8% in units sold
  • Accessories Sales- $100M, up 15% in dollars sold and down 1% in units sold

Online/Interne $ Sales Aug-Nov 2010 to Aug-Nov 2013
Source: SIA RetailTrak™ data produced by Leisure Trends, an NPD Group Company

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 13% higher in November 2013 compared to November 2012.

Online sales of snowboard equipment are up 15% in units sold and up 16% in dollars sold to $36M. 39% of snowboard equipment dollars were sold online through November, 51% were sold in specialty shops, and 9% in chain stores.

Alpine bindings sales increased 52% to 39K units sold at average prices equal to specialty shop retail prices.

Average prices for apparel available online increased 15% from $105.74 for August through November 2012 on to $121.13 through November this season.

Conclusion

2013 2014 snow sports sales are off to a good start 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 kdavis@snowsports.org