Industry News

Early Season Snow Sports Sales Up 6% in Dollars Sold to $799M

January 4, 2016 | 0 Comments

The NPD DecisionKey®  numbers for August to October 2015 have been released, showing healthy snow sports sales in the early season. Total market projections are based on data collected from the Point of Sale systems of more than 1,200 snow sports retailers.

According to NPD, the snow sports market is up 8% in units sold and 6% in dollars sold to $799M through October 31st.  Even as average prices were down 2% overall.  Outerwear sales including fleece, shell, insulated shell and softshell tops and bottoms finished October up 9% in units sold and up 4% in dollars sold to $346M and accounted for more than 40% of all dollars spent in the snow sports market through Halloween night.  Handwear, headwear, socks and baselayer categories enjoyed increased sales.  Socks, in particular, are flying off the shelves, up 46% in units and 52% in dollars sold.  Snowboard equipment sales flattened out but brought in $46M (compared to $46M through Oct 31, 2014). Nordic equipment bounced up 40% in dollars sold through October to $4.5M.  Alpine equipment sales were up 18% and brought in $121M!   AT equipment sales fell 12% but the dollar value of sales reached just $3M, about 2% of the dollars alpine equipment brought in, so beware of incendiary views of the decline.


Source:  SIA Snow Sports Retail Data produced by the NPD Group

  • Snow sports specialty shop sales increased 9% in dollars sold through October to $355M, but the results were not even nationwide. The South and Midwest regions suffered from declining sales while specialty shops in the west brought in $27M more compared to August to October sales in 2014.  Northeast sales were up through October but warmer temperatures and lack of snow likely stalled November and December sales in this region.
  • Chain store sales decreased 3% to $219M through October. Outerwear sales were down 3% in dollars sold to 101M in chain stores following a general trend in retail this fall.
  • Online sales increased 11% to $226M through October. Equipment sales made over the Internet were up 8% to $250M, and outerwear sales jumped up by more than 15% in dollars sold to $125M. 

Early Season Trends:   

  • -Sales of action cameras are down 41% in dollars sold to $9.1M, down 37% in units sold to 25,839 units sold. This doesn’t appear to be the end of the action camera trend, consumers are simply buying their cameras in big box stores at lower prices.
  • -Baselayer up 10% in dollars sold to $24M, and up 9% in units sold to nearly 640K units sold. Handwear up 9% in dollars sold to $21M
  • -Socks up 51% in dollars sold to $6.3M and up 46% in units sold to 2.4M pairs.
  • Equipment Sales up 60% in dollars sold to $225M:

-Alpine equipment up 18% to $121M

-Bindings up 28% to $13.5M, and 97K units up 33%

  • -Boots 31% to $48M, up 35% in units to 203K
  • -Skis up 6% to $57M, and up 27% in units sold to 195K

Snowboard equipment sales were even with October 2014 in dollars sold to $46M:

-Boards down 3% to $23M and down 11% in units sold to 82K

-Boots up 1% to $11.6M, down 5% in units sold to 79K

-Bindings up 4% to $11.2M, down 3% in units sold 81K

Nordic Equipment Sales are up 39% in dollars sold to $4.5M but last season was terrible for Nordic equipment suppliers and retailers.

AT equipment Sales down $400K to $3M , an 11% drop

Rentals up 107% to $15M as lease programs gain in popularity

Overall, the snow sports market was healthy through October.  Keep in mind that snow sports retail has brought in only 15% of all dollars are spent through the entire season (August through March) by October 31st.  November and December are the big months when almost half of all snow sports sales are made.  This season is promising in the west region where El Niño weather patterns are driving sales up, but warm and snowless weather in the Eastern half of the U.S. may stall sales during the busiest months of the season.  We will report on August to November in mid-January.

For more information about snow sports research and market intelligence products including retail, wholesale, consumer, participation and special reports, please contact Kelly Davis, SIA’s Director of Research at [email protected] or visit

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 The NPD Group’s proprietary user interface, the DecisionKey® data portal.

The NPD Group’s Decision Key® 2015/2016 season release schedule:

  1. December 15, 2015: August – October
  2. January 15, 2016: August – November
  3. February 15, 2016: August – December
  4. March 15, 2016: August – January
  5. April 15, 2016: August – February
  6. May 15, 2016: August – March


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