Industry News

The Snow Winners So Far This Season

January 20, 2021 | 0 Comments

NPD put hard numbers to winter sales trends during SIA’s Industry + Intelligence Day at OR Winter Online.

In partnership with Shop-Eat-Surf

By Tiffany Montgomery | Published Jan 20, 2021

It’s common knowledge in the snow industry that snowshoes, Nordic, splitboards and backcountry gear are selling well so far this season.

But NPD put hard numbers to those sales trends during SIA’s Industry + Intelligence Day Tuesday during OR Winter Online.

NPD also provided details about how large categories such as alpine skis, snowboards and outerwear are performing.

In the broader market for the rolling year through November 2020:

  • Active apparel: down 5%
  • Athletic footwear: down 5%
  • Outdoor sports and equipment: up 17%
  • Team sports equipment: up 13%
  • Cycling: up 50%
  • Health and fitness equipment: up 75%

While the apparel and footwear market faced really strong headwinds over the last year, 2020 has no doubt been the year of equipment,” Laura Hills of NPD said during the presentation.


Snow Overview

Hills provided a closer look at how the snow season is going so far given the challenges of the pandemic.

From August-November 2020, snow industry sales overall declined 7% in dollars.

  • Apparel, the largest piece of the snow market, fell by $157 million and accounted for most of the decline.
  • Equipment sales fell by $13 million.
  • Accessories, the lone bright spot, gained $1.8 million in sales.


Pandemic-Friendly Goods Soar

Some pandemic friendly equipment and accessories categories saw eye-popping sales for the first four months of the season.

Growth in dollars:

  • Splitboards: up 181%
  • Alpine touring: up 91%
  • Nordic: up 117%
  • Snowshoes: up 141%
  • Technical backpacks (avalanche safety): up 59%
  • Backcountry accessories (skins, beacons, probes, avalanche shovels, etc.): up 104%
  • Sports racks for cars: up 120%


Hard hit categories

Overall, snowboard equipment fared better than ski equipment.

Sales of snowboard equipment (snowboards, boots and bindings) declined 6% in dollars during the August through November timeframe.

  • Snowboards: up 2%
  • Snowboard boots: down 20%
  • Snowboard bindings: down 4%

Alpine equipment (skis, boots, bindings and poles) dropped 13% in dollars.

  • Alpine skis: down 22%
  • Alpine boots: down 60%
  • Alpine bindings: down 17%
  • Alpine poles: down 2%

NPD attributed the sharp decline in both alpine ski and snowboard boots to customers likely being uncomfortable with up close boot fittings during the pandemic.


More about snowboards

Growth in snowboard sales in dollars are attributed to the huge spike in demand for splitboards, even though splitboards are the smallest part of the overall market.

Splitboard sales grew 181% in dollars in the first four months of the season.

In other snowboard categories:

  • All mountain snowboards: fell 4%
  • Freeride snowboards: declined 2%
  • Freestyle snowboards: dropped 4%.


More about apparel

Outerwear has been difficult for the past two seasons because of warmer weather and now the pandemic as well.

Insulated outerwear, the largest category within apparel, lost $185 million in sales over the past two seasons.

Sweatshirts grew, however, adding $112 million.

Sales of all other categories of apparel have fallen over the past two years.

So far this season, several insulated outerwear brands managed to gain market share even in a declining category, including Patagonia, which gained an impressive three points of share.

Here are the brands that gained market share, in descending order:

  • Patagonia
  • Private Label
  • Carhartt
  • Helly Hansen
  • Mountain Hardware
  • Fjallraven
  • Obermeyer
  • Cotopaxi
  • Burton
  • Outdoor Research
  • 686

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