What’s Selling? A Report from the Frontlines of the Ski & Snowboard Market

What’s Selling? A Report from the Frontlines of the Ski & Snowboard Market

It may be the first day of spring but chairlifts are still running. And according to the latest report from SnowSports Industries America (SIA) and Leisure Trends, the people riding those lifts are rocking plenty of new gear.

According to the latest SIA RetailTRAK numbers for August 2013 through January 2014, the snowsports retail market finished January up 7 percent in dollars with a total $2.8B for all equipment, apparel and accessories. Retailers brought in $178M more dollars through January this season compared to August to January 2012/2013.

This despite drought conditions in the Pacific West and record cold snaps (Polar Vortex) in the Northeast, Midwest, Mid-Atlantic and as far south as Baton Rouge, Louisiana, which all had both positive and negative impacts at retail. In fact, compared to January 2013, sales in January 2014 were down 7 percent in equipment sales, down 12 percent in apparel sales, and up 10 percent in accessories sales.

“When the temperatures dip well below normal consumers who will never see a slope or a trail may head to snowsports retailers for gloves, hats, and apparel tops that will help them weather abnormally frigid temperatures,” said Kelly Davis, SIA director of research.

Here are some highlights of the notable trends SIA is tracking right now:

•    Alpine Touring/Randonee equipment continues to enjoy significant increases. Through January, AT equipment sales increased 11 percent in dollars sold and 11 percent in units sold.
•    Alpine/AT boots are up 21 percent in units to 68,000 units sold, and up 21 percent in dollars sold to $27M. Alpine/AT boots make up nearly 15 percent of dollars sold in the alpine boot market this year.
•    Overall, sales of AT/Randonee equipment are up 11 percent in units sold and up 11 percent in dollars sold to $13M. AT binding sales are up 15 percent in units sold to 18,700 units, and up 12 percent in dollars sold to $7M.
•    For shredders, junior girls snowboarding equipment sales grew 22 percent in dollars sold. Overall snowboard equipment sales are flat, however, with dollars sold topping out at $202M.
•    Backcountry accessories sales including beacons, probes and shovels increased 17 percent in dollars sold. Beacons led the way with a 16 percent increase in units sold to 15,630 units.
•    Sales of action cameras were up 13 percent in units sold to 91,500 cameras and up 27 percent in dollars sold to $31M.
•    Alpine insulated parka sales were up 19 percent in dollars sold to $309M and up 13 percent in units to 1.7M parkas sold at snowsports retail.