The snow sports retail market had a record holiday selling season, but severe drought in the Sierra and Cascade mountain ranges tempered the celebration. According to the latest sales figures from SnowSports Industries America (SIA) and Leisure Trends, sales for August through December 2013, reached a new record $2.2 billion season to date, $193 million more than was spent at retail through December last season.
This is a welcome turn-around for much of the country, but sales were negatively impacted by severe drought in the Sierra range where the snowpack is more than 80% below normal and in the Cascades where the snowpack is 50% below average. By contrast, the Midwest, Northeast and Mid-Atlantic weather conditions were excellent and record cold as far south as the Florida panhandle drove apparel and accessories sales to record levels.
Here are some notable trends in the market this season:
• Alpine Touring/Randonee equipment continues to enjoy significant increases in sales. Through December AT equipment sales increased 23% in dollars and 20% in units sold.
• Sales of Alpine/AT boots that can be converted to an AT/Touring sole for backcountry use are up 28% in units sold to 53,000 units, and up 21% in dollars sold to $20 million. AT boots make up nearly 15% of dollars in the alpine boot market so far this season.
• Sales of women’s cross-country equipment increased 50% in units and 43% in dollars to over $4 million through December.
• Junior girls snowboarding equipment sales grew 17% in units and 18% in dollars through December. Overall, snowboard equipment sales are up 2% in dollars to $167 million.
• Backcountry accessories sales including beacons, probes and shovels increased 17% in dollars and 14% in units through December. Beacons led the way with a 20% increase in units sold to 13,500 units through December.
• Action cameras may be the single most popular accessory in the snowsports market right now. Sales of action cameras were up 19% in units sold to 81,000 cameras and up 36% in dollars to $27 million through December.
• Alpine insulated tops sales were up 20% in dollars sold to $362 million and up 15% in units to more than 2 million units sold.