The Leisure Trends Group out of Boulder, Colorado is the absolute action sports think tank when it comes to what’s moving the needle in ski, outdoor and running gear sales.

The group provides retailers, manufacturers and gear testers like us with up-to-the-month info about what trends are having the biggest impact on the action sports market, and how that might affect what you pay for your next piece of gear. Here’s a quick overview of several markets that the group released today, with the “three channels” that are repeatedly mentioned referring to specialty retail, chain stores and online sales.

SNOW SPORTS RETAIL MARKET OVERVIEW:
Across all three channels, all snow sport sales in the August to September period totaled $307M, edging up 1% over the same two month period last year, which was up 10% over the year previous. Online retailers started the season with 11% gains and chains managed a 1% increase. Specialty store sales, however, slid 4%.

OUTDOOR RETAIL MARKET OVERVIEW:
Steady growth continued to define the outdoor industry in September as core outdoor dollars increased 6% over September 2011. Units, up 5%, accounted for most of the growth as average retail-selling price climbed just 1%. All three channels grew but the magnitude varied. Internet maintained double-digit dollar growth, climbing 14%. Chain increased 5% and specialty eked out a 1% gain.

RUNNING RETAIL MARKET OVERVIEW:
Run specialty enjoyed another positive month to close out Q3. Compared to September 2011, the channel rose a solid 10% to total $76M. Units gained 3% and average retail-selling price bumped up 6%. So far this year, run specialty generated $694M, 9% more than the same period last year.

PADDLESPORTS OVERVIEW:
Compared to last September, paddle sport sales jumped 11% to reach $31M. Growth came thanks to the 10% increase in average retail-selling price. Units bumped up less than 1%. Specialty stores, up 11% with $22M this September, benefited from a noteworthy 17% ARSP surge as units declined 5%. Chain and online sales totaled $5M (+4%) and $3M (+22%), respectively.

For more, check out the Leisure Trends website here.