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January 29, 2009

Ski Industry Retail Sales Down - But Not as Bad as It Could Be (h/t FTO)

From First Tracks Online:

"According to the (U.S.) Census Bureau the rest of retail trade is down 11%, so considering that, the snow sports market is weathering this economic downturn fairly well," said Kelly Davis, SnowSports Industries America's (SIA) Director of Research.

Overall, the snow sports market declined 1.5% in total dollars compared to August through December 2007 to $1.875 billion. Hardest hit was the alpine equipment category where current model ski sales were down 17% over last season. One bright spot in the alpine equipment category was the continuation of strong sales of twin tip and fat skis (80-95mm waist width). The snowboard category declined 5% in boards, boots and bindings. Overall apparel was down 3% but snowboard apparel, shell parkas and fleece sales remained strong and another surprising increase of more than 20% in adult one-piece suits shored up the market. Accessories continued to sell well and sales were up 4%, particularly hats, gloves, and wax that many skiers and riders purchased at resort shops.

The equipment category declined 4% in dollars overall with the deepest loss in alpine ski and equipment sold in chain stores. Alpine ski sales, particularly current year models, declined 17% over last season even while twin tips and fat skis were selling well. The biggest loser in the alpine ski category was the mid-fat ski (70-79mm waist width) category; flat mid-fat skis were down 45% and mid-fat systems were down 14%.

Alpine ski boots and bindings sales were about even with last season sales and current year models are selling well. Snowboards, snowboard boots, and snowboard bindings sales declined 5% season over season but reverse camber boards continue to sell extremely well. Nordic equipment sales declined 2% in dollars and 7% in units even though Alpine Touring equipment sales soured 23% to $4.6 million.

Apparel sales accounted for more than 40% of all dollars spent overall in the snow sports market. Fleece continues to be the big seller in the apparel market with $170 million in sales, which was flat compared with August to December sales last season. Adult shell parkas sales increased 5% season and snowboard apparel continued to sell well but increased just 1% compared to last season.

The hottest apparel trend is the surprisingly strong sales of apparel suits, for both adults and kids. More than 70,000 adult suits have been sold so far this season for a 20% increase in dollars sold, and sales of juniors suits are up 21% in dollars sold. Overall, expect to see about 125,000 new one-piece suits on the slopes.

The return of the One Piece Snow Suit. =)

On the plus side, the market is not completely tanking. It is down but not out. Let's hope that the economy picks up steam sometime soon.

Interesting the trend on fat skis versus mid fat and on twin tip versus non twin tip. That the straight midfat appears to be dying.

Posted by Justin at January 29, 2009 05:07 PM


Very interesting stats. I'd have thought we'd see sales of gear down a lot more than that. I can live without new gear for a couple of years if I need to, but I'd hate not to hit the slopes.

Hopefully this means the resorts will have a decent winter (under the circumstances) and we won't see any high profile closures.

No comment of the return of the snow suit!

Posted by: Rich at February 15, 2009 10:02 PM

I'm totally there in my Zoot Suit.

Posted by: Bonji at March 24, 2009 04:56 AM