Snow Sports Bargain Hunters Drive August to October Sales Increases

December 9, 2008

MCLEAN, Va., Dec. 9 /PRNewswire/ — Snow sports shoppers are willing to
spend their money on snow sports equipment, apparel and accessories even when
the overall economy is significantly down. August to October snow sports sales
of $507 million were up 9% overall bolstered by very strong sales of carryover
equipment and gear for juniors. “Snow sports shoppers went out looking for
bargains and they were willing to buy when they found them,” said Kelly
, Director of Research for SnowSports Industries America (SIA), the
not-for-profit industry trade group represents manufacturers and distributors
of snow sports products.

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August to October 2008 retail sales in the snow sports industry were
driven by pre-season clearance sales. Sales of carryover gear accounted for a
significant portion of the observed increases in snow sports equipment sales.
Sales like the “SkiBonkers” sale in Seattle, which are dominated by leftover
inventory from the past season, help consumers find bargains on carryover
items. Carryover is officially defined as any item that sells for less than
the average retail cost for that item. Carryover accounted for 28% of skis,
23% of snowboards, 24% of ski boots, and 26% of snowboard boots sold August to
October 2008. Compare that to last season’s August to October results when
carryover sales accounted for just 16% of skis and 19% of snowboards sold and
millions fewer dollars spent.

Parents did not slow their spending on equipment and apparel for the kids.
Junior ski sales were up 34% in dollars, junior snowboard sales increased 17%
in dollars, juniors parka sales were up 16% in dollars and sales of junior
snow suits increased more than 40% in units and in dollars. Mom and Dad may be
planning to forgo new skis and boards this season, but they are making sure
their kids have the right gear.

SIA has monitored the snow sports retail market for more than 30 years and
historically, economic conditions have far less impact on the market than
snowfall. When the snow is good, the snow sports market does well even if the
economic outlook is bleak. The current recession has demonstrated clearly that
the world is inextricably connected economically as the impact of the U.S.
foreclosure crisis spread across the globe. Even in a global economic downturn
the snow sports demographic continued to buy snow sports gear and history
tells us that if it snows, then they will use what they purchased on the

During a recession, the snow sports market is among the more resilient
retail markets. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, overall October retail
sales increased 1.6% compared with October 2007, and the sporting goods retail
market increased 2.2%. The snow sports market was up 9% compared to August to
October 2007. Keep in mind that these data are measures of sales from August
through October and that the global economy was under significantly more
pressure in November. “We observed other retail market segments move downward
significantly last month and we plan to keep a close watch on the market. We
anticipate reporting November sales during the first week of January 2009,”
said David Ingemie, President of SIA.

Equipment sales were healthy August to October with a 2% increase in
alpine ski and 11% increase in snowboard equipment. Apparel sales were up 14%
in units and 9% in dollars indicating strong sales on discounted prices.
Accessories such as helmets and goggles were particularly strong while auto
racks and snowshoe sales declined.

The Internet channel continued to grow at an astounding pace gaining 27%
in dollars and 36% in units compared to August to October 2007. Overall,
consumers spent $131 million on snow sports equipment, apparel and accessories
online. Internet sales comprised 26% of all the dollars consumers spent on
snow sports products in the U.S. between August 1 and October 31, 2008.

Specialty shops brought in the lion’s share of snow sports dollars,
consumers spent $297 million in snow sports specialty shops August to October
compared with $286 million over the same time period in 2007. Alpine ski
sales were flat in specialty shops, snowboard sales increased about 7% in
dollars and 2% in units sold, and apparel sales, which accounted for almost
40% of all dollars spent in specialty shops, increased by just 3%.

Chain stores are selling far less snow sports equipment this season. Ski
sales decreased 21% in dollars, snowboard sales slid 17% in dollars, and
equipment accessories sales dropped 8%. One bright sport in chain store sales
was Nordic ski equipment that increased 48% in units and 67% in dollars. At
$78 million, chain store sales accounted for 15% of all dollars spent on snow
sports goods in the U.S. market August to October. Apparel sales accounted
for 56% of all chain store snow sports sales and enjoyed a 13% increase in
units and 10% increase in dollars spent August to October 2008.

The market data presented in this report comes from the SIA Retail Audit
conducted by the Leisure Trends Group. Each season, Leisure Trends gathers
data between August 1 and March 31 from a representative panel of more than
1,200 snow sports retailers who provide sales data directly from their Point
of Sale systems. The panel and the method for extrapolating the results out
to the entire industry is based on a triennial census of snow sports retailers
designed to accurately define the size and structure of the snow sports retail

Note: The August to October retail data does not include resort retail
shops. If you need additional information, contact Anovia Daniels,
Communications and Public Relations Manager, at ADaniels@snowsports.org.

– SIA -

SnowSports Industries America (SIA) is a not-for-profit trade association
whereby competing on-snow product suppliers magnify their power, by working
together, for the development of the on-snow sports industry. For more
information, check out snowsports.org. SnowSports Industries America, 8377-B
Greensboro Drive, McLean, VA 22102-3587. Phone: 703.556.9020; Fax:
703.821.8276, E-mail: SIAmail@snowsports.org


SIA media office, 703.556.9020; pr@snowsports.org

snowsports.org Media Center

SOURCE SnowSports Industries America

Source: newswire

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