SnowSports Industries America’s SnowSports Consumer Panel Tells All

January 7, 2009

MCLEAN, Va., Jan. 7 /PRNewswire/ — SnowSports Industries America (SIA)
released information from their SnowSports Consumer Panel. Overall, skiers and
riders are concerned about the economy but they will participate as they
always do, particularly if the snow continues to fall. Research shows that
snowfall is a much better predictor of participation and sales than the
economy. Despite economic and logistical barriers, so far this season the
snow is excellent and snow sports sales of equipment, apparel and accessories
were up 9% driven by carryover sales. The results of the December 2008 SIA
Consumer Panel and the SIA Retail Audit for August through November sales
indicate that skiers and riders may pinch their pennies on the slopes this
season, but they will be on the slopes.

(Logo: http://www.newscom.com/cgi-bin/prnh/20080509/AQF019LOGO-a)

Top-line findings are:

— Dismal economic conditions will affect the majority of snow sports
consumers but they plan to limit spending by pinching pennies, not by
canceling their plans to ski and ride this season.

— Snow Sports consumers are hunting for bargains and buying when they
find them.

— Skiers and riders use the Internet to research gear and ski vacations
before they purchase and more of them are purchasing online this season.

— Airline bag fees are keeping 1 in 5 skiers/riders from taking their
gear with them when they fly.

— Half of snow sports consumers do not know they can ship their gear
cheaply and efficiently to their destination using FedEx(R).

The December 2008 SIA Snow Sports Consumer Panel Results

The first SIA Consumer Panel Poll of the 2008.09 season was conducted in
December 2008 and the results indicate that skiers and riders will be affected
but not deterred by dismal economic conditions. The SIA Panel responses
dovetailed nicely with the information SIA receives from monitoring retail
sales across the country: that skiers and riders plan to spend their money on
snow sports this year, but they will be pinching their pennies.

    "I'm skiing as long as I have some kind of gainful employment and that
    seems likely for the next year or two while I weather the recession," said
    a SIA Panel member.
    (Photo:  http://www.newscom.com/cgi-bin/prnh/20090107/AQW013)

We asked the SIA Panel how the economy was affecting their snow sports
spending, about what types of plans they were making to ski and ride this
season, about their Internet habits, and about their willingness to take their
skis and boards with them when they fly. The Panel told us they may hold off
on equipment purchases during these difficult economic times but the majority
plan to spend about the same amount they spent last year. The SIA Snow Sports
Consumer Panel consists of core (those that participate reliably multiple
times each season) participants, most own their own equipment, almost all plan
to ski or ride this season on multiple occasions. Overall, Panel members’
responses match up well with the data coming out of retail sales, which show
that bargain hunters were out in force at the pre-season sales and they were
happy to buy equipment on sale and equipment for their kids, but they were
holding off on purchases of this season’s equipment models.

Each year, about 1 in 6 Panel members purchase new skis or a new board,
but they buy accessories and apparel every year. This season, about one-third
of our Panel members say that they plan to hold off on buying new equipment
this season specifically because of economic conditions. Last season at this
time, 28% of panel members told us they would not purchase new equipment
because they “didn’t need anything new.” Their reasons for not buying
equipment have shifted somewhat, but the number of consumers who will not buy
has not shifted dramatically.

Most Panel members use the Internet to research their snow sports vacation
options and their equipment before they buy. Surprisingly, they use the
Internet far more to research products and services than they use it to keep
up with athletes and events or to meet other people interested in snow sports.
They are clicking to buy more frequently too; online retail dollars sales are
up 13% compared to August through November sales in 2007.

August to November 2008 snow sports retail sales were primarily driven by
pre-season clearance sales. Sales of carryover gear accounted for a
significant portion of 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 30% of skis, 23% of snowboards,
21% of ski boots, and 23% of snowboard boots sold August to November 2008.
Compare that to last season’s August to November results when carryover sales
accounted for just 20% of skis and 21% of snowboards sold and millions fewer
dollars spent. Sales of current year model alpine ski equipment paint a
different picture of sales with most ski categories down significantly. Ski
prices are up across the board but dollar sales of skis (including carryover)
are down almost 7% despite the increase. Excluding carryover sales, current
model alpine ski sales are down about 16%.

                                     Change Dollars
                       $Dollars Sold   Aug - Nov
                         Aug - Nov      2007 to       Avg. Price  Avg. Price
    Equipment Category     2008      Aug - Nov 2008    Nov 2007    Nov 2008

    All Alpine Skis     $79,377,471      -6.54%         $327.18     $318.89
    All Carryover Skis
     (Flat and Systems) $18,374,413      39.77%         $231.97     $246.26
    Junior Skis          $5,295,786      18.73%         $128.54     $148.45
    All Snowboards      $49,979,910       2.29%         $251.22     $251.23
     Snowboards          $8,480,397      40.73%         $158.82     $175.48
    Junior Snowboards    $3,214,807       1.54%         $149.26     $157.89
    *All Women's
      Products         $253,441,281          0%         $110.80     $105.88
    All Apparel        $402,876,770       2.36%         $127.01     $119.58
    All Accessories    $247,886,072       7.80%          $28.99      $30.67

Source: SIA Retail Audit 2008.09 August to November Sales, All Stores
(includes Specialty, Chain, and Online Retail) *All women’s products does not
include carryover equipment, apparel, or accessories

Snow sports consumers are using the Internet more and more every season to
research and compare gear, to plan their vacations and to buy gear. Last
season, Internet sales increased 46% in dollars to $492 million and that trend
continued in the early part of the 2008.09 season. In fact, 70% of SIA Panel
members told us they use the Internet to research and compare equipment, and
63% said they like to plan their snow sports vacations online. Just a few use
the Internet to meet others interested in snow sports and 4 in 10 keep up with
their favorite professional skiers and riders online. This shift in consumer
behavior presents excellent marketing and revenue opportunities for both
manufacturers and retailers looking to capture their target audience by
providing online consumers with good information about their gear and giving
them the opportunity to buy the gear immediately after they make their
decisions about which gear they would like to purchase.

The vast majority of snow sports core participants own their own equipment
and most like to take it with them when they fly to a ski/ride destination.
Unfortunately, the airlines have recently begun charging high fees for extra
bags, particularly if they are oversized or overweight. “On American
Airlines, for example, a coach customer checking skis, a boot bag and a
suitcase for clothing would pay $140 each way in luggage fees. Skiers who can
cram all their clothes into a boot bag — and keep it under 50 pounds — can
avoid the $100 fee for the third bag.” — David Koenig, Associated Press,
published November 28, 2008 at 12:05 a.m. Skiers and riders have been hit hard
by these fees and many are choosing not to take their equipment with them to
save a few bucks. In fact, 20% of our Panel members said that they would not
take their equipment with them on a plane this season due to the increases in
baggage fees. There are alternatives to bringing gear on the plane and about
60% of core participants know that they can easily and inexpensively (far
cheaper than renting equipment) Ship Your Gear using FedEx(R). For more
information about the Ship Your Gear Program, visit SnowLink at snowlink.com.

FedEx Ground(R) Sample List Rates

All sample rates* are based on a standard ski/snowboard bag
(72″ x 12″ x 8″), 25 lbs and may change at ship date.

    Origin                      Destination**       Transit Times  FedEx Rate

    Boston, MA (02128)         Aspen, CO                  4          $32.44
    Dallas, TX (75261)         Breckenridge, CO           2          $23.49
    Miami, FL (33102)          Keystone, CO               4          $32.44
    New York, NY (10001)       Steamboat Spring, CO       4          $32.44
    San Francisco, CA (94128)  Vail, CO                   3          $23.49
    Boston, MA (02128)         Deer Valley, UT            5          $38.10
    Dallas, TX (75261)         Deer Valley, UT            3          $23.49
    Miami, FL (33102)          Park City, UT              5          $38.10
    New York, NY (10001)       Park City, UT              5          $38.10
    San Francisco, CA (94128)  Salt Lake City, UT         2          $20.80
    Boston, MA (02128)         Heavenly, CA               5          $38.14
    Dallas, TX (75261)         Squaw Valley, CA           3          $23.49
    Miami, FL (33102)          Squaw Valley, CA           5          $38.14
    New York, NY (10001)       Kirkwood, CA               5          $38.14

As stated above, skiers and riders are concerned about the economy but
they will participate as they always do, particularly if the snow continues to


Using the SnowSports Consumer Panel, a product of SnowSports Industries
America (SIA), an online survey was sent to panel members on December 4, 2008.
The objective of the survey was to determine how poor economic conditions,
high baggage fees and the Internet affect the spending habits of snow sports
consumers. The survey was sent to 3,201 panel members, with a total of 241
responding for a margin of error of + or – 3%.

– 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 http://www.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

SOURCE SnowSports Industries America

Source: newswire

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