Snow Sports Market Sees First Decline in Sales

January 27, 2009

MCLEAN, Va., Jan. 27 /PRNewswire/ — The snow sports market contracted for
the first time this season as recession-conscious holiday shoppers spent fewer
dollars. “According to the 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 SIA’s 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.

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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 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 to Aug-Dec 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.

    Accessories sales were excellent as skiers and snowboarders picked up the
necessities before hitting the slopes.  Strong sales of new hats, gloves,
goggles and wax helped the accessories market increase by 4% over this time
last season.

                          Change in         Change in
                          Dollars Aug-      Units Aug-Dec
                          Dec 2007 to       2007 to Aug-      Total Dollars
                          Aug-Dec 2008      Dec 2008          Sold

    Total Market             -1.26%           2.25%          $1,875,578,347
    Specialty Shops          -4.89%          -3.63%          $1,108,214,294
    Chain Stores             -1.59%           4.03%          $391,287,421
    Internet/Catalog         11.67%          22.90%          $376,076,632

The Internet channel enjoyed strong growth in December, gaining 12% in
dollars and 23% in units compared to August to December 2007. Overall,
consumers spent $376 million on snow sports equipment, apparel, and
accessories online. Internet sales comprised 20% of all the dollars consumers
spent on snow sports products in the U.S. between August 1 and December 31,

The specialty channel was hit hardest by declining sales in December. The
specialty market declined 5% in dollars. Specialty shops were responsible for
$1.1 million of the 1.9 million in total sales (includes specialty shops,
chain stores, and online sales) for the snow sports marketplace August through
December 2008. Consumers still prefer to buy their equipment in specialty
shops. In fact, 76% of alpine equipment, 73% of Nordic gear, and 63% of all
snowboard equipment was sold in specialty shops so far this season.

Chain stores’ equipment sales continue to tank with total decreases of 16%
in dollars and 14% in units. Alpine ski sales are down 20% and snowboard
equipment sales decreased 18%. Chain stores equipment sales accounted for
just 16% of all equipment sales in the U.S. snow sports marketplace from
August to December. Apparel sales made up almost half of all chain store snow
sports sales August through December 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

SIA partners with Leisure Trends Group to provide reliable data about the
snow sports market, and about the people who work and play in the snow. The
data contained in this press release is collected by Leisure Trends Group for
the SIA. Note that August to October retail data does not include resort
retail shops. If you need additional information, contact Kelly Davis,
Director of Research at KDavis@snowsports.org or by phone at 703-506-4224.

– 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.


SIA media office, 703.556.9020; pr@snowsports.org

snowsports.org Media Center

SOURCE SnowSports Industries America

Source: newswire

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