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B$Z: Snow Sports Sales Surge in November

January 6, 2011

Snow Sports Sales Surge in November

The snow sports market reached $1 billion in sales August through November, 14% above last season, setting a new benchmark for early season sales.  Equipment sales are leading the charge with a 22% increase in dollars sold overall and 13% more units sold. Alpine equipment sales are up 23% season-to-date, and snowboard equipment sales are enjoying an excellent recovery with 20% more dollars sold through November compared to last season’s disappointing numbers.  Apparel sales are strong in the early season increasing 9% in dollars sold despite a warmer than average October. 

La Niña conditions really took hold in November bringing in more seasonal snow sports weather and sales.  Accessories sales increased more than 16% led by very strong surges in goggles, wax, snowboard accessories and backcountry accessories. Overall, the market is on track to set new benchmarks in dollars sold due to snowy weather brought by La Niña, increased consumer confidence in the snow sports demographic, and snow sports enthusiasts who are ready for new equipment and excellent snow conditions.

“We have increased sales across the board, but one trend is women are back in the market place. They are buying hard goods with a noticeable increase,” said Bill Langlands, owner of Darkside Snowboards.

Early Season Trends

  • 56,345 Alpine ski systems with waists 70-79mm were sold by November 30, a 43% increase in units sold
  • AT/Randonee equipment sales are up more than 70% overall led by boot sales that increased 122% to $3.4 million in sales
  • Reverse camber snowboard sales are up 60% in units and reverse camber ski sales are up 130% to more than 18,600 units sold season to-date
  • Snowboard sales are up 13% in units and 19% in dollars sold, a solid turnaround from last season’s relatively dismal sales
  • Telemark equipment was the only equipment category in the red through November losing 12% in dollars and 18% in units sold
  • Snowboard apparel tops up 19% in dollars sold
  • Glove sales increased 26% in dollars and 24% in units sold
  • Goggles sales surged up 46% in units sold to 360,000 pairs
  • Carryover sales are down 14% overall in specialty


Source: SIA RetailTRAK™ BY Leisure Trends Group.  Topline data includes carryover sales

Regionally, heavy early snow, or perhaps, the promise of snow brought consumers out to buy in the Western region where sales were up 30% in dollars sold.  The Northeast enjoyed increases of 5% in units sold and 10% in dollars sold after two seasons of decline.  Unexpectedly, the South also enjoyed sales increases after last year’s stellar sales.  Growth in the Midwest region was steady with a 6% increase in units sold and 9% growth in dollars sold on very strong equipment sales.  In fact, equipment sales in the Midwest were up 23% in dollars sold.

The market data presented in this report comes from the SIA RetailTRAK conducted by the Leisure Trends Group. The RetailTRAK data is gathered directly from the Point of Sale systems of about 1/3 of the snow sports retailers in the U.S. market.  Each season, Leisure Trends gathers snow sports sales data 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 marketplace.  SIA maintains these data for members down to the product level.  For more information about SIA’s RetailTRAK information please contact Kelly Davis, SIA’s Director of Research at [email protected].