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B$Z: Snow Sports Market Finished the Season with $4.6 Billion in Sales

May 21, 2015

On May 15th, The NPD Group and SIA released retail results showing the snow sports market up 3% to $4.6 billion compared to the 2013/2014 season. Total market projections are based on retail data collected by The NPD Group from the Point of Sale systems of more than 1,200 snow sports retailers.


Snow sports retail sales made between August 1st, 2014 and March 31st, 2015 were up 3% to $4.6 billion in total sales, $110 million more than the market had brought in by the end of last season.Outerwear sales were up 8% to $1.6 billion, equipment and equipment accessories sales were down 2% to $1.6 billion, and selected apparel accessories sales including total headwear, handwear and base layer sales increased 5% to $589 million through March.


Sales for the month of March 2015 were down 5% overall compared to sales in the month of March 2014. The impacts of heavy snow and ice in the Northeast, drought in the Sierras, warmer than average temperatures in the Pacific Northwest and sporadic conditions in the Rocky Mountains were felt in the sales results and skier rider visit patterns throughout the season. In fact, according to NSAA, resort visits in the Pacific Northwest were down more than 30% this season, and resort visits were down nationwide 6% by the end of the season.


“Visitation nationally was variable by month, although weakest later in the season. On an overall national basis, visits were up 7 percent in October/November, down 4 percent in December, up 12 percent in January, down 10 percent in February, down 13 percent in March, and down 28 percent in April. Patterns were variable by region, although all regions enjoyed increases in January, and all regions experienced losses in February, March (except for a slight uptick in the Northeast), and April (except for gains in the Southeast).” Source: 2015 NSAA Kottke Preliminary Study.

Sales by Channel August to March 2014/2015

  • Specialty sales reached $2.4 billion, down 2% in dollars sold and down 5% in units sold
  • Chain sales reached $1.15 billion, up 10% in dollars sold and up 9% in units sold
  • Online sales reached $998 million, up 4% in dollars sold and up 3% in units sold
  • Note: In the February dataset, NPD adjusted the methodology used to determine total sales for the Internet/Online distribution channel from August ’14 through January ’15. The changes increased the Snow Internet channel size by $90MM and shifted the season-to-date trend by 10% for this time period. See a full explanation under the section below: “Re-Projection of Online Results and General Changes in the Snow Sports Data Produced by The NPD Group.”

According to NPD, online equipment sales fell 4% in dollars sold to $273 million, about $12 million less than the 2013/2014 season. Alpine equipment sales were off 8% in dollars sold, cross country equipment sales were down 18% in dollars sold, and snowboard equipment sales were flat in dollars sold. Apparel sales were up 9% online to $663 million, representing 66% of all snow sports Internet dollar sales. Selected apparel accessories enjoyed strong sales growth online; handwear sales were up 17% to $33 million, headwear sales increased 16% to $21 million.

Specialty shops sales finished the season down 2% to $2.4 billion and accounted for 52% of all sales in the snow sports market. Apparel and apparel accessories sales were up 2% to $1 billion. Outerwear sales increased 5% to $716 million by the end of the season. Retail shops rental equipment revenue increased 14% to $219 million. Specialty equipment sales were down 4% to $1.2 billion this season; alpine equipment sales were down 6% in dollars sold, Snowboard equipment sales decreased 8% in specialty shops to $157 million, and cross country equipment sales languished with a 10% drop in sales to $23 million. One bright spot in equipment sales was alpine touring equipment, sales increased 30% to $7.9 million through March.

Chain store sales grew 10% in dollars sold to $1.2 billion in 2014/2015 according to NPD. Chain sales were driven by increases in sales of outerwear (up 11% to $489 million) and apparel accessories including hand wear, headwear and base layer (up 11% to $220 million), snowboard equipment (up 10% to $29 million), and winter footwear ( up 8% to $91 million).

Regional Sales in Snow Sports Specialty Shops during the 2014/2015 season

  • West: $946 million, down 5% in dollars sold – drought continued in California and the Pacific Northwest had higher than average temperatures, Utah had below average conditions in February and the Rockies had snow but several warm periods between storms.
  • Northeast: $694 million, up 4% in dollars sold – continued snow and good conditions finally drove an increase in sales.
  • Midwest: $409 million, up 2% in dollars sold – lake effect snowfall, cold temperatures cold and lower gas prices were a good combination for this region. Snowboard equipment sales jumped 10% in this region to $26 million.
  • South: $365 million, down 6% in dollars sold – the 2013/2014 season was a blockbuster for the South region as unusually cold temperatures and far above average snow and ice hit the region due to the jet stream dipping far south of the norm. This season (2014/2015) was good for the South region, despite the decrease in sales compared to last season.

Sales of women’s specific products were up 4% in dollars sold to $1.4 billion (30% of total sales) through February this season. In addition, women make 80% of all household spend decisions and influence 95% of all spending decisions in households.

Other women’s specific results:

  • Women’s outerwear sales up 11% in dollars sold to $765 million through March
  • Women’s snow boots sales up 19% to $53 million through March
  • Women’s headwear sales up 18% to $33 million through March
  • Women’s AT/Randonee skis sales jumped 367% to $1 million through March compared to $217,000 last season
  • Women’s specific snowboard equipment down 4% to $51 million, about $1.8 million less than the 2013/2014 season. Lack of snow in the west impacted snowboard equipment sales across all ages, genders, and distribution channels this season. Total snowboard equipment sales were down 4% to $256 million. Women’s specific snowboard equipment sales accounted for 20% of all snowboard equipment dollars sold. Women (females 18 years and older) make up 28% of the snowboard participant base.

Re-Projection of Online Results and General Changes in the Snow Sports Data for the 2014/2015 Season Produced by The NPD Group

In the February dataset, NPD adjusted the methodology used to determine total sales for the Internet/Online distribution channel from August ’14 through January ’15. The increased accuracy of the new projections better reflects the raw data trend coming in from retailers on the NPD retail panel who are engaged in online sales for this time period.

The changes have increased the Snow Internet channel size by $90MM and shifted the season-to-date trend by 10% for this time period. When viewing the data with all channels combined, the overall market trend in dollars sold increased by 2% versus what was previously reported August ’14 to January ’15.

In addition to this re-projection of Snow Internet channel data, there have been substantial modifications to the retail data since last season due to the October 2013 acquisition of The Leisure Trends group by The NPD Group. The transition from Leisure Trends data to NPD data represents significant shifts in the projection model and in the way users access their data. This season, subscribers to the snow sports retail data will use the NPD proprietary interface – DecisionKey® to access the retail data. The RetailTRAK™ interface portal formerly used by Leisure Trends is no longer in service. The new NPD DecisionKey® interface provides snow sports data subscribers a broader view of the snow sports market data including apparel, accessories and equipment. Additionally, snow sports data subscribers will have more tools to build views of their data, and more options for saving and downloading their reports. If you have any questions or concerns about this retail data please contact Kelly Davis, SIA Research Director at 703-506-4224, or contact your SIA Sales & Marketing Manager.

Here are your SIA contacts for requests and questions about Research:

Kelly Davis Research Director

Dave Wray Western Region

Ed Wray Eastern Region

Reddy Kennedy Rocky Mtn. & Central Region

Tom Davis All Supporting Members


Weather patterns that include heavy snow in the Northeast, colder than average temperatures in the Mid-Atlantic and South, drought in California and warmer than average temperatures in the Pacific Northwest continue to have significant impacts on snow sports retail sales.

One very notable change we noticed in the data this season was the increase in sales during the month of November. November 2014 sales were 20% higher ($796 million v. $662 million) this season. In fact, according to NPD, November sales have been increasing for the past four seasons while December sales have fallen slightly. This may indicate a shift in consumer behavior related to holiday shopping – holiday shopping is happening earlier and earlier as holiday marketing campaigns begin earlier and earlier. In November 2011, November sales in snow sports totaled $639 million, $157 million less than November sales this season. This season, November 2014 sales account for 17% of the total season’s sales compared to 15% in November 2013.

For more information about snow sports research and market intelligence products including retail, wholesale, consumer, participation and special reports, please contact Kelly Davis, SIA’s Director of Research at [email protected] or visit

SIA releases the top line results for snow sports retail seven times each season from November to May covering results of retail sales made between August 1 and March 31 each season. Topline/category retail sales data for the snow sports market is available as a member benefit to all SIA members. In addition, you gain free access to topline data for the Running, Outdoor and Paddle Sports when you register. The topline data is accessible on a 24/7/365 basis on The NPD Group’s proprietary user interface, the DecisionKey® data portal.