The snow sports market had an uphill battle to fight in the pre-season and it showed. Season-to-date sales in all stores fell 8 percent in units sold and 7 percent in dollars sold as inertia from last season, recovery from Hurricane Sandy and "fiscal cliff" concerns put multiple dents in the market. Conditions in the snow sports market from late November to the end of the winter season typically depend upon current snow conditions.However the August to November sales pace is predicated on variables like snowfall in the previous season and consumer confidence in general. This season, all of the variables were working against the early season snow sports market.
Early season sales were dominated by carryover sales, bringing in the slimmest margins. In fact, 16 percent of alpine skis and 17 percent of snowboards sold in specialty retail shops from August to November 2012 were sold as carryover. Carryover sales refer typically to gear that sat in retail inventories over the summer months but technically, in the Leisure Trends data, the term "carryover" represents gear that was sold at or below average retail cost. Specialty inventories were swollen at the end of last season so the increase in carryover sales is an expected purge of that inventory. Unfortunately, that leaves retailers with a cash trickle rather than a flow and sets a Spartan stage for the 2013/2014 ordering season that begins to gather significant steam in November. The December Snow Sports Market RetailTRAK™ data is scheduled for release on January 30th just before the opening of the 2013 SIA Snow Show in Denver, Colorado.
The market data presented in this report comes from the Snow Sports RetailTRAK™ produced for SIA by Leisure Trends Group. Leisure Trends Group gathers RetailTRAK™ data directly from the Point of Sale systems of more than 1,200 snow sports retailers. For more information about snow sports retail sales, market data and other SIA Research products including the Snow Sports Market Intelligence Report, the SIA State of the Industry Videos, Snow Sports Participation Study and other exclusive industry reports, please contact Kelly Davis, SIA's Director of Research at KDavis@snowsports.org or visit snowsports.org/research.