We were pleasantly surprised by the general mood at the 2o12 SIA Snow Show. Despite a rough winter (read “brown, sunny, and better suited for skating, surfing, and mountain biking”) brands and retailers were keeping their glasses half full, and not just with beer. Early season sales has been decent, the inventory pipeline was well lubricated at the end of last season, and the overall consensus on the floor about the snow was “it will come.”
SIA released its December sales data for the snowsports industry as a whole at the beginning of the show, but it was largely devoid of snowboard specific stats so we followed up with SIA Director of Research Kelly Davis, as we do each month during the season, to dig into the snow stats.
August-December 2011 Snowboard Top Line Data (Includes all channels and carryover)
- Snowboard equipment sales down 10% in units and 5% in dollars to $197M
- Board sales are down 7% in units, 4.5% in dollars
- Boots are down 11% in units, and 6% in dollars
- Bindings are down 11% in units, and 6% in dollars
While these figures are from from rosy, the numbers are better than they could have been with as little snow as has been gracing the slopes this season, thanks to those early season sales. The real worry will come if the forecast continues to look like spring for much of the nation.
“Most concerning are inventories that started the season lean but with the lack of snow finished the holiday buying season – much like America overall – way too fat,” says Davis. “Inventories are up 29% in boards, 22% in boots, and 40% in bindings not mention the 30% increase in snowboard apparel inventories. Specialty shops must chew through most of that by the end of the season to have cash on hand for orders next season. If inventories aren't clearing, expect MAP pricing to be lowered before Presidents' Day weekend and drops in retail margins in the last months of the 2011/2012 season. Note that sell-through and margins are (not unexpectedly) down through December.”