Surf/Skate Retail Market Overview – Core Shop Sales Dip 13.5%

SIMA data

At this year’s Surf Summit, the Surf Industry Manufacturers Association (SIMA), released its 2010 Retail Distribution Study. The study, which was prepared by Leisure Trends Group by interviewing a representative sample of 392 core retailers around the country, provides a look at the surf and skate retail market through 2010.

The study, which is SIMA's fourth biannual in-depth look at the surf and skate retail market, indicates that overall sales in the core retail channel were down 13.5% compared to 2008. The surf and skate market, just looking at the core retail channel, was a $4.6 billion industry in 2010. Footwear made up for $1.5 billion of those sales, increasing 8.2% over 2008, and wetsuit sales also saw an increase of 23.4%. Apparel saw the biggest loss, down 41.1%. Hardgoods sales, although staying relatively flat over the last few years, did see a spike in the SUP category, with sales growing 35%.

Here’s a look at some highlights.

  • Stores located in the West region account for 47% of total retail sales in 2010—sales activity equal to $2.1 billion. Business in other regions is starting to expand, however, with the South accounting for 29% of total retail sales, up from 21% back in 2004. The West Coast accounts for the majority of the West region sales ($1.8 billion).
  • Footwear sales are up 8.2% over 2008, with sales of $1.5 billion. Wetsuit sales ($110.4M) increase 24.3% in 2010, returning to a level not seen since 2006. Retailers report selling an average of 139 full wetsuits per store, up from an average of 82 in 2008. Hard goods sales are also up 35.3% to $1.46 billion in 2010.
  • Independent stores closed many doors in the past two years. Most of these were replaced by specialty chain stores, causing a less than expected drop (-1.7%) in total surf and skate doors to 4,826 in 2010.
  • Apparel sales decrease 41.1% to $1.0 billion in 2010. Sales of men's/boy's apparel account for the majority
    (57%) of overall apparel sales. In 2010, sales of women's/girl's apparel and swimwear make up a larger
    percentage of total apparel sales compared to 2008.
  • Surf/Skate hardgoods equipment sales grows as a percentage contribution to total sales compared to previous years. Overall hardgoods sales increased 35.0% to $1.46 billion in 2010. Retailers sell an average of 160 surfboard leashes (average price $22), 109 surfboard traction pads (average price $49) and 16 stand up paddleboards with an average price of $1,105.

For more information about the report in its entirety, visit