Snowboard Sales Up 8.5% In Specialty Stores, Down 21% In Chains

McLEAN, Va. (March 13, 2002) – Sales of winter sports products at specialty stores for the August 2001 to January 2002 time period were down 5.7 percent, which translates into $1.22 billion compared to $1.3 billion last season for the same time period. Sales for all stores (specialty and chain) were down 6.5 percent compared to the same period in 2000, according to the SIA Retail Audit. In dollars, that translates to $1.6 billion in sales so far this year compared to $1.7 last season.

According to Jim Spring of Leisure Trends Group, the research firm that prepares the Retail Audit for SnowSports Industries America (SIA), “This is the year of innovation — snow skates/decks, snowshoes, ski systems, snowboards, and helmets all made major contributions to sales. Innovation is especially important during seasons of parsimonious snow. It provides reasons for the core market to buy. Without innovation, long-time skiers and riders tend to use what they have.” SIA is the not-for-profit industry trade group that represents manufacturers and distributors of snow sports products. The SIA Retail Audit tracks and reports sales in all snow sports product categories. This is the fourth of six reports that will look at sales through March 31, 2002, the end of the winter season.

All equipment (alpine, snowboard and Nordic) in specialty stores was down just slightly by 0.2 percent to $532 million from $533 million in 2000. Alpine ski equipment was down 4.2 percent to $349 million as compared to $364 last year. The bright spots include Nordic equipment which rose 7.2 percent to $23 million and snowboard equipment up 8.5 percent to $160 million in sales. Sales for Nordic equipment in 2000 were $21.4 million while snowboard was $147.2 million.

Apparel and accessories both saw losses, 7.1 percent and 11.6 percent respectively. Sales for apparel were $341 million while accessories were $356 million. Last season sales for apparel were $367 million while accessories were $402 million.

Nordic and Snowboard Equipment Business Lively

Alpine ski sales fell 15.4 percent to $127 million. However, there were some bright spots in this category — mid-fat, fat, and twin tip skis all saw gains in sales of 24.0 percent, 48.3 percent, and 22.0 percent respectively. However, carve ski sales continue to decline, off by 46.0 percent in dollars. Ski systems increased 197 percent in dollars, selling at an average retail price of $718. Once systems are added to this year’s sales, the ski unit deficit is only 8.5 percent compared to last year. Alpine boot sales are down 3.1 percent to $132 million; sport performance boots are staying hot this year, up 19.6 percent in dollars, while adult recreation boots had a 41.8 percent gain. However, the high end is slowing this category, with high performance boots down 25.1 percent in dollars. Bindings are down compared to last year (5.6 percent) to $53 million. The Din 8-11 represents 56 percent of all bindings sold so far this season, with tight inventories. Poles are down 19.9 percent in sales to $10 million.

Nordic equipment continues to stay ahead. Nordic skis climbed 23.4 percent to $9.5 million followed by boots (up 6.0 percent to $8.0 million). Both bindings and poles saw declines in dollars, down 2.0 percent to $3.7 million and down 26.1 percent to $1.8 million respectively.

Demand for snowboard equipment stayed hot. Snowboards were up 10.3 percent to $75.5 million. Ride/style and freeride boards are leading the way, up 22.8 percent and 22.3 percent in dollars respectively. Snowboard boot sales were up 5.3 percent to $47.3 million and snowboard bindings were up 9.2 percent to $36.9 million.

Vests and Fleece Sell in Warm Weather

Apparel tops are down 3.3 percent to $187 million. The women’s insulated parkas stayed steady, up 11.9 percent to $26 million. Shells are staying on the shelves, down 19.1 percent in dollars. The warm weather has helped boost sales of vests up 17.7 percent in dollars and fleece tops, up 6.5 percent in dollars. Overall the apparel suit category is down 41.1 percent to $13.2 million. Stretch suits are making a revival on the slopes again, gaining 21.8 percent in dollars and selling at $180 average retail. Bottoms are down 14.4 percent in dollars to $70.8 million. Bibs continue to be down, by 35.7 percent in dollars. Snowboard apparel was holding steady up 2.1 percent to $69.7 million, however, junior snowboard apparel is soft in the specialty shops. Junior snowboard tops are down 20.2 percent in dollars and bottoms sales are off 24.5 percent.

Snow Deck/Skate Sales are Strong

Equipment accessories were down slightly by 0.4 percent to $184 million. However, there were good performers — snowshoes (up 20.6 percent to $12.9 million) and auto racks (up 14.3 percent to $29 million). In addition, a new category this season, snow decks/skates sold slightly more than 62,000 units with an average retail price of $86. All classes of apparel accessories suffered double digit declines. This category was down 21.1 percent to $171 million.

Chain Store Sales for Winter Sports Products Down 9.2%
Chain stores sales of winter sports products were down 9.2 percent for the August 2001 through January 2002 time period compared to 2000, states the fourth Retail Audit for the season. In dollars, that translates to $384 million in sales so far this year compared to $423 million in 2000, with unit sales down from last year by 13.7 percent.

Jim Spring of Leisure Trends Group which prepares the Retail Audit for SnowSports Industries America (SIA) remains optimistic, “The combination of aggressive pricing and a little luck with a late season snow could sell another 15 to 18 percent of what is on the shelves, leaving the industry with an average inventory hangover of 20 to 25 percent.”

Chain Store Sales

All equipment (alpine, snowboard and Nordic) for chain stores was down 16.4 percent to $92.8 million from $111 million in 2000. Alpine ski equipment was also down 15.2 percent to $47 million as compared to $55 million last season. Nordic equipment was a bright spot at chain stores, rising 15.3 percent to $7.0 million compared to 2000, when sales were $6.1 million. Snowboard equipment were 21.5 percent behind, at $39 million in sales compared to $49 million last season.

Both apparel and accessories saw losses at chain stores during the August through January time period, down 3.9 percent and 9.8 percent respectively. Sales for apparel were $161.6 million while accessories were $129.5 million; last year apparel was $168 million and accessories were $143.5 million.

Nordic Continues to Surprise

Alpine ski sales fell 13.9 percent to $19.4 million, however, units increased by 5.4 percent. The average retail price of alpine skis fell from $178 in 2001 to $145. Mid-fat, fat and carry over (average retail $91.91) were up from 2000. Alpine boot and binding sales slipped; boots dropped 22.0 percent to $16.2 million. Boot sales have seen a decline in high performance boots, down 70.7 percent in units. Bindings fell 11.9 percent to $8.1 million; however, units were up 1.8 percent. The gains were accounted for by selling slightly more than 28,000 carry over bindings, up 92.7 percent. Poles are down 7.3 percent to $2.4 million.

The Nordic category continues to increase — Nordic skis climbed 6.6 percent to $2.5 million followed by bindings (up 7.6 percent to $1.0 million), boots (up 29.7 percent to $2.8 million) and poles (up 10.1 percent to $639,668). The average retail price for Nordic skis is $99 and specifically in January, the price was $126.

There is a reversal in snowboard equipment sales this year. Over the last several years, double-digit increases have been the norm. But this year, snowboard sales are down 27.0 percent in dollars to $17.1 million. All categories were down except for Ride/Style boards, which were up 24.9 percent in units. Snowboard boot sales were down 18.0 percent to $12.5 million. In addition, snowboard bindings were down 14.5 pe
rcent to $9.2 million. Snow decks/skates continue to be hot, with almost 11,000 units sold so far, selling for an average of $52.

Junior Snowboard Apparel Hot in Chain Stores

Apparel tops were down in dollars 8.8 percent to $96 million. Junior insulated parkas took a loss, down 60.6 percent in dollars. Shells were strong, up 16.4 percent at an average retail price of $99. Sales in women and juniors apparel leaped up 76.0 percent and 75.1 percent in dollars respectively, contributed to bargain pricing. Vests and fleece are having a banner year, vests (up 11.8 percent in dollars,) fleece tops (up 17.0 percent in dollars) and sweaters (up 3.5 percent in dollars) posted strong numbers. Suits took a downturn, down 37.8 percent in dollars to $2.7 million.

Bottoms did well in chain stores, up 6.6 percent to $33.5 million. Low priced, twenty-five dollar bibs helped the apparel bottoms category to 25 percent unit increase. In addition, shell waist pants (up 5.1 percent in dollars), stretch waist (up 10.9 percent in dollars), fleece waist (up 27.4 percent in dollars) and junior bottoms (up 51.8 percent in dollars) all registered gains. Snowboard apparel was up 8.2 percent to $29.5 million with units charging ahead 24.6 percent. Kids are buying snowboard apparel at chain stores — junior tops were up 18.4 percent and bottoms increased 13.4 percent in dollars. Snowboard bottoms had an increase of 21.9 percent in dollars. Men’s snowboard bottoms (up 28.2 percent in dollars) and women’s snowboard bottoms (up 13.4 percent in dollars) both saw double-digit gains.

Accessories Business Continues to Decline

Equipment accessories were just slightly down 2.1 percent to $51.5 million. However some categories made gains, goggles (up 11.4 percent to $10.3 million), auto racks (up 23.3 percent to $6.5 million) and helmets (up 5.2 percent to $5.7 million).

Apparel accessories were down 14.2 percent to $78 million. The only categories to see any type of dollar gain were winter boots (up 23.0 percent to $4.6 million) and gloves (up 0.5 percent to $14.5 million).