In a somewhat alarmist speech about the quickly changing demographics of the United States, Hazel Reinhardt of Reinhardt Consulting said that the only two ways to build the snowboard business was to get more people in your target age group to try the sport and get a higher penetration rate, or to reach out to a new profile of potention snowboarder.
Presenting her keynote address called “Keeping Up With The Demographics Of the Millennium” on the second night of the TransWorld Media Snowboard Industry Conference and Powderquest, Reinhardt examined the changing demographics, economics, and cultural factors affecting the youth population, which is already changing quickly.
“After watching people go in and out of the hotel to go snowboarding, I only saw one African American with a board,” she remarked early on. “From looking at the magazines, it’s obvious that the sport is for young white males.”
She spent some time discussing the fact that the population growth and ethnic changes will be limited to mostly western states and Texas and Florida. But these changing demographics are mostly away from the snowy areas, so the snowboarding industry has a challenge to draw these groups to the snow.
One of the main shifts in the population is that it’s getting older. “In the year 2020, nearly half of all adults will be over 50,” she says.
But at the same time, there will be an influx of hispanics, and the baby-boomers kids (Gen Y) will also be potential growth areas. One third of all the people in the U.S. will be living in four states: California, Texas, Florida, and New York.
While short on solutions, she pointed out some very interesting trends. Many in the audience felt that to survive and continue to prosper, there needs to be more consolidated industry effort to address these issues in the coming years.