Snowboard Sales Down In Specialty, Up In Chains

MCLEAN, Va. (March 14, 2003) — Compared with overall retail sales across the country, the snow sports industry has fared quite well with gains over last season. Overall sales for the entire winter sports market increased by 4.9 percent in dollars to $1.69 billion compared to $1.61 billion last season for the period of August through January 2003, according to the SnowSports Industries America (SIA) Retail Audit. 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, 2003, the end of the winter season.

Sales through the end of January at specialty ski and snowboard shops were up 7.9 percent compared to the same time period last season. In dollars, that translates to $1.32 billion in sales compared to $1.22 billion in 2002 and $1.29 billion in 2001. Unit sales were up significantly from last season tracking 15.5 percent ahead. However, according to Jim Spring of Leisure Trends Group, “The average retail-selling price dropped to $64.69 from $69.21 last season (-6.5 percent). This indicates that consumer purchases of higher priced ticket items slowed considerably post December.”

All equipment (alpine, snowboard and Nordic) sales in specialty stores was flat, tracking at $531.8 million compared to $531.7 in 2002. Alpine gear increased 2.2 percent or $356.8 million as compared to $348.9 last year. Snowboard equipment was down just slightly in sales, 4.9 percent or $151.9 million in sales. Sales for snowboard equipment in 2002 tracked at $159.7 million. Nordic equipment was also flat, tracking at $23 million.

Apparel and accessories lead the way with the largest gains in specialty stores up 8.1 percent or $367.7 million and 19.7 percent or $419.1 million, respectively. Last season, sales for apparel were $340.1 million while accessories were $350.2 million.

JUNIOR ALPINE SKIS PRODUCE STRONG SALES

Alpine ski sales were down 6.0 percent to $118.9 million, excluding ski/binding systems. The average price of skis sold this year is $289 compared to $311 last season. However, junior ski sales, which average $131, are up 35 percent in units which helped bring the average retail down. Ski/binding system sales are still surging but not like in preseason. Units were up 82 percent and dollars 58 percent. However, last season ski/binding systems sold for an average retail of $718 compared to $621 this season. Midfat skis represent 42 percent of all skis sold even though they have only grown 1.5 percent in dollars this season. Fat skis and twin tips are up substantially in dollars, 153.1 percent and 26.8 percent, respectively. However, their units sales are still relatively small. The second largest category in alpine skis is juniors, tracking 24 percent ahead in units this season.

Through January 2003, alpine boot sales were up 3.4 percent in dollars to $136.5 million compared to last season. The gains are in high performance (up 17 percent in dollars) the largest category, recreation (up 27 percent in dollars), soft boots (up 127 percent in dollars) and juniors (up 32 percent in dollars). The average retail price has stayed consistent with 2002.

Bindings sales are down 11.2 percent in dollars to $47.4 million excluding ski/binding systems. However, when you add ski system sales to bindings sold independent, unit sales are up just slightly. Poles vaulted ahead 13.8 percent in sales to $11.4 million.

Boards, boots, and bindings all tracked behind last season in dollars. Snowboard sales were down 6.0 percent to $71 million. Snowboard boot sales were down 3.2 percent ($45.8 million) and snowboard bindings were down 4.9 percent ($35 million).

APPAREL INVENTORY IS LIGHT – SOFT SHELLS POPULAR

“Due to the cold weather across the nation, apparel sales have been strong this year,” said Julie Lynch, Director of Market Research for SIA. Apparel tops were tracking 11.3 percent ahead of last season in dolrs to $207.7 million. Top sale increases were almost all in the double digits or better. Soft shell parkas gained 93.8 percent in dollars followed by vests (no fleece) (up 35 percent), sweaters (up 33.9 percent), insulated parkas (up 26.8 percent), and shell parkas (up 10.0 percent). Women’s insulated parka unit sales are ahead of men’s and junior’s are up 28.5 percent. In addition, junior shells are up 175 percent this season so far. The only category to miss was fleece (including vest), down slightly by 0.5 percent. Suits are up 12.8 percent in dollars to $14.9 million.

Bottoms were also up 9.5 percent in dollars to $77.3 million. The action is in the insulated waist pants and juniors catergory.

Snowboard apparel was down slightly 2.5 percent to $67.8 million. According to Spring, “This category is better than it appears. For two seasons close-out merchandise cluttered the sale picture. It is almost gone. New snowboard tops are up 9.9 percent in dollars and bottoms are up 8.3 percent.”

ACCESSORIES HELP PULL SPECIALTY STORES AHEAD

After a rough season last year, snow has breathed life into almost all accessories categories. Equipment accessories were up 14.7 percent to $206.4 million. Leading the way in dollar gains are goggles and helmets, up 37.8 percent and 31.8 percent, respectively. Also doing well are auto racks.

Apparel accessories were even farther ahead, up 24.9 percent to $212.7 million. All categories made substantial gains, however; base layers (up 31.1 percent in dollars), turtlenecks (up 47.9 percent in dollars) and headwear (up 39.5 percent in dollars) saw the largest gains.

HARD GOODS EQUIPMENT BRIGHT SPOT FOR CHAIN STORE SALES

Snowboard Equipment Records 19.6 Percent Increase in Sales

Despite the abundant snowfall in many parts of the U.S. this winter, chain store sales were still down 4.6 percent for August through January compared to the same period of 2002. In dollars, that translates to $372.2 million in sales so far this year compared to $390 million in 2002. The unit sales tracked behind last year by 10.5 percent. Sales for the month of January in chain stores were down considerably from 2002, $89 million compared to $96 million, a difference of almost $7 million.

The SnowSports Industries America (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, 2003, the end of the winter season.

HARD GOODS GROW, APPAREL AND ACCESSORIES DECLINE

All equipment (alpine, snowboard and Nordic) for chain stores was up 13.1 percent to $116.1 million from $102.7 million in 2002. Alpine gear was up 12.4 percent to $52.8 million as compared to $47 million last year. Snowboard equipment was a bright spot at chain stores; it was up 19.6 percent or $58.2 million in sales. Sales for snowboard equipment in 2002 tracked at $48.7 million. Nordic equipment was down 28 percent to $5 million. Both apparel and accessories were down in chain stores. Apparel was down 10.1 percent to $145.3 million as compared to $161.7 million last season while accessories declined 11.8 percent to $110.8 million as compared to 2002, which was $125.7 million.

SNOWBOARD EQUIPMENT SALES STAY STRONG

Alpine ski sales declined 5.1 percent in dollars to $18.4 million while units dropped 27.8 percent, excluding ski/binding systems. The problem was the lack of close outs which were in short supply. On a bright spot, current product in all categories are selling well. Midfat skis (up 39.7 percent), twin tip skis (up 247.8 percent), ski boards (up 49.7 percent) and junior skis (up 62.6 percent) all saw double digit gains in dollars.

Ski systems surged ahead over last year by 464 percent in dollars. The alpine equipment sales were driven by boots, which increased 21.7 percent in dollars to $19.7 million. According to Jim Spring of Leisure Trends Group, “Of the 18,000 pair increase in boot sales, junior boots account for 38 percent of the increase.” Both sport performance (up 37 percent in dollars) and recreation boots (up 97.1 percent in dollars) are the hot seller in chains while juniors are up 99 percent in dollars. Bindings are tracking similar to skis. Units are down 21.9 percent while dollars were down 12.9 percent. Junior bindings are a hot product increasing 64 percent in dollars. Poles are up (34.0 percent) to $3.3 million.

Snowboard equipment is still tracking ahead in chain stores. Snowboard sales in dollars were ahead 14.1 percent to $24.4 million. Freeride (up 52.4 percent), Freestyle (up 36.0 percent), and All- Mountain boards (up 305.4 percent) all saw double digit gains in dollars. Snowboard boots and bindings followed suit. Boots advanced 21.1 percent in dollars to $18.9 million while bindings tracked ahead 27.7 percent in dollars to $15 million.

JUNIOR APPAREL SEEING GAINS

Apparel tops declined 10.3 percent in dollars to $85.7 million. Junior apparel is doing really well in chains. Both junior insulated parkas and shell parkas gained in dollars, increasing 19.0 percent and 42.6 percent, respectively. “This is the year of junior equipment and apparel in chain stores. It is literally flying off the shelves,” said Julie Lynch, Director of Market Research for SIA. Soft shell parkas advanced 40.9 percent in dollars with an average retail price of $192. Carry over apparel tops are selling really well in chain stores, up 73.9 percent in dollars to $12.9 million.

Like tops, bottoms declined 7.6 percent in dollars to $31.3 million. Carry-over accounted for over 50 percent of all alpine bottom sales. Soft shell waist pants were the only categories to grow, increasing 41.7 percent in dollars and 43.3 percent in units. The opposite was true in the snowboard apparel, lack of carry-over hurt this category. Snowboard apparel was down 10 percent in dollars to $26.7 million.

SNOWDECKS/SKATES ARE HOT IN CHAIN STORES

The accessories business was slow in chain store this season. Equipment accessories were down 9.7 percent to $44.2 million. The hottest seller in chain stores this season has been the snowdecks/skate, gaining 64.8 percent in dollars and 136.2 percent in units. The only other category to see any growth was sunglasses, up 25.4 percent in dollars. Apparel accessories had a tough time of it also. This category was down even more at 13.2 percent to $66.6 million.

***SIA***

SnowSports Industries America (SIA) is the national, not-for-profit, member-owned trade association that represents snow and winter sports outdoor companies. SIA produces the SIA SnowSports Show, the largest trade show and gathering place for the snow sports industry. Proceeds from the SnowSports Show fund market development programs for all snow sport disciplines. SIA also annually produces more than a dozen industry research studies. For more information, check out www.snowlink.com. SnowSports Industries America, 8377-B Greensboro Drive, McLean, VA 22102-3587. Phone: (703) 556-9020, Fax: (703) 821-8276, Email: siamail@snowsports.org. 38 percent of the increase.” Both sport performance (up 37 percent in dollars) and recreation boots (up 97.1 percent in dollars) are the hot seller in chains while juniors are up 99 percent in dollars. Bindings are tracking similar to skis. Units are down 21.9 percent while dollars were down 12.9 percent. Junior bindings are a hot product increasing 64 percent in dollars. Poles are up (34.0 percent) to $3.3 million.

Snowboard equipment is still tracking ahead in chain stores. Snowboard sales in dollars were ahead 14.1 percent to $24.4 million. Freeride (up 52.4 percent), Freestyle (up 36.0 percent), and All- Mountain boards (up 305.4 percent) all saw double digit gains in dollars. Snowboard boots and bindings followed suit. Boots advanced 21.1 percent in dollars to $18.9 million while bindings tracked ahead 27.7 percent in dollars to $15 million.

JUNIOR APPAREL SEEING GAINS

Apparel tops declined 10.3 percent in dollars to $85.7 million. Junior apparel is doing really well in chains. Both junior insulated parkas and shell parkas gained in dollars, increasing 19.0 percent and 42.6 percent, respectively. “This is the year of junior equipment and apparel in chain stores. It is literally flying off the shelves,” said Julie Lynch, Director of Market Research for SIA. Soft shell parkas advanced 40.9 percent in dollars with an average retail price of $192. Carry over apparel tops are selling really well in chain stores, up 73.9 percent in dollars to $12.9 million.

Like tops, bottoms declined 7.6 percent in dollars to $31.3 million. Carry-over accounted for over 50 percent of all alpine bottom sales. Soft shell waist pants were the only categories to grow, increasing 41.7 percent in dollars and 43.3 percent in units. The opposite was true in the snowboard apparel, lack of carry-over hurt this category. Snowboard apparel was down 10 percent in dollars to $26.7 million.

SNOWDECKS/SKATES ARE HOT IN CHAIN STORES

The accessories business was slow in chain store this season. Equipment accessories were down 9.7 percent to $44.2 million. The hottest seller in chain stores this season has been the snowdecks/skate, gaining 64.8 percent in dollars and 136.2 percent in units. The only other category to see any growth was sunglasses, up 25.4 percent in dollars. Apparel accessories had a tough time of it also. This category was down even more at 13.2 percent to $66.6 million.

***SIA***

SnowSports Industries America (SIA) is the national, not-for-profit, member-owned trade association that represents snow and winter sports outdoor companies. SIA produces the SIA SnowSports Show, the largest trade show and gathering place for the snow sports industry. Proceeds from the SnowSports Show fund market development programs for all snow sport disciplines. SIA also annually produces more than a dozen industry research studies. For more information, check out www.snowlink.com. SnowSports Industries America, 8377-B Greensboro Drive, McLean, VA 22102-3587. Phone: (703) 556-9020, Fax: (703) 821-8276, Email: siamail@snowsports.org.