MCLEAN, Va. (May 15, 2003) — Overall sales for the entire winter sports market increased by 4.1 percent in dollars to $2.2 billion compared to $2.1 billion in 2002 for the season (August through March) according to the SnowSports Industries America (SIA) Retail Audit. “The strong apparel and accessories sales in specialty stores helped make this the fourth best season ever for the winter sports industry,” said Julie Lynch, Director of Market Research for SIA, 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 final report of six that looked at sales through March 31, 2003, the end of the winter season.

Sales at specialty ski and snowboard shops through the end of the season were up 7.1 percent compared to last season. In dollars, that translates to $1.71 billion in sales compared to $1.60 billion in 2002 and $1.67 billion in 2001. Unit sales were up significantly from last season tracking 14.4 percent ahead. “East Coast sales, with a higher concentration of specialty stores and abundant snow, led the advance,” said Jim Spring of Leisure Trends Group. For the month of March, specialty store sales decreased by one percent to $122.5 million from $123.8 million in 2002.

All equipment (alpine, snowboard and Nordic) in specialty stores was flat (-.03%), tracking at $662 million compared to $664 million in 2002. Alpine equipment (including skis, boots, bindings and poles) increased 1.0 percent to $454 million as compared to $450 million last year. Units for alpine equipment tracked ahead 3.4 percent.

Snowboard equipment (including boards, boots and bindings) was down 4.8 percent to $179 million. Sales for snowboard equipment in 2001 tracked at $188 million. With winter storms in the East, Nordic equipment (including skis, boots, bindings and poles) sales propelled forward, tracking at $29.5 million, an increase of 10 percent.

Apparel and accessories lead the way with the largest gains in specialty stores up 5.5 percent to $476 million and 18.6 percent to $575 million, respectively. Last season, sales for apparel were $451 million while accessories were $485 million.

“Looking at the end of the season inventory levels, unit inventories were down over 20 percent compared to 2002. Apparel sold through the best with only 19 percent available hanging at the end of March. Equipment is at 22 percent and accessories are at 21 percent. The rule of thumb is that 20 percent carry-over is a very good year,” according to Spring.

Ski Poles Sold Briskly this Season

Alpine ski sales (including systems) were up 4.3 percent to $206 million. Ski binding systems had strong sales this season, gaining 47.7 percent to $55.2 million. Midfat skis, representing almost 50 percent of alpine skis sold, tracked 5.4 percent ahead in units but stayed even in dollars (up 0.1 percent). Fat skis saw the largest gains in dollars, increasing 146 percent to $6.9 million, however; this category had the least amount of units sold. The second largest class, junior skis, is up 20.9 percent to $11 million. Twin tips skis also had a great season, tracking 25.9 percent ahead to $6.6 million. The only categories to see any type of decline in dollars were carve skis and skiboards, decreasing 40.5 percent and 15.1 percent, respectively.

As in the past, alpine boot sales were the unit leader in the overall alpine equipment category. However, alpine boots were only up 1.4 percent in dollars to $173.2 million compared to last season. High performance and recreation boots stayed strong through the end of the season, gaining 15.9 percent in dollars to $75.2 million and 20.6 percent to $24.5 million, respectively. Soft boots did really well this season, gaining 122.7 percent in dollars to $13.6 million. In addition, junior boots gained 31.6 percent in dollars to $9.8 million.

Alpine bindi sales were down 11.7 percent in dollars to $59.8 million, however; binding sales (counting system sales) dropped only 1 percent in units. The only category to see any gains were junior bindings, up 21.3 percent in dollars to $6.8 million. In addition, alpine poles grew 12.6 percent in dollars to $15.1 million.

For the second consecutive year snowboard equipment sales sagged. Snowboards declined 6.5 percent in dollars to $83.1 million and 3.8 percent in units. Inventory levels are at a trim 21 percent. The carry-over category in snowboards saw the most growth, increasing 21.7 percent in units. All snowboard categories saw declines in dollars including: Freeride/Freestyle (down 13.1 percent to $15.4 million), Freeride (down 1.4 percent to $31.9 million), Freestyle (down 7.6 percent to $26.1 million), and All Mountain (down 29.7 percent to $4.7 million). Even though dollars declined for Freeride boards, unit sales increased by 2.6 percent.

Snowboard boots are the category leader in unit sales for snowboard equipment. However, snowboard boots declined 2.4 percent in dollars to $53.7 million. Non step-in boots did see an increase of 9.7 percent for the season. Snowboard bindings were also off by 4.4 percent in dollars to $41.7 million, with a 3.0 percent increase in dollars for non step-in bindings.

Junior Apparel Stays Strong

Apparel tops tracked 9.4 percent ahead of last season in dollars to $264.6 million. The clear dollar winners were insulated parkas (up 28.0 percent to $101 million), softshell parkas (up 85.1 percent to $8.5 million), vests (up 37.0 percent to $3.9 million) and sweaters (up 32.6 percent to $26 million). Even though shell parkas were not up significantly, they did increase 6.1 percent in dollars to $61.6 million. This season women purchased more insulated parkas than men. The junior apparel categories stayed strong in dollars, both insulated parkas (up 28.7 percent to $16.6 million) and shell parkas (up 190.0 percent to $2.6 million) registered gains in dollars.

Suits turned around in 2002/03 because insulated products are making a come back. Overall the category gained 6.9 percent in dollars to $20.8 million.

Bottoms were also up 4.6 percent in dollars to $107.3 million thanks to a boost in the average selling price (up $4), however; units were on par with last season, tracking only 0.6 percent ahead. Softshell (up 46.7 percent to $963,645), insulated waist pants (up 47.3 percent to $29.4 million), and juniors (up 22.4 percent to $12 million) all saw increases in the double digits. Inventories are very low for apparel pants (19 percent) as the season ends.

Snowboard apparel dropped 4.5 percent in dollars to $83.5 million. Snowboard bottoms outsold snowboard tops by 7 percent. Snowboard tops gained 7.7 percent in dollars to $43.2 million while snowboard bottoms leaped ahead 6.1 percent in dollars to $35.7 million.

Accessories Sales are Up from a Soft 2002

Accessories represent 74 percent of all units sold in an average specialty ski/snowboard shop and 34 percent of dollars. This season equipment accessories were up 13.7 percent to $279.7 million. Goggles and helmets led all equipment accessories sales. Goggles were up 42 percent in dollars to $55.2 million and helmets 28 percent to $61.1 million. Weekend snow did not help sunglass sales (down 4.5 percent to $29.4 million) and slower new car sales put a damper on auto racks, although sales were up 7.4 percent to $33.8 million. Snowshoes declined 8.7 percent in dollars to $14.7 million.

New top and bottom purchases mean new accessories to go with them. Apparel accessories are up 23.6 percent in dollars to $295.4 million with hats (up 38.8 percent in dollars to $46.5 million) and turtlenecks (up 32.6 percent in dollars to $19.5 million) leading the way. All other apparel accessories categories saw double digit increases in dollars including: winter boots (up 18.3 percent to $9.1 million), gloves (up 10.4 percent to $46.9 million), mitts (up 16.7 percent to $20.3 million), socks (up 15.9 percent to $34.2 million) and base layer (up 25.3 percent to $66.6 million).

Accessories categories are seeing substantial gains this season due to a soft market during last season where ski/snowboard specialty stores had a significant level of unsold inventory at the end of the season.

Chains Down Overall, Snowboard Sales Up

Chain store sales were down 5.1 percent for the 2002/03 winter sports season (August through March) compared to the same period in 2002. In dollars, that translates to $487.6 million in sales compared to $513.7 million in 2002. The unit sales tracked 10.5 percent behind last year. Sales for the month of March in chain stores were down just slightly (-0.5 percent) from 2002 recording $48.2 million in sales compared to $48.5 million. According to Jim Spring of Leisure Trends Group, “Chain stores moved the needle downward for the second straight season. Part of the reason was slower than normal sales in the Western half of the country.”

All equipment (alpine, snowboard and Nordic) for chain stores was up 10.7 percent to $148 million from $134 million in 2002. Alpine equipment (skis, boots, bindings and poles) was up 12.9 percent to $74 million as compared to $66 million last year. Snowboard equipment (boards, boots and bindings) was a bright spot at chain stores; it was up 14.4 percent to $66 million in sales. Sales for snowboard equipment in 2002 tracked at $58 million. Nordic equipment (skis, boots, bindings and poles) was down 25.0 percent to $8 million.

Both apparel and accessories were down in chain stores. Apparel was down 10.0 percent to $190 million as compared to $211 million last season while accessories declined 11.4 percent to $149 million as compared to 2002, which was $169 million.

Snowboard Equipment Sales Stay Strong

Alpine ski sales declined 5.3 percent in dollars to $26 million while units dropped 22.5 percent, excluding ski/binding systems. Carry-over (closeouts) skis dropped 57 percent in unit sales. Even with advances in alpine ski technology and the increase in the average retail price from $152 in 2002 to $186, alpine ski sales have not increased. Alpine ski binding systems gained some traction at the end of the season with an average retail price of $427. Almost 15,000 were sold which is an increase of 449 percent over last season. Carve ski sales dropped 75.3 percent in dollars to $1.1 million. However, other specific categories are doing well. Midfat skis (up 28.1 percent to $14.6 million), fat skis (up 178.7 percent to $880,990), twin tip skis (up 180.1 percent to $725,148), ski boards (up 55.5 percent to $1.2 million) and junior skis (up 56.5 percent to $1.6 million) all saw double digit gains or more in dollars.

The alpine equipment sales were driven by boots, which increased 23.7 percent in dollars to $27 million at pretty much the same average retail price of $157 compared to $156 in 2002. All alpine boot categories saw increases in dollars over last season. High performance (up 56.9 percent to $5.7 million), sport performance (up 30.4 percent to $7.5 million), recreation (up 95.1 percent to $6.3 million), soft boots (up 215 percent to $1.5 million) and juniors (up 95.0 percent to $1.5 million) all grew. The increase in dollars could be attributed to the lack of carry-over sales this season (down 40.2 percent in dollars).

Bindings are tracking similar to skis. Units are down 16.7 percent while dollars were down 11.3 percent to $10 million. Junior bindings are a hot product increasing 60.4 percent in dollars to $877,479. The only other category to see gains was DIN 12-14, increasing 15.6 percent to $2.3 million. DIN 1-7 and DIN 8-11 declined 39.1 percent and 5.9 percent in dollars, respectively. Poles were up (32.5 percent) to $4.5 million.

Snowboards ended the season up 1.3 percent in units and 9.1 percent in dollars to $27.9 million. The two largest categories in terms of unit sales both saw signifi(up 16.7 percent to $20.3 million), socks (up 15.9 percent to $34.2 million) and base layer (up 25.3 percent to $66.6 million).

Accessories categories are seeing substantial gains this season due to a soft market during last season where ski/snowboard specialty stores had a significant level of unsold inventory at the end of the season.

Chains Down Overall, Snowboard Sales Up

Chain store sales were down 5.1 percent for the 2002/03 winter sports season (August through March) compared to the same period in 2002. In dollars, that translates to $487.6 million in sales compared to $513.7 million in 2002. The unit sales tracked 10.5 percent behind last year. Sales for the month of March in chain stores were down just slightly (-0.5 percent) from 2002 recording $48.2 million in sales compared to $48.5 million. According to Jim Spring of Leisure Trends Group, “Chain stores moved the needle downward for the second straight season. Part of the reason was slower than normal sales in the Western half of the country.”

All equipment (alpine, snowboard and Nordic) for chain stores was up 10.7 percent to $148 million from $134 million in 2002. Alpine equipment (skis, boots, bindings and poles) was up 12.9 percent to $74 million as compared to $66 million last year. Snowboard equipment (boards, boots and bindings) was a bright spot at chain stores; it was up 14.4 percent to $66 million in sales. Sales for snowboard equipment in 2002 tracked at $58 million. Nordic equipment (skis, boots, bindings and poles) was down 25.0 percent to $8 million.

Both apparel and accessories were down in chain stores. Apparel was down 10.0 percent to $190 million as compared to $211 million last season while accessories declined 11.4 percent to $149 million as compared to 2002, which was $169 million.

Snowboard Equipment Sales Stay Strong

Alpine ski sales declined 5.3 percent in dollars to $26 million while units dropped 22.5 percent, excluding ski/binding systems. Carry-over (closeouts) skis dropped 57 percent in unit sales. Even with advances in alpine ski technology and the increase in the average retail price from $152 in 2002 to $186, alpine ski sales have not increased. Alpine ski binding systems gained some traction at the end of the season with an average retail price of $427. Almost 15,000 were sold which is an increase of 449 percent over last season. Carve ski sales dropped 75.3 percent in dollars to $1.1 million. However, other specific categories are doing well. Midfat skis (up 28.1 percent to $14.6 million), fat skis (up 178.7 percent to $880,990), twin tip skis (up 180.1 percent to $725,148), ski boards (up 55.5 percent to $1.2 million) and junior skis (up 56.5 percent to $1.6 million) all saw double digit gains or more in dollars.

The alpine equipment sales were driven by boots, which increased 23.7 percent in dollars to $27 million at pretty much the same average retail price of $157 compared to $156 in 2002. All alpine boot categories saw increases in dollars over last season. High performance (up 56.9 percent to $5.7 million), sport performance (up 30.4 percent to $7.5 million), recreation (up 95.1 percent to $6.3 million), soft boots (up 215 percent to $1.5 million) and juniors (up 95.0 percent to $1.5 million) all grew. The increase in dollars could be attributed to the lack of carry-over sales this season (down 40.2 percent in dollars).

Bindings are tracking similar to skis. Units are down 16.7 percent while dollars were down 11.3 percent to $10 million. Junior bindings are a hot product increasing 60.4 percent in dollars to $877,479. The only other category to see gains was DIN 12-14, increasing 15.6 percent to $2.3 million. DIN 1-7 and DIN 8-11 declined 39.1 percent and 5.9 percent in dollars, respectively. Poles were up (32.5 percent) to $4.5 million.

Snowboards ended the season up 1.3 percent in units and 9.1 percent in dollars to $27.9 million. The two largest categories in terms of unit sales both saw significant gains in dollar sales this year as well. Freeride and all-mountain snowboards gained 38.7 percent to $8.4 million and 280.2 percent in dollars to $7.6 million, respectively. Snowboard boots and bindings followed suit. Boots advanced 16.1 percent in dollars to $21.2 million while bindings tracked ahead 22.0 percent in dollars to $17.0 million. Non step-in boots and bindings saw all the action, gaining 53.1 percent and 72.7 percent in dollars, respectively. As a result of increased sales, there is a lack of carry-over sales in boards (down 47.9 percent), boots (down 26.6 percent) and bindings (down 45.5 percent).

Junior Apparel is Hot in Chains

Apparel tops declined 8.8 percent in dollars to $112 million; however, units gained 2.5 percent. The categories which did really well this season in chains were juniors, softshell and carry-over. Both junior insulated parkas and shell parkas gained in dollars, increasing 13.7 percent to $5.9 million and 52.0 percent to $2.4 million, respectively. Soft shell parkas advanced 59.7 percent in dollars with an average retail price of $179. It was men that were buying softshell jackets (representing 91 percent of all sold). Carry-over apparel tops sold really well in chain stores, up 74.2 percent in dollars to $16.6 million. Vests (down 30.3 percent in dollars), fleece (down 13.2 percent in dollars), and sweaters (down 25.1 percent) all saw double digit declines.

Like tops, bottoms declined 7.7 percent in dollars to $41.4 million. Carry-over accounted for over 50 percent of all alpine bottom sales ($14.1 million) which was the only category to see increases in dollars besides soft shell waist pants which grew 34.4 percent in dollars to $198,586.

The opposite was true in the snowboard apparel; lack of carry-over hurt this category. Snowboard apparel was down 13.8 percent in dollars to $34.5 million. Snowboard tops were slightly up (1.2 percent in dollars to $17.2 million) while snowboard bottoms were down (5.2 percent in dollars to $13.3 million).

Snowdecks/Skates Were a Hot Seller in Chains

The accessories business remained in the doldrums all season and ended the season down. Equipment accessories were down 7.0 percent to $61.3 million. The hottest seller in chain stores this season has been the snowdecks/skate, gaining 71.5 percent in dollars to $1.1 million and 141.4 percent in units. The only other category to see any growth was sunglasses, up 36.8 percent in dollars to $13.7 million, however; the average price dropped from $42 to $31 this season. Apparel accessories had a tough time of it also. This category was down even more at 14.3 percent to $88 million. No apparel accessory classes advanced.

The SnowSports Industries America (SIA) Retail Audit tracks and reports sales in all snow sports product categories. SIA is the not-for-profit industry trade group that represents manufacturers and distributors of snow sports products. This is the final report of six that looked at sales through March 31, 2003, the end of the winter season.

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.nificant gains in dollar sales this year as well. Freeride and all-mountain snowboards gained 38.7 percent to $8.4 million and 280.2 percent in dollars to $7.6 million, respectively. Snowboard boots and bindings followed suit. Boots advanced 16.1 percent in dollars to $21.2 million while bindings tracked aahead 22.0 percent in dollars to $17.0 million. Non step-in boots and bindings saw all the action, gaining 53.1 percent and 72.7 percent in dollars, respectively. As a result of increased sales, there is a lack of carry-over sales in boards (down 47.9 percent), boots (down 26.6 percent) and bindings (down 45.5 percent).

Junior Apparel is Hot in Chains

Apparel tops declined 8.8 percent in dollars to $112 million; however, units gained 2.5 percent. The categories which did really well this season in chains were juniors, softshell and carry-over. Both junior insulated parkas and shell parkas gained in dollars, increasing 13.7 percent to $5.9 million and 52.0 percent to $2.4 million, respectively. Soft shell parkas advanced 59.7 percent in dollars with an average retail price of $179. It was men that were buying softshell jackets (representing 91 percent of all sold). Carry-over apparel tops sold really well in chain stores, up 74.2 percent in dollars to $16.6 million. Vests (down 30.3 percent in dollars), fleece (down 13.2 percent in dollars), and sweaters (down 25.1 percent) all saw double digit declines.

Like tops, bottoms declined 7.7 percent in dollars to $41.4 million. Carry-over accounted for over 50 percent of all alpine bottom sales ($14.1 million) which was the only category to see increases in dollars besides soft shell waist pants which grew 34.4 percent in dollars to $198,586.

The opposite was true in the snowboard apparel; lack of carry-over hurt this category. Snowboard apparel was down 13.8 percent in dollars to $34.5 million. Snowboard tops were slightly up (1.2 percent in dollars to $17.2 million) while snowboard bottoms were down (5.2 percent in dollars to $13.3 million).

Snowdecks/Skates Were a Hot Seller in Chains

The accessories business remained in the doldrums all season and ended the season down. Equipment accessories were down 7.0 percent to $61.3 million. The hottest seller in chain stores this season has been the snowdecks/skate, gaining 71.5 percent in dollars to $1.1 million and 141.4 percent in units. The only other category to see any growth was sunglasses, up 36.8 percent in dollars to $13.7 million, however; the average price dropped from $42 to $31 this season. Apparel accessories had a tough time of it also. This category was down even more at 14.3 percent to $88 million. No apparel accessory classes advanced.

The SnowSports Industries America (SIA) Retail Audit tracks and reports sales in all snow sports product categories. SIA is the not-for-profit industry trade group that represents manufacturers and distributors of snow sports products. This is the final report of six that looked at sales through March 31, 2003, the end of the winter season.

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.