We often talk about how the ski industry is dying. There are less ski resorts in the USA every year, snowfall is shrinking, things are warming up, and people aren’t as into skiing and riding as they were. Well, the retail numbers don’t reflect that at all.
According to the Snowsports Industries of America (SIA), the ski industry is alive and well with a 7% increase in retail sales in 2014/15 totaling $3.5 billion. Wow.
There were over 19 million participants in skiing, snowboarding, cross country skiing, snow shoeing, telemark and alpine touring in 2013/14. That’s about 16% of the USA population. Wow, again.
These numbers specifically come from August 2013 through March 2014. Units sold was up as well at an increase of 4% compared to last year.
Here’s the breakdown of where that $3.6 billion was spent:
- Equipment: $867 million – up 2% in dollars sold, up 1% in units sold
- Apparel: $1.5 billion – up 4% in dollars sold, down 2% in units sold
- Accessories $1.3 billion – up 14% in dollars sold, up 7% in units sold
“”Retail sales have a new benchmark this season at $3.6 billion driven by record sales of apparel and accessories. Equipment sales were the highest the market has seen since 2010/2011 when $913 million in snow sports hard goods were sold. Keep in mind that 2010/2011 was one of the best years for snow North America has experienced in the past decade.” – SIA
SIA’S Notable Trends
- Alpine Touring/Randonee equipment sales increased 8 percent in dollars sold and 8 percent in units sold. Lack of snow in the Sierras likely stalled backcountry equipment sales in California, which houses many of the popular areas for backcountry skiing and snowboarding.
- Sales of Alpine/AT boots, defined as alpine DIN boots that can be converted to an AT/Touring sole for Backcountry use, may be one of hottest items in the alpine market. Sales of alpine/AT boots are up 27 percent in units sold to 93,000 units sold, and up 21 percent in dollars sold to $37 million. Alpine/AT boots make up nearly 16 percent of dollars sold and 12 percent of units sold in the alpine boot market so far this season.
- Women are getting prepped to hit the trails. Sales of women’s specific cross country equipment increased 32 percent in units sold and 28 percent in dollars sold to over $6 million. Overall, Nordic equipment sales bounced back this season and finished up 15 percent in units sold and up 14 percent in dollars sold to $41 million.
- More girls bought snowboard equipment this year; junior girls snowboarding equipment sales grew 37 percent in units sold and 36 percent in dollars sold. Overall, snowboard equipment sales are flat in dollars sold to $256 million.
- Backcountry accessories sales including beacons, probes and shovels increased 12 percent in units and dollars sold.
- Sales of protective gear including pads, wrist guards and general impact gear increased 16 percent in units sold and 24 percent in dollars sold. Higher demand means sales at higher prices and higher margins. In fact, margins on protective gear increased 28 percent from 42.6 percent in 2012/2013 to 54.5 percent in 2013/2014.
- Action cameras continue to be the single most popular accessory in the snow sports market right now. Sales of action cameras were up 10 percent in units sold to 121,000 cameras and up 20 percent in dollars sold to $41 million. Over 30 percent of action camera sales in snow sports channels were made in specialty shops.
- Alpine insulated tops sales were up 13 percent in dollars sold to $529 million and up 8 percent in units to more than 3 million units sold.
- Apparel accessories including gloves, baselayer, headwear, neck gaiters, etc. increased 7 percent in units sold and 11 percent in dollars sold to $664 million.