As reported by SIA.
Snow sports participants enjoy higher than average incomes and levels of education that protect their wealth and income during difficult economic times. The 2007.08 snow sports season was an example of the industry’s ability to outperform overall retail markets when the economy slumps. The number of visits to resorts and overall participation is more highly correlated with snowfall than with economic windfall.
Although there are many reasons for caution in the snow sports market, there are excellent reasons to remain optimistic:
* The typical snow sports participant is in the top 20% of wealth and income in the U.S., not of retirement age, and their income and resources are relatively secure due to higher socioeconomic status
* The NSAA Kottke study on mountain visits indicates that skier/rider visits increased 8% to more than 60 million in 2007.08
* Slumping economic conditions and high gas prices are not issues that significantly impact the snow sports demographic
* Led by strong apparel and accessories sales, total snow sports sales are up 11% season over season in the face of slumping retail sales in other industries
* There are over 24 million potential snow sports participants and many of the 9 million potentials that didn’t participate will come back when they get some extra time, heal from their injuries, and/or get their kids through the early developmental years
* La Niña pattern in the Pacific that significantly contributed to heavy snows last season and the patterns associated with it and with higher than average snowfall is expected to continue
Retailer’s Perspective (Uncertainty and Risk)
* Weather is not clearly predictable at this time for next season
* All retail markets slumped (down .06% according to DOC)
* Significant difficulty securing credit
* Equipment Sales are flat overall
* Specialty shop equipment sales were flat
* Cost of Doing Business is increasing throughout the industry as the economy worsens
The industry is certainly not “recession proof” but the data indicates that the snow sports industry is more recession resistant than most due to the high socioeconomic status of skiers and riders.