Leisure Trends Group Retail Survey Highlights Successful Holiday Sales Season

For many specialty Cycling, Outdoor, Running & Snow Sports retailers – overall results were positive.

BOULDER, CO (January 5, 2009) – Last week, Leisure Trends Group conducted a survey of retailers to better understand consumer behavior and sales during the all so important Holiday Shopping season.

2009 Holiday Sales – Overall results were positive although findings varied greatly by industry and geography where weather played a significant role.
Approximately 54% of respondents reported an increase in sales compared to last year. Among those with improved sales, 36% reported double digit increases. While good news prevailed, 33% of respondents indicated a decline in sales.

Future Demand – The Post-Christmas shopping frenzy can be an indicator of consumer demand with sales being primarily driven by shoppers using gift cards and/or purchasing for themselves what others didn’t give them as gifts. The overall sales results for the days after Christmas were positive with the majority of retailers in all industries reporting comparable to increased sales for the period compared to last year.

Inventory – The vast majority of stores were carrying less inventory going into the 2009 Holiday shopping season. Fortunately this seemed to pay off as most retailers didn’t indicate any perceived loss of sales due to lack of inventory. Furthermore, most retailers in the Outdoor, Snow Sports and Running industries appeared to be more profitable reporting higher sales margins.

Sales: Responses from Cycling, Outdoor, Running, Scuba Dive, and Snow Sports retailers allowed us to further break the results down within these industries.

Internet – Less than 30% of respondents have sold merchandise online for both the 2008 and 2009 Holiday Seasons; For those who did sell online, most generated less than 10% of their revenue from the online channel. Of the online retailers, the majority reported sales increasing less than 15%. Increasingly it appears difficult to effectively maintain and grow a small Internet business with much of the sales going to the larger, more established sites.

Outlook for 2010 – Overall the 2009 Holiday selling season did not significantly impact retailers forecasts for 2010. Majority of retailers remain cautiously optimistic for 2010, hoping for a more robust economic recovery to take hold late in 2010. When asked about their concerns for 2010, respondents were provided an open ended forum. The results show retailers to be more concerned about increased competition from the Internet and direct to consumer sales from their suppliers than outside economic factors. With significant discontent being recorded, smaller brands might find a more receptive audience in Specialty retailers looking to forge new relationships.

Methodology – The results above were provided by an online survey of both Leisure Trends Group retail panel members as well as non-participating stores. In total over 7,000 retailers in the Cycling, Outdoor, Paddle Sports, Scuba Dive, Ski and Snowboard, and Specialty Running Industries were provided the opportunity to complete the survey. Completed surveys were received from 202 respondents representing nearly 600 retail locations in 47 states and online.

About Leisure Trends Group – LTG is the industry standard for providing consumer research, integrated CRM services and retail market intelligence (retail sales tracking) to suppliers, retailers, associations, resorts and companies in the sports, recreation, hospitality, travel and entertainment industries. Leisure Trends Group is headquartered in Boulder, Colorado. For more information, contact Julia Day, 303-786-7900 x107 or visit