In a besieged economy, the snow sports market is booming with $2.35 billion in sales representing a growth rate of approximately 13 percent over the same period last season. “The subprime mortgage crisis, the falling value of the dollar, increasing prices for consumer goods, and the high price of petroleum have hit the economy very hard but when the snow is good nothing will keep people off the slopes,” said Kelly Davis, Director of Research for SIA. So far this season, all snow sports sales channels are reporting growth in unit and dollar sales. Specialty shops already have sold $460 million in equipment, $10 million more than sales for equipment at the same time last season. The Internet channel is in the throes of dramatic growth with increases through January exceeding 43% in units and 48% in dollars. Even in the chain stores where overall sporting goods sales are down significantly, sales of snow sports goods are far from slouching.

Trends This Season:

* Sales of women’s equipment, apparel and accessories reached $675 million at the end of January surpassing last season’s total by $85 million with two months to go;
* 55,000 Adult twin tip skis have sold so far in the 2007.08 season making it the hottest selling type of ski on the market. Sales of twin tip skis are up 60% in units and 62% in dollars compared to last season in Internet and specialty shop sales;
* 500,000 people are protecting their skulls with new helmets so far this season. By season’s end, sales growth in helmets could be as high as 20% in units and in dollars;
* Sales growth exceeded 15% for the very popular softshell parka. These parkas were purchased August through January by more than 450,000 people, some who hit the slopes and some who want to look like they do;
* Snowshoes are back! Sales growth in specialty shops exceeded 19% in units, 25% in dollars and Internet dollar sales grew more than 40%;
* The Nordic category has a growth rate of more than 30% in units and dollars across the market this season. Nordic unit sales have already surpassed last season’s sales by 11,500 skis, 6,000 boots, 6,000 bindings, and 6,000 poles. Total sales of Nordic equipment have reached $27.2 million through January surpassing last season’s total by more than $3.5 million.

Specialty Shops
So far in the 2007.08 season, specialty shop sales represent 62% of all dollars spent in the snow sports marketplace with $1.458 billion in sales August through January. Specialty sales are up 8% in units and 7% in dollars compared to the same period last season. Equipment sells best at snow sports specialty shops, accounting for 31% of total dollars spent so far this season in the specialty shop. Increases over last season were modest for equipment with a 1.43% increase in units and 2.22% increase in dollars sold. Some equipment is selling very well including adult twin tip skis that increased more than 30% in units and dollars and Nordic equipment including skis, boots, bindings and poles that increased 31% in units and in dollars. Apparel trends in specialty match trends in the other two channels; softshell parkas sales have increased 15% in units and have brought in $27 million so far this season in specialty shops. Snowshoes are making a comeback in specialty with more than 70,000 units sold so far this season, an increase of 21% percent in units sold. People are deciding to protect their heads on the slopes this season and specialty helmet sales are up 12% in units and 15% in dollars with more than ½ million sold.

The Internet sales channel continues its amazing upward trend with $399.5 million in sales August to January. That represents an increase of 43% in unit sales, and 48% in dollar sales over the same time period last season. Apparel sales accounted for 55% of all dollars sold on the Internet, equipment made up just 21%, and accessories rounded out the channel with 24% of the dollars sold. Although equipment sales represented just one fifth of the dollars sold, sales were up 76% in dollars and 60% in units so far this season. “Buying equipment over the Internet isn’t the crap shoot it used to be; many people research their equipment online before they buy through any channel, and with clear and easy return policies and very competitive prices it isn’t surprising that more and more people are clicking to buy,” said Davis.

Chain Stores
Chain store sales are robust this season with $497 million through January. Apparel leads the channel with $201 million in sales, a 21% increase in dollar sales over the 2005.06 season. Softshell parkas sales are leading the charge with a 50% increase in dollars in chain stores. Equipment sold represented 24% of sales in this channel; however, it is not selling nearly as well as apparel and accessories. As compared to the same period last season, equipment sales are down 9% in units and up 1% in dollars indicating fewer sales at higher prices. Accessories sell well in chain stores; case in point, goggles have brought in $12 million, 120,000 helmets have been sold, and base layer items have brought in almost $27 million so far this season.