The snow sports retail market had a record holiday selling season, but severe drought in the Sierra and Cascade mountain ranges tempered the celebration, according to the latest POS figures from SIA and Leisure Trends. Sales reached a new record $2.2 billion season to date (August to December), $193 million more than was spent at retail through December last season and $26.5 million more than the previous record for sales through December set during the 2010/2011 season.
While a welcome turn-around for much of the country, December sales were negatively impacted by severe drought in the Sierra range where the snowpack is more than 80% below normal and in the Cascades where conditions in the high country were healthier than in lower elevations, but overall the snowpack is 50% below average. By contrast, the Midwest, Northeast and Mid-Atlantic weather conditions were excellent for the snow sports market and record cold as far south as the Florida panhandle drove apparel and accessories sales to record levels.
Among the sales figures for all channnels August through December 31, 2013, equipment sales were $541 million, up 6% in dollars sold and up 5% in units sold. Apparel sales hit $985 million, up 7% in dollars sold and up 2% in units sold, while accessories sales reached $734 million, up 15% in dollars sold up 10% in units sold. Among the notable trends cited by SIA:
Alpine Touring/Randonee equipment continues to enjoy significant increases in sales, through December AT equipment sales increased 23% in dollars sold and 20% in units sold.
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 28% in units sold to 53,000 units sold, and up 21% in dollars sold to $20 million. Alpine/AT boots make up nearly 15% of dollars sold and 10% 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 50% in units sold and 43% in dollars sold to over $4 million through December. Overall, sales of cross country equipment were up 16% in dollars sold this season.
More girls are getting snowboard equipment this year. Junior girls snowboarding equipment sales grew 17% in units sold and 18% in dollars sold through December. Overall, snowboard equipment sales are up 2% in dollars sold to $167 million.
Backcountry accessories sales including beacons, probes and shovels increased 17% in dollars sold and 14% in units sold through December. Beacons led the way with a 20% increase in units sold to 13,500 units through December.
Sales of protective gear including pads, wrist guards and general impact gear increased 28% in units sold and 34% in dollars sold through December.
Action cameras may be the single most popular accessory in the snow sports market right now. Sales of action cameras were up 19% in units sold to 81,000 cameras and up 36% in dollars sold to $27 million through December.
Alpine insulated tops sales were up 20% in dollars sold to $362 million and up 15% in units to more than 2 million units sold.
Apparel accessories that include gloves, baselayer, headwear, neck gaiters, etc. increased 12% in units sold and 15% in dollars sold to $402M through December.