The Snow Market’s Down Fall

by The Editors on December 6, 2012

Sia Falldown

The SnowSports Industry of America released their fall SIA RetailTRAK numbers today (December 6, 2012) for the period August through October 2012 and it wasn’t good news.

The snow sports market declined 2%, but reached $616M in sales so far this season (August through October) despite significant disruptions in retail sales in the South and Northeast regions due to Hurricane Sandy, uncertainty in the face of the “fiscal cliff,” and lack of momentum from the snow-challenged 2011/2012 season.

And you thought last fall was bad for sales? We’ll just pray for a good Christmas. For the official word from SIA, follow the jump.Snow Sports Market Declines in October

WASHINGTON, DC (December 6, 2012) – Today, SnowSports Industries America (SIA) and Leisure Trends Group have released SIA RetailTRAK™ numbers for August through October 2012, collected from the Point of Sale systems of more than 1,200 snow sports retailers.

The snow sports market declined 2%, but reached $616M in sales so far this season (August through October) despite significant disruptions in retail sales in the South and Northeast regions due to Hurricane Sandy, uncertainty in the face of the “fiscal cliff,” and lack of momentum from the snow-challenged 2011/2012 season. Over the past four seasons, retail sales from August 1 to October 31 account for approximately 15% of total season sales and tend to be indicative of momentum from the previous season; snow sports retail sales during August through October 2012 follow that pattern.

Comparing only the month of October 2012 to October 2011 (rather than the period Aug – Oct), snow sports retail sales declined 5% in units and 4% in dollars sold – about $13M less in October 2012 compared to October 2011 for all apparel, accessories and equipment retail sales. Apparel sales increased slightly (1%) reaching $161M and accessories sales including goggles, gloves, wax, hats and cameras fell 4%. October 2012 was a very difficult month to sell equipment; snowboard equipment sales declined 19%, cross country equipment sales fell 30%, and alpine equipment sales were off $4M or 8% for the month of October.

In late October, Hurricane Sandy disrupted lives and retail sales with blizzard conditions, severe flooding and wind damage to much of the Eastern Seaboard. In the South and Northeast regions retail was literally shut down for days. Sandy had a direct impact on the residences of a third of skiers and riders in the U.S. market. In fact, snow sports specialty retailers in the Northeast suffered a $14M (26%) decline in October dollar sales and the South saw snow sports sales slip $6M (27%). Equipment dollar sales were particularly depressed in these two storm-struck regions, down 30% in the Northeast and down 44% in the South. It’s logical to conclude that few persons affected directly by this mega-storm were thinking about buying new snow sports equipment as they recovered from this wide ranging severe weather event.

Traditionally, Presidential elections have a slight positive impact on retail sales, but there are more variables associated with the current political environment, most noteworthy is the wide-spread fear of falling off of the “fiscal cliff” in January. Usually retail sales experience a short surge after an election as uncertainty about the future of social and economic issues is diminished. Unfortunately this Election Day did little to allay feelings of uncertainty as attention immediately turned to the impending “fiscal cliff” that could have severe economic impacts across the U.S. economy. Uncertainty and the resulting fear tend to depress retail sales, particularly in discretionary spending, and may impact the snow sports retail market until the “fiscal cliff” issues are resolved one way or another. If congress fails to come to an agreement on a new national budget we expect to see sharp declines in consumer confidence and consequently, in snow sports retail sales.

SIA and Leisure Trends Group are proud to announce that the previous August to October period is now broken into the previously released August – September release and this stand-alone October only data set. This is the second of seven deliveries you will receive this season. Understanding that past trends help forecast upcoming sales, Leisure Trends retrofitted into comparable time periods from the 2009/2010 season to the present report.

The market data presented in this report comes from the Snow Sports RetailTRAK™ produced for SIA by Leisure Trends Group. Leisure Trends Group gathers RetailTRAK™ data directly from the Point of Sale systems of more than 1,200 snow sports retailers. For more information about snow sports retail sales, market data and other SIA Research products including the Snow Sports Market Intelligence Report, the SIA State of the Industry Videos, Snow Sports Participation Study and other exclusive industry reports, please contact Kelly Davis, SIA’s Director of Research at KDavis@snowsports.org or visit snowsports.org/research.

SIA RetailTRAK™ Data 2012/2013 Season Release Schedule

New This Season – November 7, 2012 August – September
December 7, 2012 (est.) August – October
January 5, 2013 (est.) August – November
January 31, 2013 August – December
March 5, 2013 (est.) August – January
April 5, 2013 (est.) August – February
May 6, 2013 (est.) August – March

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