Holiday Retail Sales Foretell Banner Season
SAM Magazine-McLean, Va., Feb. 28, 2006-Overall sales for the winter sport market (including specialty and chain stores) rose 13 percent, to $1.5 billion, for the August through December period of 2005, compared to $1.3 billion a year earlier, according to the SnowSports Industries America (SIA) Retail Audit. Unit sales were up 14 percent.
Sales at specialty ski and snowboard shops were up 12 percent, to $1.2 billion, compared to $1.0 billion in 2004. Unit sales were up 13 percent. Sales at chain stores were up 17 percent, to $347.1 million, compared to $298.0 million, with unit sales rising 19 percent.
The sales increases were broad-based. Since specialty stores account for the greatest portion of sales, the comparisons that follow are for specialty sales only, though trends at chain outlets are similar. Among the big gainers were softshell parkas, up 45 percent. Softshells are taking off with women and juniors especially. Snowboard apparel sales rose 19 percent; with men's wear outselling women's by two to one, it appears there's still room for growth.
Junior sales are also encouraging, rising across the board from weak sales a year ago. Junior alpine systems, 8 percent of all system units sold (up from 4 percent last season) jumped 165 percent in dollars. Even so, junior skis, excluding systems, rose 28 percent in dollars over last season.
Accessories sales also bloomed, with 20 percent or more increases in goggles, glasses, helmets, winter boots, gloves, snowshoes, technical daypacks, and snowboard accessories.
Snowboard sales show the importance of pipes and parks. Freestyle boards rose 30 percent and accounted for 48 percent of all board dollars, up from 41 percent last season. Freeride boards, 40 percent of all board dollars sold, saw sales increase 15 percent. All mountain boards, 10 percent of all units sold this season, declined 16 percent.
Alpine ski equipment (including skis, ski systems, boots, bindings and poles) grew 6 percent, led by integrated systems, up 32 percent, and twintips, up 66 percent. Through December, the ratio of flat skis to integrated systems fell to 1.7 to 1, compared to 2.5 to 1 a year ago. \