Retail Sales Rose in 2013-14 Season

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SAM Magazine—Washington, D.C., May 9, 2014—In a sign of the underlying strength of the winter sports market, snowsports retail sales rose 7 percent this past season, to $3.6 billion, compared to the prior year, according to the RetailTRAK report from Leisure Trends and Snowsports Industries America (SIA).

For the season, apparel sales totaled $1.5 billion, up 4 percent, and accessories $1.3 billion, up 14 percent—both record totals. Prolonged cold temperatures in the Midwest, Northeast, Mid-Atlantic and even the Deep South helped drive apparel accessories sales higher. Equipment sales reached $867 million, up 2 percent.

Specialty shops finished the season up 7 percent in dollars compared to last season, and had their best year since 2010-11. Accessories sales accounted for more than 3/4 of the increase in specialty shop sales. Goggles, backcountry accessories, gloves, and base-layer sales hit record highs.

Chain store sales finished the season up 4 percent, driven by apparel and accessories. Chain store equipment sales continued a long-term decline, and accounted for just 7 percent of total equipment sales in 2013-14.

Online sales were up across the board. Accessories led the way with a 15 percent increase; apparel sales rose 3 percent, equipment sales 8 percent.

Notable Trends

• Alpine Touring/Randonee equipment sales increased 8 percent. Lack of snow in the Sierras likely stalled backcountry equipment sales in California, home to many popular areas for backcountry skiing and snowboarding.
 Backcountry accessories sales, including beacons, probes and shovels, increased 12 percent.

• Alpine/AT boots are one of hottest categories. Sales were up 21 percent, with 91,000 units sold (a 27 percent increase). Alpine/AT boots made up 12 percent of units sold.

• Sales of women’s-specific cross country equipment increased 28 percent, double the increase in overall Nordic sales.

• Junior girls snowboarding equipment sales grew 36 percent, while overall snowboard equipment sales were flat.

• Sales of protective gear, including pads, wrist guards and general impact gear, increased 24 percent.

• Action cameras continued to be the most popular accessory, up 20 percent. Snowsports retailers sold 121,000 cameras.