· Tough trading conditions continue to have an impact on ski & snowboard hardware sales but boost expected as buying in Europe becomes more expensive
· Ski boots continue to be the strongest selling item of hardware, reflecting the attraction of buying good fitting boots
· Snowboard boot sales have declined by a total of 3% over the past two years
· Overall ski sales drop 6% whilst snowboard sales drop 13%
· There was growth in junior snowboard hardware sales (Snowboards 48% up and boots 14% up)
· Sales of female specific ski kit continues to grow year on year (Skis 8% up, boots 5% up)
· It is now cheaper to buy snowsport kit in the UK than in Europe, a key message of SIGB’s Go UK Buy UK campaign
The Snowsport Industries of Great Britain (SIGB) has published the results of their 2015-16 annual UK Snowsport Hardware Market Survey, showing that with tough trading conditions on both the high street and an online (especially non-essential leisure items), there was on overall decline in ski and snowboard hardware sales, although ski boot sales only declined by 1%.
Overall ski sales dropped 6%, whilst snowboard sales dropped 13%, and despite snowboard boots showing a 25% year on year increase, this was based on a big drop in numbers in 2014-15, which appeared to be an anomaly. Looking at the past two winters, snowboard boot sales have declined by a total of 3%, which is line with the general trend.
As well as tough trading conditions, sales may also have been affected by the weather (both in the UK and in resort), exchange rate volatility, airline carriage charges and the growth of offshore web sales. The uncertainty of Brexit and a maturing participation base, adds to the list of external factors facing the snowsport industry.
Despite these figures, the small decline in ski boot sales at just 1% is a clear indication of the attraction of buying good fitting boots, one of the key messages of SIGB’s campaign Go UK Buy UK, aimed at encouraging skiers and snowboarders to buy their kit on home soil.
There is also good news in terms of junior snowboard equipment sales, with growth again being seen in this sector, with snowboard sales up 48% and snowboard boot sales up 14%. There is similar good news in terms of female specific ski kit, with female ski sales rising 8% year on year and female ski boots up 5%.
Sam Noble, President of SIGB commented: “Although we are not necessarily surprised by these figures, we can take hope from the fact that the figures, although declining, have flattened compared to earlier this decade. The SIGB is working hard to try and buck this trend, and as well as continuing to spread the word about the benefits of buying in the UK through our Go UK Buy UK campaign, this winter will be the first winter for a long time when it is cheaper to buy snowsports kit in the UK rather than overseas. We are trying to get this message out there and hopefully influence skiers and snowboarders to consider buying their kit on home soil.”
SIGB launched its Go UK Buy UK Campaign in September 2015 aimed at encouraging skiers and snowboarders to buy their kit in Britain. With the weak pound and due to the fact prices were fixed before Brexit, it is now cheaper to buy products from UK stores, both in shops on online, than from their European counterparts.
The SIGB Trade Survey also includes figures from the recent Ski Club of Great Britain Consumer Research Report, which highlights that the value of good service and advice is being recognised as a key factor in sporting enjoyment. It also recognises that snowsport continues to be one of the most inclusive activities in terms of age and that skiers and snowboarders are remarkably resilient when it comes to spending quality time in the mountains. Looking forward, the excitement and build up has already started ahead of the 2018 Winter Olympics, and there continues to be a range of grass-roots initiatives to get more young people on snow.
See the SIGB UK Snowsport Hardware Market Survey 2016 here.