By Peter Verry
Source: footwearnews.com, December 2020
The winter season is in full swing, and snowstorms have started to sweep the country — most recently Winter Storm Gail hit the Northeast this week. But if NPD Group data serves correct, people were prepared to go on outdoor adventures.
According to data provided by the analytics firm, snowshoe sales increased 279% in October 2020 compared to the same period a year prior.
“Stepping into winter, snowshoe sales in particular are interesting to me as the exploding growth there points to consumers investing in new ways to get outside during these socially distant times,” The NPD Group executive director and industry analyst Dirk Sorenson said in a statement.
Snowshoes, according to NPD, is the leading backcountry equipment category for the snow season — which it pegs as the period from August to October — in terms of sales growth. Sales for the category climbed 254% compared to the same period in 2019. Trailing snowshoes consists of splitboards (151%), nordic equipment (121%), backcountry accessories (74%) and alpine touring equipment (51%).
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In total, NPD said U.S. backcountry-related equipment sales grew a combined 76% for the snow season period over last year.
The firm sees the trend of consumers looking for ways to stay active and outside while practicing social distancing as one that will continue into the warmer months. It has already proven to be the case during the summer when consumers scrambled to buy running shoes and camping equipment in hopes of warding off cabin fever amid the pandemic in June and July.
“Consumers will continue to be active and seek another set of outdoor activities as temperatures drop and we move through the winter months,” noted NPD senior sports industry adviser Matt Powell. “We can expect backcountry’s popularity to carry through this season and for product demand to grow, especially as the COVID-19 crisis and social distancing measures continue, ski resorts make operational changes to accommodate the circumstances, and skiers and snowboarders pursue alternatives to get their alpine fix.”
He continued, “I suspect backcountry product will sell out quickly and the market will run into inventory issues, which may slow the sales trend as we move into the peak selling season.”