Year-to-Date Outdoor Product Sales Growth Averaging 3.8 Percent
Boulder, CO – –The outdoor market outperformed the broader markets in November posting an impressive 8.7 percent retail sales increase versus the same month in 2009. Footwear category sales were up 9.6 percent (largely due to late-arriving winter boot sales), apparel category sales were up 11.7 percent and hardgoods category sales grew 4.1 percent over the same time period in 2009. Aggressive promotions, pent-up consumer demand and colder weather patterns combined to drive retail chains and outdoor vendors to their best November in four years. According to retail point-of-sale data compiled by SportScanInfo for OIA VantagePoint™, sales trends in the outdoor market are mirroring the trends at retail overall, with luxury and specialty out-performing lower-end stores and the Internet channel continuing to take market share from traditional brick and mortar business.
Despite higher than anticipated unemployment and tax uncertainties, holiday gift-giving and winter weather patterns combined to loosen consumer purse strings. Sales motivators began shifting in November, with consumers driven both by wants and needs instead of just needs. For example, Winter Boots made up 36.0 percent of total outdoor footwear sales in November 2010, while comprising only 8.8 percent of sales for the entirety of third quarter 2010 (retail calendar third quarter is August-October).
Another obvious performer is outdoor outerwear which commanded 53.0 percent of all November outdoor apparel sales versus only 42.9 percent in November 2009. Activewear brought in 27.8 percent of the category sales during third quarter 2010 but represented only 14.5 percent of November 2010 sales with outdoor accessories (hats, gloves, socks, etc.) coming in at a surprising 18.7 percent of November 2010 sales. Apparel flew off the literal and virtual shelves in November, where strong double-digit sales gains were seen in both Internet and Department Store channels where discounting and promotional activity reached a fever pitch in the last week of the month that included Black Friday weekend.
On the hardgoods front, snow sports products were a larger piece of the overall Outdoor Hardgoods business in November, pulling in 13.3 percent of overall outdoor hardgoods sales, though camping equipment continued to perform well (20.1 percent of hardgoods sales) and electronics (8.0 percent) and packs & bags (7.4 percent) are strongly in the November 2010 product mix as well.
“Consumer spending is starting to shift slightly as discounts and promotions are tempting consumers to purchase items for themselves,” said LaRae Marsik, vice president of business intelligence at the Outdoor Industry Association, “Many of the top outdoor brands are invigorating their presence online for good reason. The Internet and e-commerce channels continue to expand and offer broader inventory selection for consumers who are looking for the shopping trifecta of choice, convenience and value. Brands that provide the whole package are seeing consumer spending grow despite a hesitant economy.”
Outerwear and boots are expected to continue to surge in December, while accessories and last minute big-ticket items will round out the end of the month. After the pre-Christmas shipping cut-off deadline, brick-and-mortar retail locations are expected to benefit from consumers looking for over-stocked and over-promoted items (that may or may not still be available) during the last week of the season.
OIA members can access the OIA VantagePoint™ monthly trend report for November by logging in to www.outdoorindustry.org/vantagepoint.