Surging Sales Continue in Surf and Skate Shops
Strong sales in the core channel are showing no signs of slowdown as shoppers continue to embrace local retailers and the surf and skate lifestyle.
According to the ActionWatch Retail Panel, year-to-date sales are up 89% vs. the same period in 2020.
That figure is boosted, of course, by the easier comparison in April due to COVID-19 store closures last year. However, compared to 2019, year-to-date numbers are still up more than 30%, said ActionWatch President Patrik Schmidle.
Patrik believes a combination of factors are driving the continued strong sales including stimulus payments, the desire to support local retailers and the popularity of the outdoors.
However, he thinks the biggest factor is the increase in participation in skateboarding and surfing.
Case in point: ActionWatch parent company Sports Marketing Surveys tracks participation trends in 120 sports.
Guess which sport grew the most in 2020? Skateboarding.
And No. 2? Surfing.
“We are seeing a revival in the core market driven by participation,” Patrik said. “It feels like we are at a high point right now, and I think we’ll see growth rates come back down to earth. But in terms of the health of the channel, I think this definitely has legs. I doubt we’ll see sales drop off a cliff anytime soon.”
At first during the pandemic, hardgoods sales were driving a lot of the sales. But now apparel, footwear, and accessories sales have turned on as well.
For example, apparel sales rose 121% in May 2021 vs. May 2020.
This surge in business in the core channel has lifted most boats.
Approximately 95% of the 160 brands ActionWatch tracks have experienced positive growth so far this year vs. 2020. And at least 45% of those brands have grown sales by more than 100%.
Going forward, it will be hard for the wetsuit and hardgoods categories to match 2020 numbers because sales were so high last summer. But softgoods should have no problem beating 2020 results.
Not only is the top line strong for core retailers – about 90% of them on the retail panel have grown sales at least 10% this year – the bottom line is in great shape for many stores, too.
Lower average costs, higher ASPs and insatiable customer demand have driven up retailer margins, Patrik said.
“Life is pretty good right now in surf and skate!” he said.