It’s almost the end of January and the BIG Outdoor Retailer Show for snow sports products – aptly named the Snow Show – hits the Denver Convention Center January 29 – January 31, 2020. The SnowSports Industries America (SIA) trade association sold their show a couple of years ago to Emerald Expositions and their Outdoor Retailer group has been running it ever since.
Retailer buyers, media, snow sports promotors, and non-profit groups from all over the U.S. (and internationally) will attend the show to drool over hard good and soft goods for the 2020-21 season and make purchasing decisions. Often, even Olympics/World Cup Champs show up (Mikaela?).
Depending on where the retailers hail from their “open to buy” may be robust or just a bust. “Open to Buy” means how much currency a retailer has to spend on new products for the following year.
If you are in the market for new equipment or clothing, the bottom line is wait a little bit to see how the season shakes out in your local area. Depending on conditions and traffic “sales” may be kicking in sooner rather than later. Suddenly “Open to Buy” turns into “Open to Sell”.
For example, a couple of years ago, the New England area had a sub-par winter. By mid-March, many apparel products had been reduced by more than 50 percent or MORE at Mt Snow in southern Vermont. The eastern half of the U.S. is experiencing a rather mild winter so far but things could change on a dime.
Before long, retailers will be clearing out their current inventory to make room for summer products. The Snow Show only accelerates the desire to move product. Imagine a huge cavernous convention center filled with the latest and greatest clothing and equipment – skis, snowboards, cross country products, snowshoes, jackets, fleeces, hats, gloves and more – on the market.
Who could blame them for getting excited regardless of how their season is turning out. Simple equation! If they want to buy they have to sell what they have in their inventory. That’s where the “S-word” comes in. A handy guide for skis, boots and related accessories is the Masterfit Bootfitters/Realskiers.com Buyer’s Guide. It’s a must read and it is free.
At the upcoming trade show, one would assume that industry prognosticators will be talking about climate change and how it is affecting the industry. They also will muse over the effect aging Baby Boomers is having on the sports and how tricky it is to attract Millenials. The snow sports trade show use to run for four and half days. Now, it is two and a half days long. Does THAT tell you something? These dynamics are in favor of consumers.
Another tip on saving (or not spending) money is to look for demos. Many hard good product reps conduct consumer demos to show off new product and retailers often host “customer appreciation days”. If you have ever purchased a product from a local shop you are likely on their list. Or, you may know someone who is a customer with whom you can tag along. Check with a local resort to get details.
That way, you may not have to buy anything at all and you will get to ski or snowboard on the latest models free.
Several online industry trade media will be reporting on the show, the mood, industry predictions, what’s hot and what’s not. Want to know what is REALLY going on in the snow sports industry? You may like it or not, but you might want to check out The Snow Industry Letter, Ski Area Management or SGB Media.