Page 1


Pulse of the Outdoor Consumer


Key Market Insights from America's Outdoor Consumers Dictate New Rules for Retailers

Volume 46 / Issue 9

September 2013


Publisher & Editor In Chief James Hartford 303.997.7302 VP Business Development / East Barry Gauthier 774.553.5312

Chief Information Officer Mark Fine 561.615.0240 (x224)

Contributing Editors Julie Arnett Aaron H. Bible Fernando J. Delgado Charlie Lunan Matt Powell

VP Business Development / West Barry Schrimsher 503.784.6267

Advertising Sales Account Managers

Editorial & Creative Director Teresa Hartford

VP Market and Consumer Insights Neil Schwartz 561.692.6722

Senior Business Editor Thomas J. Ryan

Senior Graphic Designer Camila Amortegui Circulation & Subscriptions 704.987.3450 (x7106)


Buz Keenan 201.887.5112 Katie O'Donohue 828.244.3043

Director Business Operations Jennifer Soulé 303.997.7302



new balance

REVERSIBLE BAND sports monitors ®

new balance sports monitors ©2013 Implus Corporation. New Balance® Sports Monitors a division of Implus Corporation. 8.13


SGB, Copyright 2013 is a trademark of SportsOneSource, LLC. All rights reserved. The opinions expressed by the authors and contributors to SGB are not necessarily those of the editors or publisher. SGB is not responsible for unsolicited manuscripts, photographs or artwork. Articles appearing in SGB many not be reproduced in whole or in part without the express permission of the publisher. SGB, Volume 46, Issue 9, (USPS 457-390; ISSN 1548-7407) is published monthly plus a special December Issue by SportsOneSource, LLC., 2151 Hawkins Street, Suite 200, Charlotte, NC 28203; 704.987.3450. Subscription rates: one year $79 (U.S. funds) in the U.S. and its possessions; Canada and Mexico $119 (U.S. funds); all other foreign delivery $199 (U.S. funds). Printed in the U.S.A. Periodical postage paid at Charlotte, NC and additional mailing offices. Postmaster send address changes to SGB, 2151 Hawkins Street, Suite 200, Charlotte, NC 28203; 704.987.3450.

For BACK ISSUES, call 704.987.3450 For EDITORIAL INQUIRIES, email









Heart Rate





















©2013 Implus Corporation. New Balance® Sports Monitors a division of Implus Corporation. 8.13



TEAM BUSINESS 6 Adapting To Change

SGB Examines the current team dealer landscape with a roundtable discussion

10 Cramer Products Acquired by Performance Health


SGB I PROFILE 12 Scott Montgomery I Club Ride CEO INDUSTRY REPORT CARD 14 SIA Snow Sports Participation Study

Now in its sixth year, the national snow sports survey reveals change and opportunity.

16 SFIA Participation Report

Several major traditional team sports suffered participation declines in 2012, while inactivity levels in the U.S. increased.

20 NSGA Sports Participation Report

Of 47 sports and activities traced in the NSGA report, 32 showed participation growth in 2012.

22 OIA Outdoor Participation Report

Outdoor activity hovers near 50 percent, propped up by Running and Population Growth in 2012

24 The Golf Report

New campaign raises awareness about pace-of-play and potential solutions

25 TIA Participation Report

Tennis participation increased in 2012 accounting for 70 percent of total annual tennis expenditures

FEATURES 26 Electronics Continue Their March Forward

Top electronics and gadget-related product for Spring 2014

30 Insoles Step Up

While athletic shoe technology has advanced, insole makers have been there every step of the way.

34 Biomechanical Sandals Arrive

Insole suppliers are bringing maximum comfort and support to Sandal’s category

38 Pulse of the Outdoor Consumer

A market insight study from The SportsOneSource Research Group

I AM…SGB 56 Todd Vore I President, Implus Corporation

Photo courtesy Drycase

FAST & ACTIONABLE Adjust planned open-to-buy and inventory levels based on current sales trends

Find sales data on all sporting goods categories, brand market-share, and top selling products

Identify product seasonality

An intuitive user interface helps users quickly and easily find what they are looking for

Identify Average Retail Selling Price for all products Determine promotion ROI using weekly sales data



Access with any device on any browser

Over 11,000 Reporting Retailer doors from 12 channels across the U.S. Reporting systems for Footwear, Apparel, Licensed, Sports & Fitness, Outdoor, and Sportsman’s The only resource for style and color information

SPORTSCANINFO.COM • 303.997.7302


Adapting to Change SGB examines the current team dealer landscape with a roundtable discussion featuring executives from The Athletic Dealers of America (ADA), including President Peter Schneider and members of the association’s Board of Directors. By Fernando J. Delgado

The Athletic Dealers of America (ADA) is an association of independent, non-competing athletic team equipment dealers. As part of one of the strongest team dealer buying groups in the country, ADA’s 91 member dealers have grossed total sales of over $215 million and include over 1,340 employees. In order to take the pulse of team dealers that face increasingly difficult economic pressures and the ever-evolving e-commerce channel, SGB spoke with Peter Schneider, ADA’s president, Steve Hauff, vice chairman of ADA’s Board of Directors, and Kim Karsh, western states, ADA Board of Directors. Hauff owns Hauff Mid-America Sports in Souix Falls, SD, and Karsh owns California Pro Sports in Harbor City, CA.

$50 million annually. This program helps our members by supplying them with additional rebates and discounts while providing our vendor partners with a reduction in their billing and collection costs. There is no doubt it’s a volatile market right now for the team industry. The team athletic market has attracted some new players and some older ones that have become very aggressive in recent years.

Can you update us on the state of ADA?

Peter Schneider: “The ADA is doing very well. As you know the ADA, changed on January 5th of 2007, when the membership bought the company. We became a member-owned LLC (Limited Liability Company). Each member now owns an equal share of the company. Only ADA dealers can own a share in the LLC. No outside body or person may own a share. The buying group exists solely for the purpose of supporting our dealer network. In October 2008 the ADA implemented an EDI (Electronic Data Interchange) Centralized Billing Program. In almost 5 years the program has grown to approximately


All four of the major buying groups run very professional organizations. Each has their own philosophy and style of operation. Our dealers are very pleased with the changes we have made, and we will continue to evolve to compete against the changing marketplace. I’m sure NBS, Sports Inc., and TAG are attempting to do the same.”

What are some of the benefits of being an ADA member?

Steven Hauff: “The camaraderie that you have in an organization like ADA, and the fact that you can trade merchandise between common dealers, is very important. When you go to a trade show, you have a sense of belonging to something, other than being just a registered number when you go to a super show. A buying organization provides you with that camaraderie and unity in the business. It gives you advantages today on trends in the industry. What I see is the ability to purchase products at a better price than if you were an independent dealer.” Kim Karsh: “The main benefit is the family atmosphere that ADA offers. We’re all in the same business, and we don’t mind sharing trade secrets between our dealers. When dealing with a particular school, we’re not in direct competition when we sit around and talk shop. It’s an air of freedom in particular situations, knowing that fellow member dealers aren’t your competitors – they’re your friends, they’re your family. Each of us is a part owner. It’s 100 percent member-owned. Other buying groups are not. There’s a lot more input, and there’s quicker reaction time to situations that arise. The open forum of talking to a Board member is a benefit – the door’s always open to talk to any of us.”

How are ADA members dealing with the challenge of the current economic climate? How are team dealers adapting to shrinking school athletic budgets and increased competition in the e-commerce channel?

Schneider: “With tax revenues down and school budgets being cut, the ADA continues to look for ways to assist our membership. One of the things we did about two years ago was to build and implement what we call a Spirit Pack or School Team website. The website allows an ADA dealer to custom build stores for high schools, booster clubs, travel teams, etcetera. What our dealers can do is go to a school or organization and work closely with the coach or administrator to build a custom site for them to reach a goal. Our Spirit Pack website allows the coach to be more modernized in taking care of his or her athletes’ needs, and making sure that the kids are provided with the proper equipment. The sites can be used by booster clubs for raising money for various projects like getting a new scoreboard, a new pitching machine, or whatever they need in their athletic program. They can be utilized for a particular school or sport, for example if the coach wants the athletes to show up with six items. We can set that store up with whatever specific items the coach prefers, and set a start and an end date for the store. Once the end date comes up, our dealer then takes the orders, embellishes them, and provides them to the school in an individualized bag for each student athlete. This new system relieves the coach of having to collect and manage all the money. We’re also near the end of a $100,000 renovation of our website, which will allow every ADA member to be fully able to sell their products through e-commerce. They’ll be able to take orders, purchase orders, and sell not only to the athlete and the coach, but to anyone that wants to purchase products. Dealers will be able to customize the site for their local sales areas based on zip codes. It allows the dealer to have a site that ADA can manage, maintain, and administrate, while it also gives them flexibility to add product in to their area, or

to take product out that they feel doesn’t sell in their area. It’s a change from our old site that was built some time ago. The web technology today has certainly improved, and this new site will give the ADA dealer e-commerce tools that are equal to those offered by major team and retail stores in the industry. We hope to launch the site by our fall show in November.” Hauff: “E-commerce for today's dealers should be understood. The question of how a dealer can benefit from e-commerce is very difficult to answer, as a dealer must have computer savvy staff to make it work. We believe in personalization, so we like face-to-face contact with our clients whenever possible. E-commerce has taken away personal relationships. Set up a PayPal account; take personal credit cards, charge the customer. E-commerce requires a quicker turnaround for delivery of products. What is the depth of inventory that a dealer must carry to satisfy e-commerce? School budgets, meanwhile, will not increase in the future unless the taxes increase in a district. The athlete, the parents or booster clubs do most of the additional purchases. Schools want products to last longer but pay less. More schools are bidding than ever before and with the Internet, the schools/clubs are able to check many sources quickly, not just the sales person who calls on them.” How and why have spirit pack/team websites become so important for team dealers and their customers, and what are dealers doing to take advantage of such websites?

Karsh: “We’ve adapted to the needs of e-commerce in the way of spirit wear parent/booster sites. The sites are in conjunction with our salesmen going out to a school, or a league that comes into our store. They want the capability of telling their parents, ‘Go to the Cal Pro website, and click on the booster wear, and place your orders through there.’ It’s taking it out of the hands of a team mom, and putting it back in the parents’ hands to support the league, the group, or the school. It’s definitely a necessity. But it’s in conjunction with our salesmen, and

in addition to that personal one-on-one. Parents have found that when they try to do business with dealers that don’t have salesmen, they don’t know what they’re getting. Parents may find something online, and when they try to order it, they may find it’s not the right material, or it might not be the right color. Whereas a brick-and-mortar store can fulfill that full circle of necessities: feeling fabric, making it accessible to the customer, and delivering a finished product. Schools sometimes don’t realize that spirit pack websites are a moneymaker for them, and that they’re a necessity to keep sports programs going. And that it’s very easy to establish, and at no cost to them. That’s what we try to emphasize with them – that the end result is that you can make money on this, and not get stuck with the wrong size of a certain item, and not get stuck at a table during a game. That’s what people seem to enjoy – that they don’t get stuck with goods afterwards.” Hauff: “We do a lot of websites for schools, clubs, and organizations – corporate and work organizations as well. That has been very important in the last four years or so. It’s taken some dealers a longer time to get up-to-date on it and understand it, because maybe they didn’t have someone in their organization that was computer-savvy on what to do, and how to set up a PayPal account, and that whole process. The ADA provides a person on staff that helps with that situation. We have a good amount of ADA members that have set up websites for these buying situations. Schools and clubs today don’t want to handle money. They want to accumulate it. If you can provide them with the service of a webstore, they love it, because it takes it out of their hands. They still watch it, they still manage it, but they also stay completely out of it on the processing end. It also gives them a method of fundraising. So spirit packs are extremely important if a dealer today wants to be in the team business.” What are some of the challenges that team dealers face as a result of the economic downturn over the past several years?

Hauff: “One of the issues facing team dealers, as well as any retailer, is Internet sales where local/state taxes are not collected. This is the Main Street bill [Main Street Fairness Act] that is floating in the House of Representatives now. Also, a line of credit is much harder to obtain now with the government regulations placed on banks. Working capital in many stores is not large enough to carry the slower-paying clients in today's world. The Paydex Rating by D&B is very important for a dealer. A good Paydex number is essential for banking and for credit with vendors.” Karsh: “Most of us are very conscious of the Internet pricing of goods. We can compete with that, but the one thorn in our side is sales tax. In California, we charge sales tax to schools. But if they buy from an Internet company back East, they are not charged sales tax. So that puts us at a disadvantage. Hopefully either the state or federal government will come up with an equalizer to allow brick-and-mortar stores to stay in business.”



Aside from the economic environment, what does the current landscape for team dealers look like? What are some other issues facing today’s dealers?

Hauff: “Opportunities are available for team dealers who are aggressive, knowledgeable on the Internet and have a computer system which will provide complete purchasing/ sales figures. Hiring qualified, dependable, eager staff is a major problem right now. I think recent graduates – from this year back to maybe 10 years ago – want money and don’t want to work as hard for it. The team business is not easy. Finding people to travel and call on schools is difficult. Today’s graduates want a desk job. We just hired a person that’s 58 years old. Older, more experienced staff candidates know how to work. They’ve gone through life. They’ve been up and down, and they have their family. It’s a lot easier for them to commit to a job than it is for a young person. Is that picking on young people? No. I think a young person needs to maybe work their way up. Karsh: “Potential hires with a strong work ethic are few and far between. We are lucky to find a good salesman - maybe one out of 50 applicants. It’s something that most people just don’t want to do. It’s a great way to make a living, and being an outside salesman is a perfect opportunity for a newlywed or individual with a young family. But most people prefer not building business. They want to step into guaranteed business, and they don’t realize that an outside salesman has to knock on doors. And sometimes those doors are not open for several attempts.” Since it sounds like good salesmen are hard to find, what are the qualities that make a good salesman in the eyes of hiring team dealers?

Karsh: “A successful young team dealer salesman is normally someone that played sports at a high school or college level. They are usually personable, and someone that is at ease in conversational situations. They’re willing to go that extra mile for a coach. Followup is very important. When we’re interviewing them, we put them in a hypothetical scenario with a coach, and ask them how they would approach the situation. For most of our guys, after about the first year on the road, it starts to really snowball, and if they stick with it, they can make good money. But it’s really about perseverance, dedication, and honesty.”

Karsh: “Shoppers are very, very aware of pricing. Team dealers with a retail front must adapt to matching an Internet price to keep business. Foot traffic is down, and has slowly been declining. We have to offer the popular items, and be aware of trends. That helps bring people into the door. Custom socks are very trendy right now. Offering them in different patterns and colors is important, and even offering them in colors that you may not normally carry. Another trend includes mouthpieces, and different brands offering different patterns on those mouthpieces, whether it is a metallic gold finish, or a picture of a flag. Those have been strong sellers for us. Neons and floursecents are still popular, whether it is shoes or clothing. Customizing individual t-shirts is still a strong trend. Athletes expressing their individuality and personality have been strong for us. They want to stand out a little bit more, whether it’s a flashy pair of shoes, an Under Armour garment, or a mouth guard with a different color.” What are the key periods for a team dealer’s retail front?

Hauff: “Any time you have a cycle change is key. Our biggest one is back-to-school. That includes, in our case, football, volleyball, cross country, and soccer. For the retail person, those are very critical to be prepared for. We also come back with fall fashion. Your Nike, your Under Armour, your Adidas. What do they have for fall? Is it the new hoodie look? Is it the color of the hoodie? Most of those products you have to place orders for six months out. Sometimes it’s a crapshoot. For basketball season, we need to be ready specifically in October, but what’s happening in many states today is that summer basketball camps require you to have all these products available year-round.” With the economic and technological landscape changing so much over the past several years, how have ADA and its

For many ADA members, retail storefronts are a part of their business, with 26 percent (or over $55.9 million) of total ADA member sales coming from retail. Are there any recent trends or developments for team dealers with a retail front?

Hauff: “The thing that happens today in retailing - and it’s why some team dealers don’t want a retail front - is that the fashion volatility of product makes things difficult. Whether it’s shoes, or whether it’s Under Armour, Adidas, New Era Caps or NFL-licensed products, fashion preferences are volatile today that we have to be really careful what we order so that we’re not heavy on inventory, and that we can turn that inventory around and make money. Whatever you have left over at the end of the season is no good for profit. The thing that’s difficult today is determining what you stock. We go to our spring show in July, and in South Dakota we don’t start planning anything until April, so we’re talking nine months minimum where we have to plan for the next spring. The fall show that we go to in November is pretty solid because you know what the helmets and shoulder pads – those kinds of products - are going to be. That isn’t so volatile. But when it comes to ‘What’s the baseball glove?’ and ‘What’s the hot bat?’ that’s much more difficult. The College World Series helps, but that doesn’t determine what’s going to happen next spring. Overall, I think the retail side of things is important from a cash flow perspective. But it’s very difficult when it comes to purchasing products that are fashion-oriented or trendy.”


team dealers moved forward and modernized?

Schneider: “The ADA’s task is to provide services and benefits for our members to help them not only survive in a very competitive marketplace, but to also maintain profitability. The average ADA dealer has been in business for 42 years and they have not survived in business that long by not adapting to a changing environment. It is the ADA’s job to help them in every way we can. In the 70’s, it was catalogues. Many of these catalog houses are now gone. In the 80’s came the big box retail operations. Some of them are still here, many are gone. In the 90’s, the Internet started to impact the market to a small degree. Now, in the 2000’s, e-commerce has become a more important sales avenue. The younger coaches are more Internet savvy and do their research - and in some cases their purchasing - on the Internet. In order to succeed in this marketplace, the ADA has to continue to give our dealers the tools that allow them to be competitive with the large range of competition that exists today and into the future.” ■




Cramer Products Acquired by Performance Health Performance Health, manufacturer and marketer of Thera-Band, Biofreeze, Perform and Hygenic branded products, announced a merger with Cramer Products, Inc. Marshall Dahneke, the president and CEO of Performance Health, will be leading the new combined entity. Tom Rogge, president and CEO of Cramer Products, Inc., will be reporting to Dahneke. Cramer Products portfolio includes all branded products from Cramer, Active Ankle, Stromgren and Cosom, and is a leading company supporting the athletic training (AT), sports medicine (SM) and team markets. Cramer Products also reaches into retail, primarily through chain sporting goods stores, as well as into certain international markets. “Near-term plans are to continue operating Cramer as we’ve been operating as a separate company,” said Cramer’s Rogge. “We operate in different markets. They’re [Performance Health] very strong in physical therapy, occupational therapy, chiropractic, dental markets and massage. We’re [Cramer] primarily in the sports medicine and athletic training markets. Early on, the focus will be on sales’ synergies and how we sell more of each other’s products in each other’s channels. But there are no significant organizational changes planned.” Performance Health acquired Cramer Products. Performance Health is owned by Gridiron Capital, LLC, a private equity firm based in New Canaan, CT. “Combining Cramer Products with Performance Health provides benefit to both organizations, leveraging our complementary sales channels and go-to-market strategies,” stated Performance Health’s Dahneke. “Each company will cross-promote and cross-sell the other’s product lines through their respective sales channels, taking advantage of each other’s market leadership and strong legacy brands.” Cramer’s Rogge credited Joseph Pellegrini, managing director at Robert W. Baird, with setting the wheels in motion for the merger. “I’ve been acquainted with Joe [Pellegrini] through some industry functions over a number of years. He is the person who actually put us together,” explained Rogge. “He had played football at Harvard and played for the

New York Jets, and he’s always known Cramer and used our products. He thought that our two companies would be a good fit. He had some familiarity with Performance Health, and he had some familiarity with me personally, and he’s the one who got us talking. The timing was good for our company, and we are very impressed with the Performance Health product line and staff, and their resources. So we think it’s a good fit strategically.” The partnership will result in little initial change in how each company conducts business with their primary stakeholders. The products historically purchased from Cramer will continue to be purchased from Cramer, and vice versa. “We’re strong in markets where they have not been strong, and vice versa,” said Rogge, who will maintain his position as president and CEO of Cramer following the merger. “We’re both excited about the opportunities for distributing and getting more penetration with each other’s products in our respective markets. They [Performance Health] are particularly strong internationally, and for our company [Cramer], we think that’s going to be a good opportunity as well.” Rogge added that Cramer has recently starting the process of training and cross-training its staff in products and other logistics. “Our senior management has been very impressed with their senior management team, and we’re looking forward to working together with them,” he continued. “They’re [Performance Health] a larger company than we are, so they have more resources available, and we think that’s an opportunity as well. With regards to the significance of this to the marketplace, for the foreseeable future, it will be business usual.”




reason when it came to apparel it has been our Achilles heel. I think it has been due to the fact that the entrepreneurs that started bike shops were mostly men who shared a passion for bikes, so they understood and pushed suppliers to make the next weightweenie widget. When it came to clothing though, the attitude was indifference as we were successful with the hard goods and that is where we excelled. Now, as competition has intensified, retailers are realizing that full margin products like apparel are appetizing. And as high-end road bike sales have softened in this post-Lance crazed period, they’re realizing it’s time to reconsider what they need to do to increase sales in a segment like apparel.

Scott Montgomery Club Ride CEO

We think we can continue to double each season, and as we have built up our staff we keep seeing new innovative products that need to come to market so we only see more opportunity ahead. We increased doors this season from 400 to over 600 and we consistently add five new doors a week. We are starting to see demand overseas and we are formally working on plans for expansion into Europe soon.

What are your plans for growth?


s more people continue to get into cycling, more of them seem to be heading down the non-spandex road. The burgeoning “Casual-Technical” market has been growing for several years now, inspired along with the yoga, fitness, hike and run markets as consumers continue to seek apparel that can be worn from “trail to table.” One of the first on the casual-technical scene was a small Idaho brand called Club Ride, founded by Mike Herlinger in 2008. The company utilizes moisture wicking fabrics with UPF coating, mesh panels and hidden pockets to create fashion-forward technical cycling apparel. The North Face entered and exited the market rather quickly, but others are popping up in its place. Giro this year introduced a technical commuter-style line they are calling “New Road,” saying the cycling world is expanding outside its bike-geek roots and asking for looser fits and more natural fabrics like everyone else. Long time cycling apparel brand Rapha followed suit. In mountain biking, start-up Kitsbow is also gaining some well-deserved attention, somewhat taking up with Merino wool in cycling apparel where Icebreaker left off. To find out more about this potentially profitable growing category, SGB sat down with Club Ride CEO Scott Montgomery. By Aaron H. Bible How much growth has this category experienced in recent years? Here at Club Ride we have been increasing at over 100 percent every year. I can see we have new entrants in the category almost weekly and it’s not slowing our growth, so we know we are in the middle of a small revolution. As my father used to say when we were building Cannondale in the early years,“Don’t listen to focus groups or hire consultants, just hire good people and listen to them and make the products we want to use and the growth will take care of itself.” What don’t people know about this category? How does it tie into the whole “trail to studio to table” movement happening right now in performance/fitness? We in the bike industry have been absolutely fantastic at making cranks, cassettes, frames, pumps and tires, lighter, stronger and better, which has consistently grown our industry. But for some


Who’s your target customer? It is widely reported that the bike industry is second in terms of participants in the U.S. with some 39 million consumers. We think the top of the pyramid - the five million hardcore spandex clad consumers - are very, very well served. But we see the 34 million casual riders, the ones who, when a retailer shows them the new spandex bib shorts the customer politely says “NFW” and walks away, those are our customers. I race in it and it functions perfectly well, but we have no plans to take the traditional approach. We prefer to concentrate on bike store staff, if they like it, they wear it, and then they sell it! What should be done to grow the segment, and who’s responsible

We are big believers and supporters of advocacy groups Bikes Belong (People for Bikes) and IMBA, both of which are effective at increasing widespread awareness for bicycles… using Washington to build support and funding for more bike paths, education, awareness, and IMBA of course continues to expand trail use. Rails-to-Trails is another great organization that is building ways for Americans to exercise without competing with the bicycle. I am convinced as we broaden the appeal of the apparel we will help the entire industry grow and everyone will benefit.

for that?

Why is this opportunity a personal passion for you? I have been very

fortunate to be a part of two dramatic growth periods in my cycling career. First with Cannondale and the advent of the mountain bike which aluminum helped usher in with lighter, stronger frames and many great pioneers like Paul Turner of Rock Shox fame. Then I participated in the “Lance boom” with Scott Sports where we produced the lightest carbon frame on the planet at that time. I actually feel this current opportunity is just as significant; and we intend to help retailers in the cycling industry grow from our current average 10 percent annual apparel sales first to 20 percent within five years and then to 30 percent within 10 years. ■

Sharpen Your Perspective Access the weekly sales landscape of the outdoor industry and be outfitted with data to guide your company’s strategic decisions with OIA VantagePoint™: The only weekly retail point-of-sale reporting platform exclusively for the active outdoor lifestyle industry. We swiftly deliver critical trend and detailed business data to brands and retailers.

Start Seeing Clearly 303.997.7302


SIA Snow Sports Participation Study Now in its sixth year, the national snow sports survey reveals change and opportunity.

By Aaron H. Bible



nowSports Industries America (SIA) released its 2013 Snow Sports Participant Study last month that provides its members and other industry stakeholders such as ski area managers a comprehensive look into the previous season’s snow sports participants across six disciplines. According to SIA’s Director of Research Kelly Davis, the participation report has been created annually since the 2007/2008 season, requiring more than 100 person-hours to produce the completed report once data has been collected. The report covers alpine skiers, snowboarders, cross country skiers, freeskiers, telemark skiers and snowshoers, and provides a detailed account of what they did on and off the mountain during the 2012/2013 season. SIA works with its Physical Activity Council partners to conduct more than 42,000 surveys of American households on their sports and leisure activities to create this study. “The survey work is a very extensive process. During January and February 2013, a total of 42,356 online interviews were carried out with a nationwide sample of individuals and households from the U.S. Online Panel of over one million people operated by Synovate/IPSOS. A total of 15,770 individual and 26,593 household surveys were completed. The total panel is maintained to be representative of the U.S. population for people ages six and older. Over-sampling of ethnic groups took place to boost response from typically under responding groups,” Davis said. “The sample size of 42,356 completed interviews provides a high degree of statistical accuracy. All surveys are subject to some level of standard error - that is, the degree to which the results might differ from those obtained by a complete census of every person in the U.S. A sport with a participation rate of five percent has a confidence interval of plus or minus 0.21 percentage points at the 95 percent confidence level. This translates to plus or minus four percent of participants.”

SIA notes a late start to the 2012/2013 season affecting all snow sports participation except freeski and telemark, which both finished the season with more participants than previous years; and according to SIA’s Davis, are two categories (freeskiing and backcountry skiing/riding) experiencing obvious growth within the industry. Ultimately, overall snow sports participation was down 3 percent last season to 19.3 million participants across all disciplines. Alpine ski had a 19 percent drop in participation but still brought the most players to the mountain with 8.2 million, followed by snowboard with 7.4 million, freeski with 5.4 million, snowshoe with 4 million, cross country with 3.3 million and telemark with 2.8 million participants. However, Davis said a closer look at the data is warranted. “The number of downhill skiers who are defining themselves as ‘freeskiers’ is increasing quickly. We will be watching for other indicators of the freeski trend this season and looking for more data to determine how this trend will impact the market. Just because a survey respondent says they’re a freeskier doesn’t mean they’re spending all their time in the park and pipe,” she explained. “We are seeing indications of a culture shift among younger skiers. Freeski may be a cultural identity that younger skiers are gravitating toward and could include not only equipment choices but apparel, accessories, and other accoutrements of a budding freeski culture. We will keep our eyes on a variety of data to determine if that’s happening, to what degree, and how the market can foster it and benefit from increased participation and sales.” The total number of downhill skiers (freeski and alpine combined) dropped slightly from 11.4 to 11.3 million last season - but those that said they are “alpine skiers” dropped 19 percent while the number who claimed to be freeskiers jumped 47 percent, according to Davis. “The crossover data for snow sports and 109 other sports is always fascinating. Did you know that half of snowboarders are

runners?” Davis said, “And, 27 percent of snowboarders say that they also participate in martial arts. Also, more freeskiers say they surf (18 percent) than snowboarders (13 percent), but it works out to about the same number - a little less than around one million from freeski and one million from snowboarding that also self-identify as surfers,” Davis said. “The number of skiers and riders who are exploring backcountry terrain is rising, but most of the increase is in ‘resort-backcountry/ungroomed trails’ which could mean they simply chose to ski or ride through the trees down to the lift,” Davis explained further. “What’s most interesting in this category are the number of people who claim that they did some participating in backcountry conditions. About one in every four skiers and one in four snowboarders claimed to have at least dabbled in backcountry. We know that sales of backcountry equipment are increasing significantly, so the next question is - how do we educate these participants so that they understand the risks of backcountry participation including avalanche danger, getting lost, etc.? We formed a backcountry task force made up of some of the most iconic names and brands in backcountry skiing and riding to address the issue.” The Study offers some unique facts about this season’s participants: »» »» »» »»

Out of the 19.3 million participants, 62 percent are male and 38 percent are female; Alpine skiers and snowboarders make up 49 percent of all snow sports participants; 54 percent of snow sports participants make more than $75,000 a year; Telemark skiers (average 13 days) and snowboarders (average 11.3 days) participated the most this season;

»» »» »» »» »» »» »»

Snowshoeing is the most popular snow sport among women, representing 46 percent of snowshoers; Freeskiing is the most diverse snow sport, with minorities representing half of its participants; Walking for fitness is the most common “off the mountain” activity for snow sports participants; Over 39 percent of snowboarders are under the age 24; 74 percent of snow sports participants are homeowners; 43 percent of snow sports participants are very interested in the winter Olympics; The majority of skiers (18 percent) and snowboarders (27 percent) live in the Pacific region.

Celebrating its 60th anniversary in 2014, SIA is a non-profit member-owned trade association working year-round with North American snow sports suppliers, retailers, resorts, reps and service providers to develop products and programs for their individual and collective business needs. SIA annually hosts the industry's largest core winter sports trade show, the SIA Snow Show, along with the On-Snow Demo/Ski-Ride Fest and the Sourcing Snow supplier show. SIA also helps retailers and resorts connect with snow sports participants around the country through and ■ SPORTSONESOURCE.COM



SFIA Participation Report Several major traditional team sports suffered participation declines in 2012, while inactivity levels in the U.S. increased. By Fernando J. Delgado and Neil Schwartz


ccording to the Sports & Fitness Industry Association’s (SFIA) recently released study, “2013 Sports, Fitness and Leisure Activities Topline Participation Report,” several major team sports such as baseball, basketball, football and soccer suffered declines in participation between approximately 3 and 5 percent. Meanwhile, inactivity levels in the U.S. increased yet again, a troubling issue for the health of the nation as a whole, and for the sporting goods industry in particular. Among other trends, the report revealed interesting preferences for aspirational interests by non-participants, led by "Swimming for Fitness", which was the top aspirational activity among 5 of 8 surveyed age groups. In addition, the study showed that team sports spending was up a net of 4.7 percent at schools, with Pay-to-Play programs also increasing among middle schools and high schools. The study tracked participation in over 120 sports. The Overview Report from the Physical Activity Council (PAC) was produced by a partnership of six of the major trade associations in U.S. sports, fitness and leisure industries. A total of 42,356 online interviews were carried out by Synovate/IPSOS during January and February of 2013. A total of 15,770 individual and 26,593 household surveys were completed. Overall, the report found that participation in sports, fitness and related physical fitness activities “remained relatively steady” from 2011 to 2012. Team Sports saw a slight increase of less than one percent to 26.1 percent of individuals ages 6 and over. Fitness Sports led the way with the largest overall percentage increase, rising two percent to 61.1 percent and regaining the previous year’s loss of one percent. Racquet Sports participation increased one percent to 12.8 percent, while Water Sports saw a slight increase to 12.5 percent. The findings determined that 206.7 million Americans age 6 and older were considered “active” in 2012, with an estimated 33 percent, or 94.8 million individuals, age 6 and older considered “active to a healthy level.”


Among mainstream team sports, the study shows: »» Basketball was the most widely participated sport in 2012, with 23.7 million total participants ages 6 and older, down 4.4 percent from 2011 participation levels. Core participants in basketball (those playing more than 13 times a year) were down 2.1 percent from 2011 to 16.3 million. Casual participation (those playing 1 to 12 times) took a bigger hit, down 9 percent to 7.4 million Casual players. »» Baseball, the second most participated sport with nearly 13 million individuals, saw participation of ages 6 and older decline 4.3 percent, following a decline of 4.5 percent the previous year. Core participants in baseball also declined, with a 3.3 percent decrease from 2011 to a total of 9.0 million. »» Soccer follows closely behind baseball, with 12.9 million participants. The sport’s participation level was also down, with a 5.3 percent decline in participants. Unlike baseball and basketball, Casual (1 to 25 times played per year) and Core (26+ times a year) participants were fairly evenly split, with 6.7 million Casual and 6.3 million Core participants. Casual participation was down 7.9 percent from 2011, while Core participation was down 2.3 percent.

Ice Hockey was the greatest gaining team sport, with an increase in overall participation of 10.9 percent to 2.4 million.

»» »»

»» »»

»» »» »» »»

Tackle Football’s overall participation fell 3.5 percent to 6.2 million with Core participants (26+ times a year) down 2.7 percent. Touch Football’s overall participation dropped 5.1 percent to 7.3 million. Casual touch football participants outnumbered Core participants, with 4.0 million Casual players to 3.3 million Core players. The decline was much sharper for Casual players - down 13 percent from 2011. Flag Football participation declined 7.3 percent to 5.9 million. Lacrosse continued its increase in participation. Overall participation was up 7.1 percent to 1.6 million. Since 2008, lacrosse’s overall participants have jumped 51.9 percent. Core (13+ times a year) participation increased 2.4 percent to 819,000, while Casual participation (1 to 12 times a year) increased at a much higher rate, up 12.4 percent to 788,000. Ice Hockey was the greatest gaining team sport, with an increase in overall participation of 10.9 percent to 2.4 million. Field Hockey saw strong growth, increasing 7.8 percent to 1.2 million. Rugby total participation rose 4.4 percent to 887,000 participants. Gymnastics was up 6 percent to 5.1 million participants, marking a third consecutive year of increased participation for the sport.

“A good thing about this report compared to prior reports is that we actually started tracking Generation Z, which were those born in 2000 or later, and which our industry is really interested in,” said VJ Mayor, SFIA’s director of marketing and communications. “This is the first year that we actually got a full sample size. We were able to break down the Baby Boomers, the Generation X-ers, Generation Y, the Millenials, and now Generation Z.”

Many Traditional Team Sports Suffer Participation Decline

Perhaps the most notable aspect of the data in the report is the decline in participation levels for several team sports that typically have the most participants, including outdoor soccer (-5.3 percent), basketball (-4.4 percent), baseball (-4.3 percent) and tackle football (-3.5 percent). Several team sports with comparatively smaller participant bases experienced growth: ice hockey, (+10.9 percent), field hockey (+7.8 percent), lacrosse (+7.1 percent), cheerleading (+6.4 percent) and gymnastics (+6.0 percent). Baseball and tackle football have undergone a concerning downward trend in participation numbers, with a decline in total participants in each of the past six consecutive years, starting with 2007. In that year, baseball had 16 million participants and tackle football had 7.9 million participants. Those numbers were down to 13 million and 6.2 million for baseball and tackle football, respectively. In that period, both sports suffered their steepest raw numerical declines from 2008 to 2009, when participants decreased from 15.5 million to 14.4 million in baseball, and 7.8 million to 7.2 million in tackle football. Economic factors are a likely cause for the decline seen in the traditional team sports during 2012. With athletic budgets at high schools and middle schools shrinking since the economic downturn around 2008, the cost of equipment has largely been passed on to students and their parents in the form of Pay-to-Play programs. The rise of new individual sports and growth of increasingly popular team sports such as lacrosse, rugby, roller hockey and field hockey have also drawn participants away. And with inactivity levels rising every year, less young Americans are interested in playing sports at all. Is tackle football in trouble? Are safety concerns and concussion issues dominating news headlines negatively impacting the sport? Or has media coverage unfairly overblown the dangers of football?



“Anyone that looks at the report on paper and sees the numbers can say, ‘Oh, it’s because of the safety issues concerning tackle football.’ But it could be a number of different things,” said Mayor. “Are parents more aware of safety concerns with tackle football? Yes, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. I think it’s great for parents to know everything they can before getting their child into a sport, or knowing what the potential injuries are. But do I think that’s the sole reason for the decline it’s had in recent years? No. Other traditional team sports have been declining across the board.” Mayor explained that the declines experienced by tackle football, baseball and other traditional team sports can be attributed to not only more options being available to today’s young athletes, but also more athletes specializing in one particular sport. “Lots of niche and individual sports are growing, and there are more activities for kids to try out now,” he said. “Participants are trying out other sports, and there’s more available to them than when our parents grew up playing certain sports, when it was maybe just football and soccer in the fall, basketball in the winter, and baseball in the spring. There’s a lot more to it now, and there’s a lot more sports available now. That’s something you’ll hear from football coaches. It’s not so much the safety concerns – although parents are more aware of it – it’s that kids are going to specialize in a particular sport when they know they’re better at it. Now kids are playing one sport year-round as opposed to being a three-sport athlete.” Concerns Over Inactivity

Fitness Sports led the way with the largest overall percentage increase, rising two percent to 61.1 percent and regaining the previous year’s loss of 1 percent.


The 2013 SFIA Topline Participation Report also offered a component devoted to Inactivity Rates. The SFIA’s definition of inactivity was broadened to include individuals who do not participate in any active sport, and was also expanded to include 19 sports/activities “that are categories as needing minimal to no physical exertion.” Those sports and activities included darts, billiards/pool and other similar activities. By using the new definition, the study identified 80.4 million inactives, up from 78.9 million in 2011. “One of the big things that this report always reveals is the inactivity,” said SFIA’s Mayor. “And this year, different than prior years, we actually included low intensity, non-contact sports like billiards and pool, and when you include those, the numbers still rose. That’s surprising, because you’d think that inactivity rates would decrease [with those extra activities being counted]. That’s a really telling sign.” The report showed that 28 percent of all Americans were inactive in 2012. In 2007, 25.5 percent all Americans were inactive, totaling 70.5 million people. Since then, inactivity has increased 2.5 percent overall, representing 9.9 million Americans. Even though the rate of increase in 2012 - +0.4 percent from 2011 slowed from the previous year, it still marked the sixth consecutive year of increased inactive Americans. “Even though the levels of inactivity continue to rise, the rate is slowing down,” said the report (page 6 of 2013 SFIA Topline Participation Report). However, Jim Baugh, president at Jim Baugh Consulting and Founder of PHIT America, warns against reading too much

into the slowed inactivity rate increase. PHIT America is the year-round social media and marketing campaign promoting an “Active, Fit and Healthy America” by educating Americans. As the leader of the advocacy group’s administration and overall operations, Baugh is a leading expert when it comes to sports and fitness participation rates and the ramifications of inactivity. He believes that the inactivity issue is a serious problem for the future of the country, as well as for the sporting goods industry. “It doesn’t come out strong in the report, but inactivity is a pandemic,” Baugh said. “If you dig into the numbers, you’ll see several alarm bells. Number one is the percentage of Americans that are doing nothing – not one thing through 121 sports and activities that the study tracks. There are 80 million Americans doing nothing, being total coach potatoes in the past year. The second alarm is that, other than the senior category, all the age categories are increasing inactivity percentages. It’s almost across the board. Youths are the future of the sports industry, and the present of the team sports business. The pandemic is growing quicker with youths. If you don’t get active at young age, you have a much tougher time getting them active as adults.” “The rate of increase may be slowing, but it’s still going up. The real problem here is that frequent participants are down four million participants in one year, and that’s with population growth,” Baugh continued. “Within our industry, we’ve got to be honest with the fact these trend lines have not been good. We need to come together to really work on this issue. Some people can argue that the rate is slowing, but it’s still trending in the wrong direction.” Could the inclusion of the 19 new sports requiring minimal to no physical exertion account for the slowing in the inactivity rate? “That’s one possible explanation, but a larger part of it could be that programs are actually starting to work, like anti-obesity programs, the NFL Play 60, or the NBA FIT programs, are starting to work on a grassroots level to a certain extent,” said SFIA’s Mayor. “Does it mean it’s solved? No. But it’s something to go off of and with the industry backing PHIT America, it’s not surprising for me to see this plateau because you see the issue on the forefront of peoples’ minds.” ■



KEVIN PLANK CEO & Founder Under Armour

TED LEONSIS Founder, Chairman, Majority Owner & CEO Monumental Sports & Entertainment

ROB DEMARTINI President & CEO New Balance

JOE PELLEGRINI Managing Director, Co-Head, Consumer & Retail Group R.W. Baird & Co.

LISA BAIRD Chief Marketing Officer U.S. Olympic Committee

TIM BROSNAN Executive Vice President MLB

ERIC GRUMBAN Executive Vice President NFL

SAL LAROCCA Executive Vice President NBA

JEFFREY ROSENSWEIG Director of the Global Perspectives Program Emory University

ROBERT REISS Forbes Columnist, Host of “The CEO Show”

BOB PUCCINI SFIA Chairman President Mizuno USA

JIM PISANI President VF Licensed Sports Group

SCOTT BAXTER President Jeanswear Americas & Imagewear VF Corp.

TOM FARREY Director of Sports & Society Program, Emmy Award Winning Reporter Aspen Institute, ESPN

AURET VAN HEERDEN President & CEO Fair Labor Association

HUGO MALAN President, Fitness, Sporting Goods & Toys Sears Holdings

Use code SGBILS913 by September 2 to receive the Early Bird Member rate For more INFORMATION or to REGISTER visit or call 301.495.6321 @ TheSFIA





NSGA Sports Participation Report While some sports showed worrisome declines, the NSGA Participation Report was encouraging. Of the 47 sports and activities traced in the report, 32 experienced participation growth in 2012. By Thomas J. Ryan and Neil Schwartz


now sports, clearly impacted by warm weather last year, saw the steepest decline in 2012, with participation dropping an average of 11 percent. Skiing (Alpine) dropped 12.3 percent to 6 million while snowboarding participants tumbled 16.8 percent, to 4.3 million. Warmer-weather outside activities appeared to get a boost, with hiking expanding to 42.2 million participants from 39.1 million in 2011 and 37.7 million in 2010. Camping (vacation/overnight) bounced back, with participation rising 5.5 percent to 45.2 million. Cycling saw a modest gain, up 0.4 percent to 39.3 million, although mountain biking continued its recent erosion. Kayaking and fishing also enjoyed more action. Running/jogging continued its strong and steady growth rate, rising 3.5 percent to 40 million participants and is now ahead 24.3 percent since 2009. Shooting sports were mixed but sports with firearms drove overall average increases to more than 3 percent. Overall, participation in hunting with firearms increased more than 18 percent, even more sharply among females (up nearly 29 percent compared to 2011). Target shooting with live ammunition showed a 10.9 percent increase, with female participation increasing by over 27 percent. In Team Sports, participation lagged modestly in basketball (down 1.9 percent to 25.6 million participants), soccer (down 1.8 percent to 13.7 million), baseball (off 1.8 percent to 12.1 million), and ice hockey (losing 3.2 percent to 2,900).


Probably the most encouraging trend overall is that much of the participation growth across activities was driven by girls and women, with 40 of the 47 sports/activities having increased female participation, compared to only 11 showing increased male participation.

Lacrosse saw a more modest gain than recent years, rising 1.1 percent to 2.7 million participants. Other team sports showing gains were softball, to 10.49 million from 10.38 million; and volleyball, up to 10.25 million from 10.08 million. The largest drop in team sports took place in tackle football, which experienced a nearly 13 percent decline in participation since 2011. More than one-half of the decline was within the 7 to 11 age group, and all of the decline in that age group was from the infrequent (2 to 9 times) and occasional (10 to 49 times) participants. There was an increase in frequent (50+ times) participants aged 7 to 11. Indoor gaming activities increased by an average of 11 percent, with larger participation gains in billiards/pool, dart throwing, and ping-pong. Fitness sports each increased about 5 percent. Aerobic exercising participation grew 6.8 percent; yoga, 6.3 percent; and exercising with equipment, 3.8 percent. Probably the most encouraging trend overall is that much of the participation growth across activities was driven by girls and women, with 40 of the 47 sports/activities having increased female participation, compared to only 11 showing increased male participation. Bruce Hammond, NSGA’s director of marketing and communications, pointed out that the differences between NSGA’s report and those from other industry associations primarily relate to how participation is defined. In NSGA’s participation report, for instance, participation for most of the sports/activities is defined as having participated at least twice during the year. For aerobic exercising, bicycle riding, exercise walking, exercising

with equipment, running/jogging, swimming and weightlifting, however, it is based on six or more times during the year. The study also captures participants who are 7 years of age and older. Specifically around team sports, NSGA’s numbers also take into account recreational activity as well. Said Hammond, “For example, if a father goes out and shoots baskets in his driveway a few times per year during the holidays, that person is a basketball participant.” NSGA also recognizes that it’s important for decision-makers to utilize multiple reports as they make their decisions for the year, and not just one. Hammond added, “We’ve found over the years that many of the leaders in our industry do rely on multiple sources of data in their decision-making, which makes sense to us.” As part of the report, NSGA probed those who admitted to playing fewer team sports than in the past, noted Dustin Dobrin, NSGA’s director of research and information. Asked why they’re playing less team sports, researchers found not surprisingly "lack of time" to be the number one reason. The second answer provided was “fewer perceived opportunities,” and that was heard more from older teens. The third reason given was that they just didn’t “like” the team sport, although that ranked as the number one response for 7 to 17 year olds. However, NSGA researchers felt this answer needed more exploration since a number of reasons, such as issues with teammates or coaches, time pressures, or committing more to another team sport, could lead to such an answer. Encouragingly, the expenses required to play a team sport came in fourth. Dobrin said that while it’s often heard as a reason for not playing during recessionary periods, it doesn’t currently seem to be as much of a barrier. Combined with participation in many sports and activities on the uptrend and the strength in women participation, NSGA is encouraged about further gains in the current year. Said Dobrin, “I would obviously expect as the economy hopefully continues to get better, then participation should continue to increase for many of these sports and activities.” ■




OIA Outdoor Participation Report Participation in outdoor activities now hovers near 50 percent, propped up by Running as well as sheer Population Growth in 2012 By Charlie Lunan


opulation growth ensured the number of Americans who participated in outdoor recreation grew by 800,000 in 2012, even as the percentage rate remained flat with the prior year, according to the seventh annual Outdoor Participation Report published by The Outdoor Foundation established by the Outdoor Industry Association (OIA). The report estimates that in 2012, 141.9 million Americans participated in outdoor recreation, or 49.4 percent of the population – the same level reported for 2011. The 64-page report is based on responses gathered in January and February of 2013 from 42,363 online surveys. Any person 6 years or older reported to have participated at least once in any of 42 outdoor activities during the year was counted as a participant. The report is published by The Outdoor Foundation, which was established by the Outdoor Industry Association (OIA) to “inspire and grow future generations of outdoor enthusiasts.” This year’s report revealed uneven progress toward that goal. For instance, it estimates that while participation rates among young children (6 to 12) and young adults (18 to 24) remained steady at 63 and 57 percent in 2012, they dropped two points to 60 percent among teens. The decline was driven by a six-point decline in the participation rate of teenage girls (13 to 17), which reached a six-year low


of 51 percent. That more than offset a one-point gain in participation among adolescent boys, where the rate reached a five-year high of 69 percent. Rates for young girls and young women, meanwhile, each rose 2 points to 60 and 58 percent respectively. Also encouraging was news that those who did participate in the 6 to 17-age bracket went on an average of 92 outings in 2012, up from 81 in 2011. Average outings rose by 18 to110 for the 18-to-24-year-old cohort. Another piece of good news was that 13 million Americans started or resumed participating in outdoor activities in 2012 compared with 12 million who stopped, which translates to a positive churn rate of 6.8 percent. Much of the growth, however, appears to be coming from running, rather than more traditional outdoor activities such as hiking, paddling or climbing, which explains why retailers such as MEC and REI and brands such as Merrell and The North Face have broadened their selection of running gear in recent years. Running, including jogging and trail running, gained 1.7 million participants from 2011 to 2012 and accounted for 37.1 percent of 12.4 billion outings, which increased 7.8 percent from 2011. It also remained the most popular outdoor activity with 53.2 million participants ahead of Freshwater/Saltwater and Fly Fishing, 46.0 million; Road Biking, Mountain Biking and BMX, 42.3 million; Car, Backyard and RV Camping, 38 million; and Hiking, 34.5 million. The five fastest growing activities from 2010 to 2012 were: Triathlon/Non-traditional/Off Road, up 116 percent to 1.44 million; Adventure Racing, up 99 percent to 2.17 million; Telemarking, up 87 percent to 2.77 million; Freestyle skiing, up 82 percent and Triathlon/Traditional/Road, up 81 percent to 2.18 million.

Achieve Your Goals

Activities with the highest percentage of first-time participants included: »» Stand Up Paddleboarding, 56 percent or 863,520; »» Boardsailing/Windsurfing, 43 percent or 661,770; »» Triathlon/Non-Traditional, 39 percent or 562,390; »» Triathlon/Traditional, 38 percent or 829,920; and »» Adventure Racing, 36 percent or 781,200 Rounding out the Top 10 were: »» Kayaking/White Water, 32 percent or 600,960; »» Kayaking/Sea, 30 percent or 733,800; »» Rafting, 28 percent or 1.03 million; »» Climbing/Sport/Indoor/Boulder, 27 percent or 1.24 million; and Climbing/Traditional/Ice/Mountaineering, 26 percent or 569,140 Other interesting data points in the report include: »» More outdoor participants bowled (15.8 percent) and played billiards (12.2 percent) in 2012 than camped (10.4 percent), played basketball (8.4 percent) golfed (7.8 percent), hunted (5.1 percent) or skied (4.1 percent); »» 3 times as many fished (47.0 mm) than hunted (14.7 mm); »» 25 percent of participants above the age of 13 are students and unemployed; »» The South Atlantic region accounts for the largest percentage of the nation’s participants (18 percent) even though its 46 percent participation rate is the lowest of the nine geographic zones measured; »» Hispanics, African Americans and Asian/Pacific Islanders are more likely to use smart phones, iPods/music players, laptops and tablets while engaging in outdoor recreation than Caucasians; »» 43 percent of young adults use smartphones and 40 percent iPods/music players while engaging in outdoor recreation, compared to 4 percent who use handheld GPS devices.

Breadth of Data. Depth of Data. Timeliness of Data As the broadest, deepest and most timely data available for the U.S. Sports and Outdoor Active Lifestyle Market, SportScanInfo is the weekly retail point-of-sale data reporting solution. To learn more about how we can help your business, call 704.987.3450 or email A Service of The SportsOneSource Group SPORTSONESOURCE.COM



THE Golf Report New campaign raises awareness about pace-of-play and potential solutions By Thomas J. Ryan


olf participation showed a slight recovery in 2012, increasing 0.8 percent to 21.1 million participants, according to the NSGA. But the gain appears largely due to warm weather, and should have been a lot higher given that rounds played jumped 5.7 percent for all of 2012, according to Golf Datatech. Overall, participation is down approximately 10 percent since 2010, according to the National Golf Foundation (NGF). Moreover, the United States Golf Association (USGA), recognizing the still troubled trends of golf play among the young, recently launched its own national campaign to speed the pace-of-play and make golf more fun. The slogan of the campaign is, “While we’re young!,” a one-liner delivered by the late comic Rodney Dangerfield in the 1980 movie "Caddyshack." Dangerfield's character, Al Czervik, 24 SEPTEMBER 2013

delivers the line to Judge Elihu Smails (portrayed by the late Ted Knight) in an iconic scene from an upscale country club. “Pace-of-play has been an issue for decades; but it has now become one of the most significant threats to the game’s health,” said Glen Nager, USGA president. “Five-hour-plus rounds of golf are incompatible with modern life. Beyond the time involved, poor pace-of-play saps the fun from the game, frustrates players and discourages future play.” He noted that a recent study by the NGF found that 91 percent of serious golfers reported that they were bothered by slow play and said that it detracts from their golf experience. More than 70 percent said they believed that pace-of-play has worsened over time; and half admitted to walking off a course due to frustration over a marathon round. “As these numbers demonstrate, the golf community needs to act now more than ever to address pace-of-play issues,” said Nager. Other steps being taken to solve the issue is an ambitious project being undertaken by the USGA’s Research and Test

Center to qualify what specifically impacts the pace-of-play, whether course design, course set-up and operations, as well as golfers themselves. Nager said it is “already yielding valuable information that will bring focus to the industry’s efforts to improve pace-of-play.” Partnerships and coalitions with the R&A, PGA Tour, LPGA and others to address pace-of-play are being formed to unify the approach to speed up play. In May, Golf Digest, together with the USGA and The PGA of America, launched the Nine Is Fine initiative – a program to encourage and promote nine-hole rounds as a complete, fun golf experience. The new campaign is expected to support the goal of aggressively raising awareness among golfers and golf facility managers about pace-of-play issues, and to provide accurate, practical information that offers potential solutions. An all-star cast in the 30-second spots is drawing attention to the tongue-in-cheek promotion. One features Arnold Palmer uttering the “When we’re young” line to a slow-playing Clint Eastwood - adding, "please" after a menacing look from Eastwood. Kids shout the line to Tiger Woods when he takes too long on a miniature golf course. “Ultimately, it is our hope that this campaign will help create a new golfing culture – one in which the community unites behind a common appreciation of the importance of pace-of-play to the health of the game; a true understanding of the integrated system of factors that determines pace-of-play on the golf course; and a commitment to employing best practices so that a better pace-of-play becomes integral to the game,” said Nager. “The time for this shared call to action has come; let’s fix pace-of-play ‘While We’re Young.’” ■

TIA Participation Report Tennis participation increased overall in 2012 accounting for 70 percent of total annual tennis expenditures. By Thomas J. Ryan and Neil Schwartz


s an industry, we've set a goal of 10 million frequent players by 2020, which we estimate will have a nearly $4 billion economic impact on the tennis industry,” said Jolyn de Boer, executive director, TIA. De Boer said, 10 and Under Tennis and its retailer initiatives are all supporting increased play. “The 10 and Under Tennis initiative has been huge, and has led to boosts in youth tennis participation, youth racquet sales and sales of the red, orange and green lower pressure balls,” said de Boer. “With 10 and Under Tennis, kids play - and have fun - on shorter courts, with shorter racquets and lower bouncing balls.”, which the TIA manages and recently relaunched, is a central consumer portal designed to make it easier for people to play tennis, and to play more frequently. Players can search for and connect with not only other players, but also with tennis facilities, teaching pros, and retailers. Teaching pros and facilities can promote their events programming, lessons, clinics, court availability, etc. “It's a valuable resource for anyone, at any level, looking for more information about tennis in general, including how to get into (or back into) the game, equipment, instruction and health information,” said de Boer. “And, it's all free to both consumers and tennis providers.”

Finally, the TIA is working with retailers on the beginning stages of a "Tennis TuneUp" campaign, designed to bring consumers in to tennis specialty stores to buy new equipment, get their racquets restrung more frequently, and generally help move tennis products at retail. The TIA also is helping to facilitate a Retail Division, to give tennis specialty retailers a bigger voice in this industry, since local retailers can support play at the grassroots level. A Retail Certification course, designed to help educate tennis retailers and their staff so they can better reach the consumer and run their businesses as efficiently, and profitably, as possible, is also being developed. Overall, TIA said the healthy outlook for tennis has been because all participants have unified their approaches over the years, which he considers unique among sports. She added, “Years ago all industry stakeholders realized the need to work together to grow participation, so that everyone benefits. That's a unique aspect of the TIA - we help bring all of these stakeholders together and we all work together in a spirit of cooperation to grow the game.” ■ SPORTSONESOURCE.COM



Electronics Continue Their March Forward By Aaron Bible


ome surly, old school outdoors folks have a trepidatious attitude toward electronics, especially in the backcountry. But upon deep inspection, the entire progression of our industry, of our lives for that matter, is inextricably linked to technological innovations, from better ski bindings to delicious freeze-dried foods and lightweight packs. Sure, electronics require power to be effective, but we’ve got solutions for that, too. Following is a look at some top electronics and gadget-related products for Spring 2014.

Pictured left: Drycase Waterproof Backpack includes a purge valve to inflate/compress the pack, waterproof 30L main compartment, internal zippered waterproof pocket, front mesh pocket, side water bottle holder, bungee cords, padded shoulder straps and back support.


The smallest GPS watch on the market, the Soleus GPS Mini is lightweight with a low profile design, yet still easy to read. The highly functional GPS Mini is available in four fashion-forward colors, which makes you want to Soleus GPS mini keep it on even after your workout. The Soleus GPS Mini records speed, distance and pace. Charge and upload via integrated USB; features include 100-lap memory, automatic lap splits, calorie counter, four-button user interface and a customizable display viewing. The Suunto GPS Track POD stores and tracks speed, distance and GPS altitude data while you explore new territories, race or train. You can also connect it with selected Suunto heart rate monitors for real time distance and highly responsive speedreadings for your outdoor activities using Suunto FusedSpeed. Suunto GPS Track POD Rechargeable, lithium-ion battery features up to 100 hours battery life with 60 second recording interval or 15 hours battery life with 1 second recording interval. Water resistant to 30m/100 ft. (ISO 22810). Unit is small and lightweight (35g/1.2 oz.) with versatile attachment options. Features interference-free Suunto ANT Transmission Technology and is compatible with

Trimble Outdoors Topo Maps SD cards and TopoCharger.

maps in 15 zoom levels (1:250K to 1:24K). SD cards are available for every state except Alaska at press time. The TopoCharger supercharges iPhones in two ways. It comes pre-loaded with full-color statewide topo maps in 15 zoom levels (1:250K to 1:24K). And, the built-in 1440 mAh battery doubles the phone's battery life. The three-ounce case also includes the Trimble Outdoors Navigator app to guide you in the field.

Magellan introduced a new seven-inch RoadMate GPS unit for RVs featuring special safety, convenience and trip-planning features for RV travelers and towers. Pre-loaded RV resources include vehicle profiles, campground directories, dump and fueling stations, and Geotag navigation. The new Bluetooth Smart-enabled Echo watch allows users to control smartphone apps such as GPS, music and exercise trackers from the wrist while the phone is tucked safely away. Much like your phone, just tap the screen to page through the function screens. It uses an open platform to stay up to date with app developments. Magellan RoadMate GPS Magellan Echo watch

Brunton’s Hydrogen Reactor

Brunton’s Hydrogen Reactor is a portable fuel cell device that combines hydrogen and oxygen to produce electricity. Users lock a Hydrogen Core (1000 charges) into the Reactor fuel cell. The solid-state hydrogen mixes with oxygen from the air to form water vapor and electricity. The solid-state hydrogen has no toxic chemicals and doesn’t suffer from natural discharge like batteries, making it ideal for long stretches without power. The Reactor has standard USB output and is optimized to power tablets, smart phones, UV water purifiers, re-chargeable lights, GPS transceivers and other personal devices. Trimble Outdoors is a GPS company with mobile apps and a desktop trip planner. They are offering two new products: Topo Maps SD cards and the TopoCharger. The Topo Maps feature SD cards that provide outdoors enthusiast with instant access to topographic maps in Android phones and tablets. The plug-andplay memory cards work off the grid and include full-color topo

Garmin Virb and Virb Elite POV camera

The Garmin Virb and Virb Elite POV camera is a firstin-class GPS product that tracks altitude and speed while recording adventures in HD. The machine tracks motion data in six ways including heart rate, acceleration, altitude and GPS. It is waterproof and protected from drops without a case. An innovative screen uses



ambient light instead of backlight to save batteries. Units feature WiFi and Ant+ signal transfer and can also be controlled by a different Garmin unit such as the company’s Fenix sports watch or Edge bike computer. The MIO Alpha is the first performance-level, continuous heart rate monitor sport watch without a chest strap. The entire system of the Alpha is housed within the watch and has proven accurate up to running speeds MIO Alpha of 14mph, though it's perfect for any fitness activity. The Alpha also uses Bluetooth technology to connect with your smartphone as you train, allowing you to track results with your favorite fitness app. Portable solar pioneer Goal Zero introduced its Lighthouse 250 Lantern and USB Power Hub at Outdoor Retailer, and the solar powered Eddie Bauer Katabatic 2 Tent. The 250- lumen Lighthouse provides up to 48 hours of LED light on a single charge. Adventurers can power the lantern via USB or with the integrated hand crank in the field. Lighthouse douGoal Zero Lighthouse bles as a recharger to power mobile 250 Lantern devices. The new lantern can also be charged with one of Goal Zero’s solar panels such as the 18-watt monocrystaline, weather-resistant panel supported by Eddie Bauer’s new Katabatic 2 tent. Snocru, a leading digital app development company based in Park City, UT, makes a free mobile app that allows skiers and snowboarders to see and connect with each other on the mountain in real time, and released new updates for the 2013/2014 season. The inapp Leaderboard tracks vertical feet, speed, run total and check-ins and allows international users to compete to ski and ride the most vertical feet. Other updates for Snocru in 2013 are: overhauled tracking to deliver service Snocru when no cell connection is available; track day on a resort's detail screen; general bug fixes and performance optimizations. Riders can find friends on the hill, view global snow forecasts, track their day on the mountain, find local restaurants, ATMs and even hospitals, available for both iPhone and Android phones.


Outdoor Technology Safe 5

Outdoor Technology Privates

Outdoor Technology Buckshot

Outdoor Technology, player in rugged outdoor wireless audio, launched three innovative products at Outdoor Retailer. The Buckshot water resistant, portable speakers that pairs with any Bluetooth device and includes a built-in speakerphone and microphone for hands-free calls and mount for a bicycle, golf cart or baby stroller. The Safe 5 makes an iPhone 5 waterproof and has an IPX-7 level rating. The phone maintains full usability and a rubber coating on the case’s front improves grip. The Privates stream clear audio for a range of up to 32 feet for 10 hours on a single charge. Fully wireless and portable, it connects with your smartphone, tablet, laptop or other Bluetooth-enabled device, and operate via a touch pad on the right earpiece. iOauto

The iOauto and iOauto Pro are magnetic, universal car mounts for phones, GPS units, and small tablets that allow you to rotate your device in any direction. They rely on the patent-pending iOmounts magnetic system, which offers complete rotational adjustment, a sleek modern design, is cordless, and safe to use with all devices. A razor thin steel disc, the iOadapt, attaches to your device and a vehicle-specific dashboard mount from ProClip snaps to your dashboard in seconds. ■


Reaching the most connected, best iNformed, and highest caliber professionals in the ACTIVE LIFESTYLE MARKET

FREE ACCESS to the latest job listings Contact Jeremy Freed at 303.997.7302 or email


Insoles Step Up

While athletic shoe technology has advanced relentlessly, insole makers have been there every step of the way. By Thomas J. Ryan


ith the marketplace seeing a shift away from the ‘barefoot’ or minimal shoes and a move to more cushioning, support and impact protection, insole makers stand to benefit. “The shift away from minimalist footwear is a positive for Sof Sole, as our business for over 20 years has been to improve comfort and performance of all footwear with insoles for any activity,” said Kurt Wineman, SVP of sales, Sof Sole. “The depth of our product line allows us to remain a consistent player across a variety of trends and footwear categories.” “More and more active consumers are asking for a way to add cushioning, impact-shock protection and pain relief to their workouts,” added David Church, president of Sorbothane. “Whether walking, running or standing - they are looking for a natural insole that will support and cradle their foot in comfort and provide a layer of impact protection.” Jeff Antonioli, global sales director at Spenco Medical Corp, believes many retailers have been more greatly investing in the insoles category in recent years because of the category’s healthy margins. But he also feels the minimal movement has drawn consumers to the category because they’ve become more knowledgeable about foot health. Spenco has found an audience for its Total Support Thin collection, released last year, given the wide acceptance of low-profile shoes in the marketplace as well as many athletes looking for semi-flexible support as part of their activities. “They’re still looking to thinner, lighter insoles even though it may now be used more than just minimalist shoes,” said Antonioli. At the same time, he believes the minimal movement has also been positive for Spenco’s original Total Support insole offering featuring semi-rigid orthotic arch support as well as its Total Support Max, an even-more rigid version that came out at the same time as the Thin collection because some runners are recognizing they need support. He expects ongoing interest around natural running to also support the overall insoles category. “The minimal movement may be slowing but that’s not going to stop runners’ interest in achieving a natural gait or running in grass and sand or looking for other ways to improve their foot health,” said Antonioli. “The movement has helped many realize how insoles support healthy feet. We can promote that entire line of foot health for someone who wants to let their foot relax more naturally while also offering semi rigid to rigid insoles to others looking for more support.”

Spenco is building on its partnership with the Ironman series with the launch of the Race & Train series featuring a lightweight shell for optimal performance on race day but is also supportive to use as a training tool. Said Antonioli, “For Train we beefed up everything for the ideal training Spenco Race & Train series insole. We still use a cooling top for both so it’s great barefoot running or socked. Both use a proprietary faceted cradle design that increases rigidity while shedding weight." Sof Sole recently unveiled the Thin Fit, the thinnest and lightest insole made by Sof Sole, weighing just 1.3 ounces. Designed with a lightweight, flexible foam that conforms to the foot and promotes a natural stride, the Thin Fit insole offers increased cushioning in the Sof Sole Thin Fit heel and forefoot for enhanced shock absorption upon impact. “Sof Sole is seeing a rising need for cushioning within training and cleat footwear,” said Wineman. “Since many of those shoes feature liners that can’t be removed, our new Thin Fit product fits easily on top of existing liners to improve the performance and comfort of footwear. The flexible foam conforms to and moves with the foot, and Coolmax fiber in the top cover wicks away moisture.”Microban treatment also helps prevent growth of odor-causing bacteria. The Thin Fit’s low-profile design fits in most footwear and is ideal for additional comfort in cleats, basketball shoes, training, casual and running footwear. Sof Sole’s other new insole, the Plantar Fasciitis is a longlasting and comfortable solution for pain resulting from stress placed on the plantar fascia. A Plantar Relief Bridge provides sturdy relief to painful arches, while the heel cup offers motion control and stability. Gel in the heel provides targeted cushioning and pain relief from potential heel spurs. The three-quarter length Sof Sole design allows it to fit into any type Plantar Fasciitis of footwear. Heralding it as the brand’s most innovative performance product in more than 35 years, Superfeet in Spring 2014 is introducing the Carbon collection that directly addresses the minimal running movement. The Carbon utilizes new materials; the most noteworthy is the carbon fiber-reinforced heel cap. The Carbon

insole is the thinnest in Superfeet’s collection, and the proprietary blend of materials, EvoLyte, makes it the strongest heel cap. Carbon’s distinct biomechanical shape and low-volume design can help improve the fit and feel of tight-fitting, lightweight athletic footwear.

Superfeet Carbon collection

“A higher density foam allows the insoles to continue to be incredibly thin so it fits in low-profile minimal shoes but still gives some forefront cushion,” said Ellen Harwick, communications manager at Superfeet. Harwick also said that while the slowdown of FiveFingers showed that minimalism “is not for everybody,” Superfeet still found “there is something to the minimalist movement.” She added, “The Carbon maintains what it is an athlete is looking for in that minimal shoe - lightweight, really feeling the ground - but still needing a little bit of support and help to allow your foot to do what it should do.” Harwick said the whole minimalist movement continues to help Superfeet because it has led to many conversations around how the foot works. “It’s opened up the dialogue and our retail partners have been helping us explain how insoles work in general,” said Harwick. “And if Superfeet is not for you, it’s not for you obviously. But so many people benefit from having some support. And it’s put us in the spotlight all of the sudden with foot health being such a hot topic. Shock Doctor, which entered the insoles category in January 2013, is adding its first three-quarter-length insole with the Active Trim-Free Insole. “Shorter insoles have been around for years,” said Jason Richter, Shock Doctor’s product marketing director. “The big benefit is that they can be used where a full length insole can’t be used due to low

Shock Doctor Active Trim-Free Insole

volume shoes (casual shoes, boots, etc.) or for someone who just wants to slip them in and go. We decided to enter this segment because we wanted to give all athletes an option for any type of footwear they could be using.” Providing the same benefits as the advanced full-length insoles, the super thin insole, which weighs less than 1.5 ounces, locks the heel in place and stabilizes the foot and can be used to help reduce heel and plantar fasciitis pain. With Adaptive Arch Technology, which adapts to any foot shape for perfect fit, and natural shock absorption, the insole also features a biomechanical contoured design that cradles the foot for comfort and support. Richter said that besides lightweight, seamless construction and flexibility, the new trends for insoles are efficiency and maximizing energy. In addition to preventing pain and joint fatigue, insoles can also provide comfort and help shoes to fit more securely. “Long distance runners like our Active Impact Insole, which is specifically engineered for longer runs and hikes on harder surfaces, placing less stress on your joints,” noted Richter. “Not all runners are into long distance though, so we’ve created options for them as well with the Active Performance Insole, which provides comfort and support, stabilizes the foot, absorbs impact for those who like to run, hike or train. We also have an insole for the allaround athlete called the Active Ultra Insole that provides full foot alignment, stability, support and maximum shock absorption. Aetrex is introducing the Lynco Orthotics - 400 Series Sport, which features an advanced Lynco arch support to comfortably balance the feet and provide proper body alignment. The insole also features a Pro-Shox center layer for comfort and



shock attenuation and an AeroCell polyurethane core for support and shape retention. A soft, CopperGuard top cover made from stateof-the-art copper fibers helps prevent bacteria, Aetrex Lynco Orthotics - 400 fungi and odor. Series Sport Hadas Cohen, senior marketing manager, Aetrex Worldwide, finds consumers are willing to pay to achieve greater customized comfort and performance by also fitting the inside of their footwear to their unique arch type and pressure points. Lynco orthotics are available in different configurations, each designed to meet the needs of different foot types. Cohen noted that Aetrex’s orthotic sales have grown significantly over the last few years. Said Cohen, “The strong and consistent growth of Aetrex insole sales during this period suggests that minimalist wearers also appreciate the comfort and performance benefits which come with customizing the inside of their athletic footwear with orthotics.”

Hickory Brands Flat Motion Control Insole

Under its New Balance license, Hickory Brands offers Motion Control Insole and Supportive Cushioning Insole. They include most of the same features and benefits including Abzorb Cushioning, an anti-blister top cover, metatarsal arch rise, arch support and an extra deep heel cup. The difference in these two insoles is that the Motion Control has an external arch support, which is more rigid. The Supportive Cushioning has an arch support that is built up slightly higher than the arch in the Motion Control, but is more flexible, and with the extra deep heel provides additional stability.

Sole recently partnered with 3M on its new Insulated Footbed Series. Designed for low-to-high volume footwear like winter, hiking and work boots, the series comes in three thicknesses ranging from no cushion (Signature CD Thin), 1.6mm of Softec cushion (Insulated Response); to 3.2mm or Softec cushion (Insulated Ultra). The line features 400 gram 3M Thinsulation insulation for warmth. Mike Baker, president and CEO of Sole, said the collection offers 23 percent more insulation compared to its Softec Footbed series. Sole Signature CD Thin The orthopedic shape equalizes pressure distribution, reduces plantar fascia strain an average of 34 percent, increases balance and feel, and Hickory Brands has branched well beyond its shoelace roots with improves the heels natural cushioning. Sole Custom Footbeds can be wear-molded or both its Ten Seconds collection, which are popular among profesheat-molded in the oven up to five sional teams and colleges; as well as its licensing partnership with times for fit and support. New Balance over the last eight years. Baker said Sole is finding success with its Signature Series Custom Footbed line. The insulated Signature CD Thin was designed in collaboration with Sole sponsored athlete Chris Davenport, the renowned big mountain skier. Similar to other Hickory Brands Three-Quarter Air2

Hickory Brands Arch 1000

With a focus on cushion and support, Ten Seconds insoles focused on the run include the Three-Quarter Air2, Arch 1000, Arch 2000, and Flat Foot Sport. The Air2 Insole allows the shoe to remain lightweight while providing cushioning where there is little to no insole in the shoe. The Arch 1000 and 2000 include Poron for shock absorption and cushioning, arch support using a DuPont Hytrel indestructible plate and also found in the Arch 2000, an extra layer Hickory Brands Arch 2000

Hickory Brands Flat Foot Sport

of Polyurethane Foam for added cushioning. The Flat Foot Sport provides people with low arches or flat feet, who have been forced to live with foot, ankle, knee, hip and lower back pain, to no longer have to endure painful standing, walking, or running experiences.


Sole Insulated Response

Sole Insulated Ultra

Signature Series collaborations around the Ed Viesters Ultra and the Dean Karnazes Response, the CD Thin has also become part of Sole’s philanthropy program. A dollar from the sale of each pair of CD Thins sold is goes directly to Protect Our Winters, a charity dedicated to the fight against climate change picked by Davenport. As of the Outdoor Retailer Summer Show this past August, the Ed Viesters Ultra collection had raised $142,000 for Big City Mountaineers while the Dean Karnazes Response had raised $130,000 for Karno Kids. “The Signature Series Footbeds are popular not just for their added features such as ventilation and anti-odor treatment, they also represent the social conscience of the brand,” said Baker. “Social entrepreneurship has been part of our business since day one; these footbeds extend our philanthropic reach in ways we couldn’t imagine otherwise.” For Spring 2014, Sorbothane is introducing the Ultra Graphite Arch with high arch support that was developed directly from customer input. “Active insole users requested a comfortable and supportive insole that would incorporate a proven design concept, impact shock protection, lightweight heel-to-toe cushioning, a higher arch support and energy return in the forefoot,” said Church. The Ultra Graphite Arch features a Sorbothane Heel Insert, which absorbs up to 94.7 percent of impact shock, reducing Sorbothane Ultra Graphite Arch impact-related injuries, relieving pain and providing cushioning comfort. A lightweight base layer cradles the foot in natural air-infused comfort. The High Graphite Arch provides support and stability in a composite high arch design while a Gel Forefoot Energy Pad delivers energy return and comfort upon absorbing impact. FootBalance, which offers a 100 percent custom molded option, is seeing a need for a more objective foot and/or gait analysis in the insole category. Through its in-store podoscopes, the FootBalance

FootBalance Performance

FootBalance Dynamic Blue

analysis and molding of the insoles combined take under ten minutes from start to finish. Earlier this year, it rolled out homemoldable footbeds. “Consumers like to be educated about their posture, gait, anatomy and individual needs,” said Christopher Griffin, director of sales,

FootBalance Systems. “Many retailers and consumers have accepted and benefitted from our analysis. We are finding that an educated/informed consumer is an active purchaser and that benefits us all whether on a retail, supplier or consumer level.” Griffin said FootBalance’s collection, promotes natural flex with support, function and comfort, have fit well inside the minimal trend. Its footbeds offer additional arch support and alignment for traditional running shoe models. Added Griffin, “On the flip side, run-specialty is finding that our footbeds are thin and offer a natural flex pattern, which compliments the natural movement of the foot and works very well with barefoot/minimal footwear models.” The core offering for FootBalance continues to be the Dynamic Blue, its most popular footbed among European customers that offers all-around performance and comfort for multiple sports and activities. For those looking for light support, the Performance is designed for tight, low-volume footwear such as cycling shoes, spikes, soccer shoes, skates, minimalist and natural running footwear. Powerstep’s Pulse Performance Orthotics, available exclusively to specialty retailers and made in the U.S., were designed for use in advanced athletic shoes to enhance the structure and stability of the foot during rigorous athletic activities such as running. Today’s runners are savvy consumers. They are increasingly more educated on current trends and latest advances in

Powerstep Pulse Performance Orthotics

footwear. “Powerstep orthotic supports go beyond typical insoles - they support and cushion the foot and arch using a supportive plastic shell encapsulated with comfortable cushioning foam,” said Ben Appel, general manager, Powerstep. “The Powerstep Pulse has bold, vibrant colors,

complementing the current trend in running shoes and apparel, without sacrificing foot-support features vital to relieving foot and heel pain.” Appel said that while barefoot or minimal styles boast a more natural step, users must consider that modern hardened surfaces, such as pavement, may lead to increased injury or discomfort. He added, “A shift from barefoot/minimal models to more cushioning may be a direct effect of this trauma. We have always developed orthotic supports that supply enough foot control to help prevent repetitive injuries, yet are flexible enough for the foot to function more naturally.” Icebug ArchFlex SlimSport

Icebug, Swedish shoe brand known for its built-in carbide stud traction cleats, is bringing its ArchFlex Insoles to North America. Designed by Ortolab AB, the leading Scandinavian orthopedics lab, every ArchFlex Insole is built on their proprietary, patented shape. The dynamic support means the natural movement of the arches is not blocked, instead they offer the proper amount of support throughout the entire gait, supporting the arches even when the full body weight is over the foot. Both the ArchFlex Premier and the ArchFlex SlimSport are available in three arch heights (low, medium and high) for an intimate fit to the foot, as opposed to the typical “one arch height fits all” style found in the majority of insoles currently on the market. The Slimsport features 2mm of cushioning. The footbeds are made with multi-layered materials that are designed to add support and comfort to the foot.“They’re designed to work seamlessly with any footwear, from trail runners to soccer cleats to dress shoes,” said Evan Wert, North American director of sales and marketing for Icebug. ■



Biomechanical Sandals Arrive Insole suppliers are bringing maximum comfort and support to Sandal's category By Thomas J. Ryan

In recent years, traditional insoles providers have found quick success branching out into sandals as well as other footwear categories. Often positioned as recovery tools for cooling down after a workout, sandals and flip flops have become popular at running and outdoor specialty stores. But with people wearing them far beyond the beach for more occasions and even throughout the year, the bigger opportunity is replacing the unhealthy options for consumers in the category with footbeds that offer greater biomechanical support. Spenco launched a limited line of sandals three years ago – a black and brown for men and black and pink for women. With a launch price of $40, the high value made it a blow out item. “You could buy a sandal with orthotic benefits for the same price as many guys are selling insoles,” said Jeff Antonioli, global sales director at Spenco Medical Corp. Its basic sandal lineup, now priced at $50, continues to do well and has been amplified with the addition of many colors. Overall, Spenco’s footwear collection has been expanded to about 100 colors and styles, including a slide that has been “incredibly well received,” said Antonioli.


Drawing on their 45 years of experience in designing insoles and insole delivering close to 200 million units, all Spenco footwear incorporates a cushioned heel, deep heel cup, orthotic arch support, metatarsal dome, and a cushioned forefoot. Unlike other footwear that claims orthotic benefits, Spenco offers an initial soft feel and instant comfort, carrying the tagline, “The Shape That Feels Great." Beyond color, Spenco’s footwear lineup continues to expand with canvas, suede and leather uppers as well as more fashionable takes such as floral and quilted designs and mesh treatments. Many have aggressive outsoles to avoid slippage as well as microfleece lining to enhance comfort. A Mary Jane incorporates a lightweight compression molded EVA footbed. An ankle-length Chukka boot features a full-grain leather upper and padded tongue. The Supreme Slipper features premium suede upper complemented by faux shearling. Antonioli said Spenco’s footwear line works as a recovery shoe but also

addresses the support lacking in many everyday shoes. “It’s a lot of the very casual looks people are wearing all the time but it also packs our footbed to cushion and cradle the foot on the inside,” he added. Superfeet moved into the sandal category in 2011, although it’s specifically doing flip-flops. “The reason for that is because flip flops in general are really bad for your feet,” said Ellen Harwick, communications manager at Superfeet. “There are a lot of studies scientists have put out that urge people to stay away from flip flops but they are wildly popular. Even in the middle of winter, snowboards and skiers take off their boots and they put on flip-flops by the fire in the lodge. So we put an orthotic in a flip flop and they’re incredibly comfortable.” Superfeet also believes its flip flop line, FLP, filled a gap in the footwear industry that had widened as companies have produced more sport-specific footwear but weren’t offering supportive options for post-activity or ‘play time.’ The FLP features a built-in three-quarter length Superfeet orthotic that reduces pronation combined with advanced shock absorption and torsional rigidity. The forefoot flex groove ensures precision gait function and the 4-way stretch strap technology helps hug the foot and reduces hot spots.

"The Shape That Feels Great" Spenco’s footwear line works as a recovery shoe but also addresses the support lacking in many everyday shoes. “It’s a lot of the very casual looks people are wearing all the time but it also packs our footbed to cushion and cradle the foot on the inside." - Jeff Antonioli, global sales director at Spenco Medical Corp.

Spenco Siesta Slide

Spenco Crystal Superfeet FLP2

For Spring 2014, an upgrade arrives with the FLP2. The heel lift is removed after Superfeet’s designers realized the lift was unnecessary and was leading to a “real bulky sandal,” according to Harwick. The FLP2 also features a new footbed. But the most noticeable difference is that the strap material now features neoprene that makes it soft to the touch while also allowing Superfeet’s designers to add more color pop to its women’s styles. Harwick said the sandal collection has done well at run specialty and are dedicated to making sure they’re giving their

Spenco Brooke

Spenco Seabrook

customers a foot-healthy product. Said Harwick, “Once they realize they can get the same comfort they’ve come to expect from their running shoes with a sandal from Superfeet, they’re on board.” Sole jumped into the sandal category about five years ago. “It was a natural next step given the success we’ve had with our Footbeds and what we’ve learned about foot comfort,” said Mike Baker, president and CEO of Sole. He also said loyal fans of Sole’s Footbeds wanted to wear Sole all the time and “since we can’t put our Footbeds onto a sandal as an aftermarket option, we built our Footbed into the platform of our Flips.” The sandals feature a wear-moldable orthopedic platform for customized support, a feature Sole has patented with a supportive arch, deep heel cup that promotes the foot’s natural cushioning and a metatarsal pad that lifts and supports the ball of the foot. The sandal line ranges from the Sports Flip and Sports Slide to the Cork Flip, featuring a cork-wrapped footbed. Sole also offers premium flips featuring full grain leather straps, leather-wrapped footbeds, cork and leather details. Also joining Sole’s footwear lineup over the years are winter booties, an after-sport boot, and knee-length, full-grain leather boots for women. Sole also makes footwear, specifically the Steady, for healthcare and food service industries. For Spring 2014, Sole will add the Navigate, a sports sandal featuring a customizable EVA footbed with a rugged outsole designed to handle trekking, water travel and other more aggressive activities. It features the orthopedic shape of the Flip with an ankle strap for a secure fit for walking, hiking or everyday wear. Adjustable straps support easy-on, easy-off access. Baker said the line came about after Sole heard from customers who were fans of Sole footbeds but just didn’t like wearing flip-flops. Said Baker, “We’ve had people asking for this for a long time so we’re glad we got that dialed in and ready.” Overall, Baker said the market is crowded with sandal options but few have an orthopedic shape in the midsole to maximize comfort. Added Baker, “When



Sole Navigate

you try it on, you immediately recognize the difference versus another sandal brand.” FootBalance recently entered the sandal category with the launch of what it claims to be the first sandal to be 100 percent custom molded to make each sandal unique for each individual. The Henrik for men and Hilkka for women, are molded on-site at retailer locations in fewer than 15 minutes, as part of the FootBalance Recommendation System. The system also provides users with a foot analysis and report. The sandals feature a dynamic arch support, flexible toe-off, rounded heel cup to reduce impact and guide toward natural motion, an EVA horseshoe for stability and the FootBalance Pet-G Balance Plate in a U-shape. Superfeet Henrik


“When our R&D department came up with this, we knew the sandals had to be heated and molded the same way as our footbeds, and the end result should reflect our idea about dynamic support, better foot alignment and natural movement,” said Hilkka Liponkoski, FootBalance global brand and marketing director. “With these angles in mind, we created a product that separates us from the competitors in the field of flipflop sandals and gave us the chance to enter the footwear market.” In the Henrik and Hilkka, FootBalance’s balance plate is modified to a U-shape to allow adding a Poron XRD insert to the heel for comfort and softer feel. Aetrex, founded in 1946 as a specialist over-the-counter arch supports, went into the footwear business when we came out with its first Ambulatory shoe. It now distributes manufactures casual, dress, sandal, and athletic and therapeutic footwear for both men and women in comfort and wellness category. Aetrex RX "The great thing is that we can transfer the Runners Aetrex experience to non-Aetrex footwear with our orthotics that include the “healthy 3” that are built in most of our footwear," Hadas Cohen, senior marketing manager, Aetrex. “And for Aetrex footwear, our orthotics offer an upgrade providing comfort and wellness. Both categories complement each other and achieve optimal results when used together. A good orthotic will not be very beneficial in a poorly designed shoe.” A particular focus in recent years for Aetrex has been running. The RX Runners features 10 mm of technologically advanced Visco Polymer Fat Pad for shock attenuation. Includes a Heel Cradle Midsole with unique horeshoe design and Gateway External Heel Counter for rearfoot stability and extra support. ■

®Registered and ™Trademark of Spenco Medical Corporation. ©2013 SMC. All Rights Reserved

Healthy feet equals a healthy body. Improper foot alignment can cause pain in your feet, knees and lower back, during and after your workouts. Spenco® TOTAL SUPPORT™ Insoles align, support and cushion your feet through every phase of your foot strike, helping to relieve pain and allowing you to train longer. Available in three formats to fit every foot.

For more info or to request a sample, call 1-800-877-3626 or visit

SOS Research

Pulse of the Outdoor Consumer A Market Insight Study

By Julie Arnett and Neil Schwartz

In June 2013, The SportsOneSource Group conducted a nationwide online survey to determine the shopping habits of active outdoor consumers. A total of 2,503 respondents, ages 18 and older took part in the survey. The respondents were obtained from one of the nation’s leading consumer research panels, which are maintained to be representative of the U.S. population ages 18 and older. As of 2012, the U.S. Census Bureau estimates 240.1 million people ages 18 years and older are living in the U.S. The 2013


Pulse of the Outdoor Consumer Study survey sample size of 2,503 completed interviews provides a high degree of statistical accuracy and only includes respondents who participated in one of 24 outdoor activities or sports at least one time during the previous 12 months. The margin of error has been calculated at +/- 1.96 with a confidence interval of 95 percent. Survey respondents were asked to provide their up-to-date shopping habits and behavior for outdoor footwear, apparel, and equipment.

Executive Summary The Pulse of the Outdoor Consumer, a market insight study, produced by The SportsOneSource Group, is designed to provide a more detailed understanding of the changing retail shopping habits of the nation’s outdoor consumers. As the outdoor consumer, much like the general U.S. consumer, continues to return to many of the participation and purchasing patterns seen pre-recession, the retail landscape has changed in many ways. The study shows in detail how consumers have changed their retail shopping habits when it comes to their consumption of outdoor footwear, apparel, and equipment. Consumers are engaged in what many call the “omni-channel” shopping experience. Simply put, consumers expect a seamless experience between a retailer’s or manufacturer’s website, blogs, message boards, and brick & mortar retail locations. They want what they want, when they want it, and how and where they want to get it. The study also shows that outdoor consumers are more engaged than the general population to use their mobile devices, like smartphones and tablets, to engage in product research and purchasing. Outdoor consumers are also very savvy to “showrooming” and are actively engaged in this type of shopping for researching products at traditional brick & mortar locations, but then go online using their computers, tablets, and smartphones to make the actual purchase. Outdoor consumers are also engaged in “reverse showrooming,” where by consumers use the Internet to do their research but still visit traditional brick & mortar stores to make their purchases. Finally, the study takes an in-depth look at the Millennial or Gen-Y consumer. The Millennials represent the next power generation of outdoor consumer but as the industry continues to struggle with engaging this group using more traditional marketing and retailing experiences. KEY FindingS Activities that survey respondents were most likely to participate in were day hiking (53 percent of respondents had taken a day hiking trip at least once in the last 12 months) and freshwater, saltwater, or ice fishing (39 percent had fished at least once). Other top activities included road cycling, trail running, RV camping, and hunting (each with at least 20 percent participation). All survey respondents made at least one outdoor apparel, footwear, or equipment purchase in the last 12 months. Day hiking was the activity respondents were most likely to have made an apparel or footwear purchase for over the last year, while equipment was most likely to be purchased for fishing. More than half of respondents made all of their recent outdoor purchases at a physical retail store (56 percent of purchases), while 16 percent made all their purchases online, and 29 percent made purchases both at retail stores and online. The personal (family) economic or employment position of the respondent and weather conditions were the most influential in the purchasing decisions of outdoor-related products over the last 12 months,

with more than half of respondents indicating that each of these were “extremely influential” (ratings of 8-to-10 on a 0-to-10 scale). Less influential were the national/regional economy and political environment. Approximately one-third of respondents indicated that their personal economic or employment situation had improved over the last 12 months, while about two-thirds of respondents have a positive outlook on their personal economic or employment situation for the coming year. More than half of respondents indicated that their spending on outdoor-related products did not change over the last 12 months. However, 23 percent spent less on footwear, 27 percent spent less on apparel, and 31 percent spent less on equipment. Looking forward, fewer respondents indicated they will spend less on outdoor apparel, footwear, and equipment than last year (between 16 and 22 percent for each category), and each had slightly increased proportions who plan to spend more. When deciding which retailer to visit for their outdoor product purchases over the last 12 months and deciding which products to purchase, value and quality of products was most important in the respondents’ decisions. Overall, 22 percent of respondents purchased used outdoor products from an individual and 46 percent have purchased used products from a retailer in the past 12 months. Younger respondents were significantly more likely than older respondents to purchase used outdoor products. Respondents overall indicated that they have made fewer purchases at brand stores rather than regular multi-brand retail stores in the last 12 months than prior years. However, Generation Y respondents, or Millennials, have purchased more at brand stores over the last year than they did in the past. The Internet was the most frequently used option when respondents researched outdoor-related products (almost 70 percent of respondents used it “frequently” or “always”). Generation Y respondents were more likely to use each research option more frequently to research outdoor products than Generation X and Baby Boomers. When asked which devices they use to make purchases online, respondents were most likely to make purchases online on a computer (rather than on a mobile device, tablet, or mobile app). Almost half of respondents have “showroomed” (found something in a store, but made the purchase online), and indicated that their primary reason for doing so was the availability of better prices online. More than 70 percent of respondents have done the reverse, finding something online that they ultimately purchased from a store. Groupon or other coupon/deals were not very popular for outdoor activities/gear overall, but the younger the respondent, the more likely they were to have purchased/redeemed one. Almost 79 percent of all respondents use social networking sites to some extent, such as Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, forums or blogs. Approximately one-third of all respondents post regularly on social networking sites, a proportion that is significantly higher among Generation Y respondents.



Activity Participation Purchase behavior starts with participation. If outdoor participants are more engaged, it will lead to more purchase opportunities. As the Activity Participation chart shows, outdoor participants are engaged in a wide variety of activities. Day hiking is the number one participated-in activity. Day hiking provides a unique opportunity for many in that it gets them outside while also helping keep people in overall better physical condition . From a frequency standpoint, road cyclists are out on average 20 times during the course of the year. Cycling provides a great cardiovascular workout while also giving participants the option of riding alone or as part of a group. Fishing comes in second among outdoor participants in terms of activity preference. This is also reflected in higher retail sales as is being reported on the OIA VantagePoint retail point-of-sale trend reporting system. Of the bottom 10 sports in terms of overall activity participation, five of them are from the snow sports categories, likely a function of the seasonality and geographic limitations on these winter sports.

Activity Participation


Where Items Over Last 12 Months Were Purchased

Outdoor-Related Products Purchased in the Last 12 Months

Purchasing Purchase patterns are primarily dictated by what activities the respondents are engaged in currently. Looking at the chosen activities will indicate which categories of products will likely show growth. Both day hiking and trail running are the most footwear intensive in terms of the people who made purchases over the previous 12 months. Hunting and fishing, followed by RV and car camping are the largest of the categories when it comes to the purchases of equipment. Apparel purchase behavior is spread fairly evenly among all of the activities measured in this year’s survey. Activities that produce a higher level of aerobic effort have a higher rate of apparel purchases. In addition, those activities that are participated in at multiple climate and outdoor venues also produce higher than average apparel purchase behavior. Almost 29 percent of those that purchased either footwear, apparel, or equipment utilize both online and traditional brick & mortar retail in order to get the products they want. More than 55 percent of the respondents also indicated that traditional brick & mortar is still the retail channel of preference when it comes to buying the products for outdoor activity participation.



Change in Personal Economic or Employment Situation Since Spring 2012

Purchasing Influences The survey asked consumers to rank a series of micro and macro issues to better understand the specific events or situations that influenced decisions to buy outdoor products during the previous year. Data show that both the current family economic situation and the weather conditions were the two biggest influencers when it came to making purchase decisions during the past 12 months. The analysis indicates that the national events issues are not as big of an influence. When asked how their personal economic or employment situations had changed over the last year, about onethird of survey respondents indicated it had improved significantly or somewhat, but in looking forward, about two-thirds of respondents have a very or somewhat positive outlook on their personal economic or employment situations. While a higher stock market has been good for 401(k) and IRA accounts, it is discretionary income that drives people’s plans to purchase footwear, apparel and equipment.

Outlook of Personal Economic or Employment Situation Over the Next 12 Months

Influence of Macro Conditions on Purchasing Outdoor-Related Products Over the Last 12 months


Change in Spending on Outdoor-Related Products in the Last 12 Months

Purchase Intentions The Pulse of the Outdoor Consumer asked outdoor consumers a series of specific questions regarding future purchasing intentions for outdoor footwear, apparel, and equipment. The diminished variance between consumers that indicate they plan to spend more versus those that plan to spend less sends a signal that outdoor consumers are poised to increase spending as their personal financial and economic situation changes on both an individual and national level. For the past few years, there has been conjecture that consumers are holding on to their equipment longer to delay a purchase. That had extended the product lifecycle for many of the equipment categories and delayed replacement of them. Purchase behavior is greatly affected by the two leading reasons why people plan to buy more or less: weather and their personal economic situation.

Anticipated Changes in Outdoor-Related Product Spending Moving Forward



Effect of Factors When Deciding Which Product to Purchase

Website Specific factors

Influence On Purchases Aside from the macro influences that determine where an outdoor consumer chooses to shop, there are a number of perceived factors that are more intrinsic to the specific retailer when it comes to making retail choices. Best price and good value are the first and second influences, respectively, when it comes to selecting which products consumers want to buy. Outdoor consumers appear less reliant on the knowledge and recommendations of in-store assistance when it comes to selecting the products they purchase. Outdoor consumers rely rather heavily on the reviews that are posted on manufacturer and retailer Web sites. Having the right product in stock was among the top five reasons for choosing a specific brand.


Influences on Purchases by Generation Millennials are the largest generation of consumers; some 80 million individuals born after 1980 and before the early 2000's make up this young but influential demographic. Nowhere is this influence being felt more than in the retail industry. Recent research reveals that Millennials are changing the rules of brand marketing, redefining purchase habits, and revolutionizing the shopping experience. Millennials are forcing retailers to reevaluate how they attract and communicate with their consumers as they are anything but traditional when it comes to retail shopping. Millennials are more likely to purchase used recreation gear (either at a store or from an individual), are more likely to shop at brand stores, to make purchases online and on mobile devices, to showroom, to use a Groupon or online coupon/deal to purchase outdoor products, to use social networking sites, and to follow outdoor manufacturers and retailers on social networking sites. Millennials prefer to interact with retailers and brands through digital channels versus historical marketing tactics such as circulars, newspaper ads, or in-store advertisements. Millennials are more tuned in to Internet-based information sources including interaction with social media sites and blogs. Millenials also showed a higher tendency to listen to their friends, colleagues, and family members when researching outdoor-related products than older respondents.

Effect of Factors in the Decision of Which Product to Purchase Gen Y (1980-2000)


Gen X (1965-1979)

Boomers (1946-1964)



Where Consumers Are Shopping It is difficult to have a discussion about the changing rules of outdoor retailing without a visit to the subject of omnichannel shopping habits. According to survey responses, almost 30 percent of outdoor consumers are using both the Internet and traditional brick & mortar stores to purchase their outdoor-related products. Smartphone and tablet computer options have created an entirely different shopping environment for outdoor retailers and their consumers. There is no better example of these changes than the development of a new service from eBay called “eBay Now�... a new mobile iOS app and local shopping service that can deliver thousands of local products from hundreds of local retailers in San Francisco and parts of New York City, usually in about an hour. The app ties in the idea of providing valueoriented access to products with the immediate gratification of same day in-store

pickup for participating retailers. This is the ideal example of a seamless approach to online and traditional brick & mortar retailing. Full-Line Sporting Goods Stores are the number one destination for consumers when it comes to purchasing footwear, apparel, and equipment for outdoor activities. Big-Box Discount Stores are the clear second choice when it comes to purchasing equipment for outdoor activities, and to a lesser extent for footwear and apparel. Online shopping has almost the same exact consumer shopping profile as the Local Specialty Store when it comes to retail shopping choices for outdoor products. Department Stores have a higher consideration set for outdoor footwear with the outdoor consumer, while these retail outlets are not generally a primary destination choice for apparel and equipment.

Types of Stores Shopped at Most for Outdoor-Related Products


Importance of Factors in Deciding Which Retailer to Visit

Influence Of Which Retailer To Shop The survey results indicate that consumers are clearly pointing to the value proposition when determining which retailer to shop for outdoorrelated products. That does not mean consumers are always seeking the lowest prices, but that they are seeking the best products within their budgets or a certain price range. The two most important factors consumers consider when determining which retailer to visit for outdoor-related products are good value for the price and the availability of quality products. Secondarily, consumers are choosing those retailers that can fulfill the promise of instant gratification and the ability to walk out of the store with the exact product they came in to purchase. This puts a great deal of pressure on both retailers and manufacturers to understand more precisely the need to have the right product, at the right price, at the right time.



Top 25 Brand Stores

Brand Stores The growth of brand and manufacturer-operated brick & mortar stores and e-commerce sites is one of the major changes that have occurred in outdoor retail over the past six years. Survey respondents ranked the brand-owned retail stores they shop at most frequently for outdoor products. The results indicate that the destination did not need to be an outdoor brand to get a large share of the outdoor consumer’s dollars.

For both apparel and equipment, more outdoor consumers indicated they spent less (versus more) at brand stores over the last 12 months. This may work back to the data shown earlier that consumers are looking for selection and value that sometimes comes from offering a variety of brands versus the single brand focus that comes from a brand-owned store.

An almost equivalent proportion of consumers shopped at brand-operated stores more and less for outdoor footwear over the last 12 months (about 26 percent indicated they spent more and another 26 percent spent less). On a more positive note for brand stores, Millennial consumers, or younger respondents, are more likely than older respondents to shop at brand stores.

Percent of Respondents Who Shopped at Store







The North Face


Under Armour


Eddie Bauer




















Mountain Hardwear


Rocky Boots


















Change in Purchase Patterns of the Consumer on Outdoor-Related Products at Brand Stores




Online Research And Purchasing Habits As recently as 2007, the proportion of adults 18 years and older in the U.S. who own a smartphone has grown to 56 percent (up from 35 percent as short as 2 years ago), according to Pew Research. Tablet ownership has enjoyed a similar growth pattern since 2007. When looking specifically at the active outdoor consumer, device ownership is significantly higher with more than 96 percent owning a personal computer, almost 64 percent owning a smartphone, and 44 percent owning a tablet device. The rules for retail are changing for everyone but in much greater volume and velocity among the active outdoor consumers that took part in the survey. Family and friends still play a significant role in the purchase habits for outdoor consumers. A significant number of outdoor consumers totally disdain and ignore postings on social media, blogs, and message boards. Items Used to Research Outdoor-Related Products Before Purchasing

Items Used to Purchase Outdoor-Related Products



Showrooming When talking to retailers across this country, especially those that are part of the specialty channel, not a conversation occurs without the subject of “showrooming.� Showrooming is when a shopper visits a store to check out a product, but then purchases the product online from home or an outside location. This occurs because, while many people still prefer seeing and touching the merchandise they buy, many items are available at lower prices through online vendors. As such, local stores essentially become

showrooms for online shoppers. As shown in the chart, active outdoor consumers overall are split almost right down the middle with respect to their use of showrooming. The younger a consumer is, the more apt they are to take part in the showrooming process. More than half of respondents indicated that a better price online was the one reason they ultimately made the purchase online. The availability of free home delivery, the exact size/style/ color desired by the consumer, and the convenience of shopping online were also motivating factors for showrooming. Men are slightly more inclined to participate in showrooming than their female counterparts.

Have you ever found or researched an outdoor-related product on the Internet, but instead made the purchase in a store?

Gen Y (1980-2000) Gen X (1965-1979) Boomers (1946-1964)

Have you ever found an outdoor-related product in a store, but instead made the purchase over the Internet?

Gen Y (1980-2000) Gen X (1965-1979) Boomers (1946-1964)


Respondent Demographics



ConclusionS The outdoor category of retail has outpaced U.S. economic growth overall, as reflected in the nation’s GDP. However, for outdoor retail, the story is more about the new consumer landscape and new set of rules for retailers and brands, and less about the economy. Across all activities and demographics, the weather was the primary factor in survey respondents’ intention to purchase more or less during the course of the year. Additionally, outdoor retail is becoming a young person’s game, with the Millennial generation accounting for more than 24 percent of active outdoor consumers. Millennials represent the biggest departure from the retail rules of the past. They are using their devices like smartphones and tablets more than the average consumer and even more than the average active outdoor consumer. On average, 29 percent of active outdoor consumers are shopping at both Internet and brick & mortar retail while 31 percent of Millennials are shopping at both. That means retailers and manufacturers need to create seamless and easily definable paths for a consumer that would rather let their fingers do the research using blogs, message boards, and social media to guide them to the retailer or manufacturer-specific site to complete a transaction. Based on the data point that 72 percent of active outdoor consumers never use a custom app to shop, outdoor retailers may not need to run out and make that investment, but they still need to maintain control of the consumer relationship from beginning to end. Tablets and smartphones are becoming a ubiquitous tool when it comes to shopping for the average person and even more so for the active outdoor consumer, but the computer is still the number-one online shopping tool. Social media is here to stay. Overall, 67 percent of the adult population in this country has interactions with one of the many social media sites and services. Almost 79 percent of active outdoor consumers interact with social networking sites as a site voyeur or as an active poster. Finally, brand retailing is having its effect on the outdoor retail environment. While we see a potential “maxing-out” of brand retail in terms of the overall outdoor market, for the Millennial generation, brand stores will continue to play a growing role in their outdoor shopping habits.



Pulse Of The Outdoor Consumer SOS Research takes an in-depth look at the key shopping behaviors, influences, and motivators for America’s active outdoor consumer

This year’s study examines the following: »» »» »» »» »»

Outdoor Consumer Shopping Attitudes Outdoor Consumer Spending Patterns Outdoor Consumer Buying Decision Influences Where Outdoor Consumers Shop Brand Store Shopping Habits

»» »» »» »»

Online Shopping and Purchasing Patterns Social Media Influences and Habits Generational Attitudes and Behaviors Demographic Differences in Shopping Patterns

Full Report Available September 16, 2013 Custom Reports and Analysis Available Upon Request For more information, or to reserve your copy of the Pulse Of The Outdoor Consumer study, contact Neil Schwartz 561.692.3722 or email

A Service of The SportsOneSource Group

For full year calendar go to

SEPTEMBER 5 Surf Expo Board Demo Day Orlando, FL 6-8 Surf Expo Orlando, FL

10-11 EORA FLA Winter Market Punta Gorda, FL 10-11 WWSRA NorCal Early Preview TBA 11-12

Atlanta Shoe Market Atlanta, GA

8-10 NBS Fall Semi-Annual Market Fort Worth, TX


16-19 Worldwide Spring Show Reno, NV

6-8 ATA Show Nashville, TN

18-19 Health & Fitness Business Expo Las Vegas, NV

7-9 MWSRA January Show Madison, WI

18-20 Interbike International Trade Expo Las Vegas, NV


WWSRA Rocky Mtn Preview Denver, CO

25-26 Sports & Fitness Industry Assoc. Industry Leaders Summit Baltimore, MD


WWSRA Northwest Preview Portland, OR

26-28 Imprinted Sportswear Show (ISS) Ft Worth, TX 30-2 OIA Rendezvous San Diego, CA

9-11 Surf Expo Orlando, FL 13-14

WWSRA Intermountain Preview Salt Lake City, UT


13-15 WWSRA NorCal Early Preview Reno, NV


The Retailing Summit Dallas, TX

14-17 SHOT Show Las Vegas, NV


Sport Source Asia Hong Kong

15-18 NBS Winter-Specialty Market Fort Worth, TX

29-1 NASGW Expo Grapevine, TX

16-18 Sports Licensing & Tailgate Show Las Vegas, NV


17-19 Imprinted Sportswear Show (ISS) Long Beach, CA

1-3 NBS Fall Athletic Market Austin, TX 5-7

TAG Fall/Winter Show St. Louis, MO


A.D.A. Fall Show San Antonio, TX

24-26 Sports Inc. Athletic Show Las Vegas, NV

DECEMBER 2-4 EORA SE Winter Market Asheville, NC 3-4

WWSRA NW Early Preview Seattle, WA

3-5 MRA December Market Lansing, MI 4-6 FFANY New York, NY


21 ORWM Demo Day TBA 22-25 Outdoor Retailer Winter Market Salt Lake City, UT 30-2

SIA Snow Show Denver, CO


SIA On-Snow Demo Copper Mountain, CO


SIA Nordic Demo Copper Mountain, CO

5-7 FFANY New York, NY 5-8

Sports Inc. Outdoor Show Phoenix, AZ

6-10 NBS Semi-Annual Market Fort Worth, TX


CALENDAR Athletic Dealers of America 1395 Highland Avenue Melbourne, FL 32935 t 321.254.0091 f 321.242.7419 National Shooting Sports Foundation Flintlock Ridge Office Center 11 Mile Hill Road Newtown, CT 06470 t 203.426.1320 f. 203.426.1087 National Sporting Goods Association 1601 Feehanville Drive / Suite 300 Mount Prospect, IL 60056 t 847.296.6742 f 847.391.9827 Nation’s Best Sports 4216 Hahn Blvd. Ft. Worth, TX 76117 t 817.788.0034 f 817.788.8542 Outdoor Industry Association 4909 Pearl East Circle / Suite 300 Boulder, CO 80301 t 303.444.3353 f 303.444.3284 Sports & Fitness Industry Association 8505 Fenton St., Suite 211 Silver Spring, MD 20910 t 301.495.6321 f 301.495.6322 Snow Sports Industries America 8377-B Greensboro Drive McLean, VA 22102 t 703.556.9020 f 703.821.8276 Sports, Inc. 333 2nd Avenue North Lewistown, MT 59457 t 406.538.3496 f 406.538.2801 Sports Specialists Ltd. 590 Fishers Station Drive / Suite 110 Victor, NY 14564 t 585.742.1010 f 585.742.2645 Team Athletic Goods 629 Cepi Drive Chesterfield, MO 63005 t 636.530.3710 f 636.530.3711 Worldwide 8211 South 194th Kent, WA 98032 t 253.872.8746 f 253.872.7603


Advertise in MARKETPLACE 828.244.3043

SGB WEEKLY IS Now Available On Your Ipad to advertise call 704.987.3450

I AM... sgb

Todd Vore President Implus Corporation

Were you an athlete when you were young? I’ve been an athlete my whole life. My big sport was wrestling, which is just the sport you do when you grow up in Pennsylvania. I also ran cross-country in high school, although it was mainly to stay in shape for my true love, wrestling. What was your first job? A paperboy

I was recruited right out of college. But I actually had an old wrestling coach who piqued my interest in Implus back in 1991.

How did you find your way to Implus?

Did you have a key mentor? Ex-wrestling coaches through-

out the years have taught me a lot about hard work, loyalty, dedication and having a commitment to whatever you’re doing; my Mom and Dad, who taught me about life, discipline and commitment; and many industry leaders that continue to provide support and guidance.

Did you or Implus have a turning point? Up until 2000 my partner, Seth Richards, and I always felt we could build the business through internal growth. In 2001, we sold the business to a PE group, which helped us to think outside the box. Internal growth is great but you’ve got to start to look at adding brands to your portfolio to either strengthen your position in a given market or to get into new markets. It took us five years to find the right company and that was Yaktrax. That got us into the ice traction business, and we complemented that with our purchase of ICEtrekkers last August.


Can you sum up the acquisition strategy? We were an insole company until 2000 with Sof Sole and similar FDM brands such as Airplus and Sof Comfort. We were very successful growing Sof Sole in the specialty channel. At the time, the shoe accessories business was fragmented and we had one or two retailers approach us to see if we could manage their entire shoe care business. In 2001 we extended Sof Sole into shoe care and laces, and then into hosiery in 2004. We started looking at other categories that we could grow with a specialty focus. We now have an outdoor division in Seattle, which includes Yaktrax traction and warmers, ICEtrekkers traction, Little Hotties warmers, and now the Tectron shoecare brand we recently acquired with Penguin Brands. We also have a Fitness division, headed up by Alden Mills and his team in Sausalito, CA. They run the Perfect Fitness and the New Balance Sports Monitor brands. What else does Implus own? We’ve branched out into Apara women’s fashion footwear, Sneaker Balls deodorizers, and recently acquired Penguin Brands. We centralize all logistics and fulfillment from our headquarters in Durham, NC, with different teams that manage Implus’ portfolio of brands. What’s your motto? If you don’t love something, don’t do it. The day I wake up and don’t feel like coming to work is the day I have to find a new occupation. What would be your advice to someone looking to get a job in

Take the first opportunity that’s granted to you. If you’re looking to be a sales person or a marketer in the industry, but the only opportunity is to enter through customer service, take it and then paint your own path to that job.

the industry?

Winter Market JANUARY 22-25, 2014 All Mountain Demo JANUARY 21, 2014


Summer Market AUGUST 6-9, 2014 Open Air Demo AUGUST 5, 2014





SGB 1309  
SGB 1309  

SGB MAGAZINE I September 2013