News Headlines     |     


Saturday December 30, 2017 - Email this article to a friend

Competitive pricing against the Euro has played a part in the growth of sales, with ski boots the biggest selling item, according to a new report.

The annual survey from the Snowsport Industries Great Britain (SIGB) trade organisation says UK purchases of alpine skis, ski boots and snowboard boots were all up in 2016-17, though fewer snowboards were sold.

The underlying trend is an increase after seven years of flat or declining sales, which is good news for British retailers.

For the first time the survey - the 16th produced by SIGB - also looked at sales of avalanche transceivers.

The figures reflect actual sales of hardware to UK shops, rental operations and other purchasing organisations from April 2016 to March 2017.

They do not necessarily reflect actual sales to customers.

SIGB trade report 2017Total snowsports hardware sales















  • Sales of alpine skis, ski boots and snowboard boots in the UK are all up
  • Ski boots continue to be the strongest selling item of hardware
  • Snowboard boot sales have increased after two years of decline
  • Sales of snowboards have declined marginally, reflecting a global trend
  • Helmet sales have also declined with many people now owning a helmet
  • Junior equipment sales were up for ski but down significantly for snowboard
  • More than 2,500 avalanche transceivers were sold in the UK in 2016
SkisSales of skis up
















"Pleasingly the SIGB Trade Survey shows that the UK market is the best place to pick up your new winter sports equipment - both in terms of pricing being in line with the Continent due to the current exchange rates, as well as customer service, fitting and advice," the organisation's joint-President, Damon Street said.

"The SIGB is continuing to spread the word about the benefits of buying in the UK through our Go UK Buy UK campaign and hopefully influence skiers and snowboarders to consider buying their kit on home soil."

Specialist boot fittingSpecialist boot fitting in the UK - photo Atomic















Skis and snowboardsMixed news for ski and snowboard sales
















The SIGB says the UK retail sector continues to face challenges:

  • the general economic state of the High Street
  • the impact of the weather, both in the UK and in resort
  • exchange rate volatility
  • punitive airline carriage charges
  • the growth of offshore web sales
  • uncertainty over Brexit
  • the ageing market for skiing and snowboarding.

But it points to some more positive signs:

  • "The start to the 2017-18 winter has seen significant snowfall throughout the European Alps and periods of cold weather and snow in the UK. There have also been some outstanding performances on the international stage for UK athletes, in all disciplines. The prospect for some high profile results at the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, with attendant media exposure, has never been higher."
TignesGreat snow in the French Alps - December 2017


Underlying sales trend

An increase in sales after seven years of flat or declining sales. This was in spite of the poor European alpine snow conditions over the important 2016 Christmas period.

One of the major benefits to the UK market was competitive pricing against the Euro, caused by the decline in Sterling's value, which resulted in increased online business for some UK retailers selling to purchasers in the rest of Europe, as well as fewer offshore purchases by UK consumers.

This helped lift sales in all categories except snowboards.

Alpine Skis

Sales of alpine skis were up 32 per cent on the previous year but this figure is likely to have been inflated by a number of exceptional rental and one-off special high volume sales, as well as an increase in the brands participating in the survey. The more realistic figures is a rise of 8 to 10 per cent.

Ski Boots

These were the strongest selling item of hardware, reflecting the fact that they are the single most important purchase for most skiers, where ownership is a better option than renting and there's a desire for well-fitting boots and reliable aftercare. The 64,796 pairs sold is the highest total since winter 2009/10. 

Sales were up 10 per cent, due in part to new brands being included. A like-for-like comparison gives a less dramatic rise of 3 to 5 per cent.

Snowboard Boots

Sales were up 26 per cent year on year.  The big rise is partly attributed to an increase in survey respondents.


Sales were down 3 per cent overall, mainly due to a significant reduction in junior board sales (down 53 per cent). The interval between new board purchases is growing along with the attraction of renting in resort. Globally, sales have also been slowing in recent years.

Female specific kit

This continues to rise but with less growth than for unisex products.

Female ski sales were up 19 per cent, compared to 30 per cent for unisex and ski boots up 7 per cent for female and 11 per cent for unisex.

In snowboard, there was an 8 per cent growth for female specific boards against a 2 per cent increase for unisex.
Junior equipment

Sales were up for ski (22 per cent skis, 33 per cent boots) but worryingly down for snowboard (53 per cent for both boards and boots). This is partly explained by the increased interest in skis for freeride and freestyle among younger snowsports participants.

Avalanche Transceivers

2,563 were sold in the UK in 2016-17.


Sales declined by 7 per cent.  Helmets were first surveyed in the 2010 report at the peak of sales.  Seven years on, helmets are seen as an essential item with many skiers and snowboarders now own one.

 Right for size?Many now own a helmet















The SIGB carries out an annual Trade Survey of hardware suppliers, which provides an accurate picture of the size of the UK snowsport hardware business.

The figures represent sales to UK based retail and rental operations from all participating SIGB suppliers for the period 1 April 2016 to 31 March 2017. They do not necessarily reflect actual sales to consumers.

The source data was supplied by 21 brands that sell skis in the UK, 18 brands that sell ski boots, 18 brands that sell snowboards and 14 brands that sell snowboard boots.

The respondents were a mix of SIGB members and non-members. The data contained in the report has been compiled by Geoghegen & Co, Chartered Accountants from confidential submissions.

See here for the main PlanetSKI news page with all the latest stories from the mountains.

For the Spirit of the Mountains - PlanetSKI: No1 for ski news

Related Articles

TRIBUTES TO CEO OF SKI CLUB GB (Monday July 9, 2018)
MYSTERY OF DEAD SKIER: WHO WAS MR M? (Thursday July 5, 2018)
MORE TROUBLE AHEAD FOR 2026 OLYMPIC BIDS? (Thursday July 5, 2018)

With thanks to our main sponsors...

Platinum partners

Bronze partners