I can’t be the only one it’s occurred to that skateboarding seems to have dodged its historical cycle of disappearing and being reborn every ten years. I think that’s a good thing, though shrinking to nothing and more or less starting over had the advantage of letting everything be fresh and rediscovered.
- After a phenomenal period of growth, snowboarding consolidated down to the point where five or so large, multibrand companies sell most of the hard goods.
- Hard good prices have fallen and continue to fall. Everybody makes good product differentiable only by marketing and most of them make some of in China, or somewhere like China, as a competitive necessity.
- Sales of pro rider snowboards now account, I’m told, for only around five percent of total deck sales. It use to be more.
- Soft goods and accessories are an important- maybe the most important- source of income and potential growth for snowboard companies. Seeking opportunities for growth that hard goods won’t provide, some snowboard companies interested in moving into the much larger and more profitable fashion business. That means they are running into some heavy duty competitors with more resources and fashion industry knowledge.
- Distribution was allowed to expand dramatically. Looking for growth, or with the rationale of building market share, brands became available at more and more locations, causing some decline in the perceived value of the snowboard product in spite of the brands’ marketing campaigns.
- Snowboarding started as an outlaw sport, with some resort’s first action with regards to snowboarding being to ban it. In short order they embraced it and started building terrain parks all over the place.
- Snowboard shops became multiactivity action sports shops. Hard goods were no longer as profitable as soft goods but were critical to the shops market position. Sales of apparel, shoes, and accessories to non participants interested in the lifestyle, or just in the trendy clothing, because critical to shop success.