It’s been a year of weak gains in the U.S. outdoor apparel market as sales growth of less than one percent in the calendar second quarter was not enough to offset the low- to mid-single-digit declines posted in the first quarter of the year. That assessment, and many other observations, are contained in the recently released trend analysis and reporting from SSI Data* for the first six months of the calendar year ended July 1.
Outdoor apparel sales were up over 23 percent in the 2016 comparable second-quarter period, with all subcategories experiencing strong double-digit sales growth.
The anemic sales growth in the 2017 second quarter came with little upside as retailers were forced to deal with tough comps, uneven weather patterns and a heavy promotional environment as consumers never found a comfortable cadence for purchasing.
“The consumer has been on a steady and accelerating trend to a ‘buy-now, wear-now’ attitude when shopping. Weather kept consumers in a winter frame of mind even as spring/summer product arrived at retail. By the time the weather provided a stable spring/summer base the promotional markers were already at work at retail.” – James Hartford, Chief Market Analyst, SportsOneSource LLC, which manages SSI Data retail POS data trend reporting platforms for the active lifestyle market.
While outdoor sportswear remained the largest outdoor apparel category in the calendar second quarter, growth was flat for the 13-week period ended July 1.
Outdoor outerwear, the second-largest outdoor apparel category in the SSI Data Measured Market in the second quarter, posted sales growth of less than two percent in the period. Still, retailers moved outerwear product off the floor in Q2 as unit growth neared 20 percent. The average selling price (ASP) decline was the result of both category shifts to lower-priced products as well as heavy discounting in efforts to comp against 2016 sales when outdoor outerwear sales increased nearly 30 percent on expanding ASPs.
Light outerwear was the third-largest outdoor apparel category in the 2017 second quarter, but posted weak sales growth just over one percent while retailers pushed three percent more units out the door in the 13-week period ended July 1.
Outdoor activewear sales fell four percent in the quarter after posting growth in excess of 28 percent in the year-ago comparable period.
Columbia Sportswear moved into the top brand share position in outdoor apparel in the second quarter with double-digit growth on the internet, big box outdoor and sporting goods channels. The North Face faded a bit into the number two spot. Patagonia continued to add share in Q2 as the brand moved into the third share spot in the period as Kuhl and Prana rounded out the top five brands in the market. Of the top five brands, Patagonia posted the highest sales percentage increase in the quarter.
*Know More Now. Visit SSI Data at SSIData.com or come see the exceptional features, benefits and ease of use of the SSI Data 5.0 platforms at SportsOneSource Booth #115 at Outdoor Retailer Summer Market, July 25 to 29, 2017 in Salt Lake City, UT. Contact SSI Data and SportsOneSource at solutions@SportsOneSource.com.
Photo courtesy Kuhl