Sports retail giant Decathlon has published research from their regular ‘activity tracker’ research which quizzes their huge customer base on their sporting and activity habits – in this case – their snowsports habits and behaviour.
Valuable customers, almost half of respondents who take part in snowsports regularly take 2 or more snowsports holiday each year.
Decathlon found 49% of these respondents took two or more snowsports holiday per year, with 11% taking four or more. This reflects research from Duplare and LISTEX in 2017 that found 54% taking two or more, and 4% four or more.
Late season skiing remains an unpopular option…amongst consumers at least.
Asking respondents when they ski, a steady decline in the popularity of each month reflects winter’s march on toward spring, with April giving a particularly dismal showing. Again this reflects previous studies, and whilst many who work in the industry suggest April is actually their favourite time to ski, the benefits of late-season skiing is clearly not yet being communicated to consumers.
When do you choose to ski or snowboard?
Snowsports are fun and healthy…is the apres-ski animal a thing of the past?
When asked why the choose to go on a snowsports holiday, the overwhelming reason given by Decathlon customer is ‘because it’s fun’ a gratifying finding but perhaps leaving the industry open to competition on many fronts from other ‘fun’ activities that are cheaper, easier, more accessible than snowsports. Fitness and weight loss also scored well, ‘to get fit’ was the second highest single reason given with almost as many answering they go on snowsports holiday to maintain fitness. This is an interesting finding as the fitness and health benefits of snowsports holidays are not often promoted by operators, and yet this research suggests they are much more important drivers than the partying and apres-ski, perhaps reflecting changing consumer tastes?
Why do you tend to go on ski/snowboard holidays?
So why don’t more people want to go on a snowsports holiday?
One of the most interesting set of responses were those exploring why respondents don’t currently go on a ski/snowboard holiday? A wide range of reasons were offered, led by ‘I don’t know how’ closely followed by ‘I can’t afford it’. No doubt the industry can do much to counter both of these objections, but what of the others?
I am not fit/healthy enough was just in third, and given how many of the respondents who do ski or snowboard cited health and fitness as key reason why they do there would seem to be an opportunity here to educate potential skiers and snowboarders about the fitness benefits of a snowsports holiday, but also a realistic assessment of the fitness levels needed to get started, and to counter ‘I don’t know how’ at the same time with beginners sessions at a dry slope or snow dome.
The response ‘I think snowsports are dangerous’ still held true for many, but perhaps scoring less highly than in previous surveys, no doubt partly because of the improvement in the equipment. But lack of kit or clothing still remains a barrier for some, as does lack of confidence and fear in general. ‘It’s not a relaxing’ holiday was perhaps a surprisingly popular reason cited by some, but perhaps shouldn’t be given the multitude of factors and challenges consumers can face, especially when new to snowsports, with the choices of equipment, destinations, skills to master, fitness levels to achieve, the list goes on…
As previous research has found, most UK skiers and snowboarders are highly experienced and committed, often taking more than one holiday per year and spending considerable sums on equipment and instruction. They as a rule like to ski or snowboard in mid-winter, few are as enamoured with the long and sunny days of Easter skiing as those of us working in the industry often enjoy.
Barriers to entry remain considerable, but varied, and by addressing each in turn the industry does have an opportunity to turn latent interest into intent, and action, to grow the number of participants in snowsports further.
Above all, snowsports are considered fun and healthy, two very good reasons for more people to discover the sport and experience of being in the mountain, but perhaps too generic to help snowsports rise above other opportunities vying for people’s time and money.
And despite the obvious popularity of alpine bars, perhaps the health and fitness benefits of snowsports should be much more heavily promoted to attract that growing market of ‘clean-living’ consumers ?
Less of this?
More of this?
Thanks to Decathlon for sharing this report
For further insights into the UK snowsports market see LISTEX’s market reports:
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