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The state of the skateboarding industry

  • Glenn Brumage of Tum Yeto and IASC

I'm still catching up on stories from the various conferences I have attended lately. I thought it would be a good time to write about the state of the skateboard industry presentation by Glenn Brumage at the BRA Retail Summit given my story about Per Welinder at Blitz today.

Glenn is an executive at Tum Yeto and an IASC board member. Board-Trac and ActionWatch contributed research for Glenn's presentation.

Here are some highlights:

- Skateboarding has 11.08 million participants and is a $4.8 billion market. The size of market has declined 2 percent since 2007.

The market is aging, with fewer skateboarders saying they skate everyday. In 2008, 71 percent of participants were 12 to 17 years old. In 2006, 45 percent fit that age range.


The specialty market is king with skaters, with 77 percent shopping in that channel. 10.9 percent shop on the Internet and 3.1 percent in sporting goods stores.

Sales fell in most hardgoods categories in 2008 compared to 2006, but sales of jeans and T's were up, according to Board-Trac. Shoe sales were down. Glenn attributed the category trends to the change in demographics and the aging skater who may not be buying as many skateboards but does have more money to spend on clothing.

Skate hardgoods sales fell 10 percent in 2008 and were down 23 percent in Jan/Feb 2009 combined, according to ActionWatch data.

The current decrease in key 10 to 14 year old demographic is impacting the primary skateboard audience.

The good news is the 5-to-9 year old age segment is growing due to the increase in the current population younger than 5.


The growth in the 5-to-9 year old age segment since 2002 may cause another surge in board sports participation by 2010.

As distribution strategies have changed, and there are more places to buy products, specialty retailers need to innovate, Glenn said. Glenn sees a lot of opportunity for both specialty retailers and new brands..

"The natural progression is for brands to grow out of the core and into the mainstream as newer more innovative brands get started," he said. "It seems that this progression was hindered over the last 10 years or so as the false economy grew. Now as the bubble burst and shops have to compete for fewer customer dollars, they are looking again for fresh new brands not just fresh product from the same old brands."

The IASC is working on several projects to grow skateboarding, including Go Skateboarding Day on June 21, which IASC is helping to promote with a Steve Caballero poster and window display contest where the winning shop receives a trip for two to ASR; the release of the second edition of the skatepark development guide; working on the basic principals of a National Amateur Competition Series that can end with a National Championship; and tackling other important other industry issues that help the sport.



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