Slight Decline in Snowmobile Sales This Winter Attributed to COVID-19
Strong economies and excellent snow conditions in many areas this winter helped offset a sales season impacted by COVID-19, which resulted in a 7% decline in snowmobile sales this Winter 2019-20 over last season, according to the International Snowmobile Manufacturers Association (ISMA).
There were 123,862 new snowmobiles sold this winter worldwide. While that number is down from the 133,000 snowmobiles sold in 2018-19, it remains on par with sales volume from the year prior to that. The decline in percentage of units sold was similar in the US and Canada, while Finland saw a slight increase in sales and Russia experienced more than 10% growth.
For details on sales numbers and other indications of the strength of the industry, see the press release from ISMA below.
Haslett, MI (May 28, 2020) – A strong economy during the Autumn and Winter of 2019-2020, along with excellent snow conditions in many parts of North America, helped to support the snowmobile community, manufacturers, and dealers. Continued interest and enthusiasm in snowmobiling this winter helped sales to remain steady at 123,862 new sleds sold worldwide, a 7% decline from the previous year – which was a strong sales year supported by a long winter season. Sales in all three major markets, (United States, Canada, and Scandinavia) reported minor declines influenced by a shortened sales season and the onslaught of the Covid-19 Pandemic. Sales in the United States were 51,036 new snowmobiles sold, while sales in Canada were 43,535 new snowmobiles sold.
Sales showed a slight increase in Finland to slightly over 5,040 units sold compared to 4581 units last year, and Russia continues its strong sales activity with over 7,191 new sleds sold following last year’s sales of 6441 sleds. This is a sales increase of slightly over 10% in Russia which highlights the improved economic health in Russia, joined with excellent snow conditions and enthusiasm for the sport of snowmobiling.
The snowmobile community is optimistic and is already looking forward to a great 2020-2021 riding season since the end of this riding season in March-April 2020 featured tremendous snowfalls in much of North America.
The snowmobile industry reports that there are 1.1 million registered snowmobiles in the United States and over 543,000 in Canada. The registration numbers continue to be steady, showing that snowmobiling continues to be an active, healthy winter sport.
Recently conducted surveys show that 82% of the snowmobiling households own 2 snowmobiles that they register and ride. Increased registration in Northern Europe continues and there are well over 300,000 active snowmobilers in Scandinavia.
Snowmobile related tourism continues to increase in North America and beyond. This can be seen in recent economic studies conducted by major colleges/universities. Miles ridden by snowmobilers, which is always predictive of economic impact, showed that riding and related tourism continued on a steady pace compared to previous years.
The average age of a snowmobiler this past season was 45 years of age. Approximately 84% of snowmobilers are males and 16% female. Survey also showed that snowmobilers are active outdoor enthusiasts who enjoy snowmobiling with family and friends. 70% of first-time snowmobile buyers have purchased a used snowmobile and most plan to purchase a new snowmobile on their next purchase. Many of the first-time buyers are young adults and they move on to purchase the new snowmobile later in life.
Snowmobilers are outdoor enthusiasts and over 50% participate in activities such as boating, camping, fishing, ATV and Motorcycle riding. Snowmobilers also are active hikers, bikers, and hunters. Over 60% of snowmobilers in North America are club and/or snowmobile association/federation members. These active, outdoor enthusiasts build the trails and support snowmobiling access across North America. They are also active in raising money for charity and annually raise over $3 Million dollars for National Charities.
The Go Snowmobiling website and the Go Snowmobiling Facebook page serve as another strong indicator of the interest in snowmobiling. This year the Go Snowmobiling website: www.gosnowmobiling.org received over 2 million visits and a majority of them were new snowmobilers or did not own a snowmobile but expressed a great deal of interest in going snowmobiling. We have also seen continued growth and expansion of the Go Snowmobiling Facebook page www.facebook.com/GoSnowmobiling with over 20,000 followers interacting with us on a daily basis, sharing their snowmobiling stories and pictures.
Families enjoy snowmobiling because it is a great outdoor recreation activity. People go snowmobiling for the following reasons:
- To view the scenery
- Be with family and friends
- To get away from the usual demands of life and to be close with nature.
The snowmobile clubs and state and provincial snowmobile organizations continue to expand as they serve as a great conduit for snowmobiling and are involved in local issues supporting their local communities. Economic impact studies show that snowmobiling is growing in importance as part of the overall economic engine and job growth for winter tourism. Studies are showing that snowmobiling generates over $30 Billion worth of economic activity in North America. Snowmobiling joins other outdoor recreation activities and in total, outdoor recreation generates over $766 Billion worth of economic activity in the United States. Economic Activity generated by snowmobilers provides many jobs and investment opportunities and generates considerable tax revenue for local governments which eagerly support snowmobiling. The most recent surveys show that snowmobilers spend over $3500 per family supporting snowmobiling activities, on average, and that does not include the purchase of a snowmobile and trailer. A recent report shows that snowmobiling contributed $9.3 Billion in economic activity across Canada.
In many parts of North America and Northern Europe, snowmobilers are the economic engine for winter Tourism. Snowmobiling is a vital component of the rural America development effort and is recognized as such by land managers around the globe. Snowmobilers are an optimistic group of people and they are looking forward to a great winter in 2021.