The Ski Club of Great Britain announces research findings for the snowsports industry
The Ski Club of Great Britain, the UK’s largest snowsports membership organisation, has today released findings from their annual consumer research report, indicating a boost for the snow sports industry.
The report, which is now in its third year, offers insight into the habits, intentions and attitudes of people who participate in snowsports, both here in the UK and abroad. It also offers some understanding of the state of the market and the likelihood for growth or decline in its size. It is the only independent piece of consumer research in the snowsports market of its kind.
From a pool of over 800,000 email addresses the 2015 survey generated 15,072 responses, 38% of whom were female and 62% male. Of these, 2,059 were non-skiers. The highest percentage age profile consisted of 35% aged between 50-59 years and 27% between 40-49 years. The smallest representation was amongst 21-29 year olds who account for just 5% of the survey respondents.
The Ski Club delivers positive news for the industry
Skiing and snowboarding has a loyal following, with 93% of those surveyed stating intent that they would ski again next season – with ‘skiing with friends’ and ‘family’ as reigning supreme.
Enjoyment off piste was also highlighted, with 38% of skiers and 43% of boarders from this group who experienced this on their last trip, indicating that the development in off piste ski and safety equipment could lead to a growth in this area over the coming years.
Evidence also suggests that there is growing interest amongst lapsed skiers (those who have not skied in the last three seasons) with 47% giving a positive indication for a desire to return to the sport, a figure up 3% from the 2014 report. Similarly, from the 2,059 non-skiers who responded, 7% rated their intent to ski as a 9 or 10 (out of 10), a significant increase from 4.5% last year.
Ski Club reports the customer experience on the up
The overall customer experience is improving, with tour operators and resorts receiving an encouraging boost in their Net Promoter Score* ratings. However, price is still the greatest factor of discontentment amongst advocates, shortly followed by the flight experience with the airport experience also in need of improvement.
Encouragingly, booking lead times have risen by a small increase of 3% with 64% booking three months or more before they travel with only 13% booking less than a month before their trips, a 1% decrease from 2014.The types of trips consumers are taking have also changed slightly, with more people seeming to be taking multiple longer breaks and fewer short breaks. From an accommodation perspective, hotels are the number one choice with 42.9% of respondents rating this as where they prefer to stay when on a ski holiday.
The overall ski holiday market remains consistent with 61% stating that the number of holidays they take will remain the same over the next 5 years, with a reasonable 32% indicating they will increase and 7% decrease. 84% of those who responded had been skiing last season (2014/15) or the season before last (2013/14) with just 5% being new to the sport, with 1 week’s experience or less.
Levels of spend per head remain fairly consistent from 2014, as does what people seek in the resort they choose – with guaranteed snow, the size of the ski area and price remaining the most important factors. Quality and standard of accommodation, and how busy the slopes are also play a part. All these choices are largely consistent across age groups, with the younger skier using the same decision process as the more experienced.
School holiday restrictions starting to have an impact
For the first time ever this year’s research measured if the recent enforcement of being penalised for taking children out of school during term time has had an effect on booking ski holidays. Some 38% of the core market (40-49 year olds who holidayed with children) said that their holidays have been affected, with a further 42% of that group deciding not to book a ski holiday due to these restrictions. This formed 3.8% of the total number of survey respondents.
Taking things into your own hands
This year the report sought once again to provide an estimate of the independent market size, classed in this report as those who book elements of their ski holiday themselves rather than as a package. A clear 33% stated that they booked both travel and accommodation independently.
Buying British reigns supreme
There is good news for the UK ski & snowboard equipment store retailers, as they remain the favourite purchase channel, although slightly down on last year’s figures of 58%, with ‘advice in store’ as the most important source of information when deciding on what to buy. Online also remains a popular choice, with 17% stating this as how they bought the last piece of their ski equipment. Some 85% of the survey’s respondents own their ski equipment, with ski boots and helmets being the most popular purchase followed by skis. From those that had bought equipment, 64% had so in the last two years with an encouraging 65% stating intent to buy their next piece of snow sports equipment within the next two years.