No Longer Treading Water: Paddlesports Sales Are Up and Making Waves


According to the Leisure Trend Group’s Topline Retail Market Overview, the 2010 paddling season is off to a good start. Paddlesport retail sales were up about 19% from April 2009, showing promise for the 2010 season.

Growth came from all three store channels and every major product category in April. Specialty paddlesport stores were up 15% compared to last April, while chain stores gained 26% and internet jumped 58%. Boats, paddles, apparel and accessories all increased sales this month in every channel, internet apparel being the only exception. Kayaks grew 13% and canoes were up 11% over April 2009. Recreation kayaks gained 12%, touring kayaks rose 8% and whitewater kayaks shot up 47% from a smaller base.

Paddlesports aren’t alone in the economic resurgence. All outdoor sales jumped 16% in dollars over April 2009 and 18% from April 2008. Gains came from across the board as all three store channels and nearly every major product category increased. In specialty stores, the highest growth came from the South, where total sales were up 11% over last April on the strength of equipment accessories and footwear. Also buoyed by equipment accessories and footwear, the Northeast and Midwest regions saw sales increase 7% and 5%, respectively, over April 2009. The West, accounting for 42% of all specialty channel dollars so far in 2010, gained 4% in overall dollars from last April.