Leisure marketing: Two companies that represent the ying and yang of outdoor retail sales forecasting.

In outdoor retail sales forecasting, numbers don’t lie.  But people’s emotions can tell a larger truth. If you’re in leisure marketing, trust the data-driven forecasts of LTG’s RetailTRAK. And the emotional barometer readers at SNEWS.

RetailTRAK from Leisure Trends Group  (LTG) gives you a big-picture analysis of category sales.

When I want to see a financial analysis of how almost any category of outdoor retail is doing,  I turn to LTG’s RetailTrak.

They collect and analyze P.O.S. data on a broad range of merchandise.

The latest LTG RetailTRAK numbers on paddlesports sales looked promising.

The other day LTG released the latest numbers on paddlesports and I was excited to learn that  sales at specialty paddlesports stores were up 15%.

When I drilled down into the data, I could see that specialty boat dollar sales were up +13% and specialty boat paddle dollar sales were up +15%.

The sales data only revealed part of the picture.

But I knew that sales numbers only tell part of the story.  So I decided to balance that analysis with a view from ground level.

For a different take on the numbers, I turned to SNEWS.

This time, I turned to the opposite, but equally favorite source of industry intelligence: the field generals at SNEWS.

Marcus Woolf, an SNEWS editor and writer just published an in-depth analysis of the same numbers from a completely different perspective.

How SNEWS Senior editor Marcus Woolf made sense of LTG’s numbers.

Marcus based his analysis on interviews and observations of 5 or 6 specialty retailers around the country,  as well as conversations with two industry insiders.

His findings didn’t contradict the RetailTRAK numbers. They just made a little more sense of them.

Marcus confirmed through his sources in the field  that although sales have picked up in places, there are segments and geographic markets where sales are still soft.

Balancing the Ying and Yang of sales forecasting.

For instance, he found that the whitewater segment of the market was struggling from low participation levels, a glut of low-priced boats, and a lack of demand caused by high unemployment in places like Jacksonville, FL.

As you can see, using these two different perspectives deepened my understanding of the numbers. And gave me the ying and yang of the latest outdoor sales forecast.

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