Board-Trac On Longboards
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Longboards are more pervasive than ever. Even with a decline in the overall population of skateboarders in the U.S. over the past several years, there has been an increase of almost 8% in longboard purchases by skateboarders since 2009.
Longboards came onto the radar in our Board-Trac© consumer and retail studies just a couple of years ago, and according to recent data, sales of longboards have increased to almost 1.3 million boards sold to skateboarders in the U.S. Our data also shows that 19.5% of responding skateboarders ride longboards exclusively and 50% of the others own a longboard and ride both long and shortboards equally. After all, variety does add spice.
Considering that the population of skateboarders in the U.S. is currently eight million, these percentages of longboard ownership represent a healthy outlook for longboard manufacturers. Add to that the fact that over the next three to five years we expect to see an increase in skateboarding participation – particularly in the 10- to 19-year-old age segments. More feet on boards always produce increases in sales no matter what the economic climate feels like.
The age analysis and forecasting included in our Size of Market reports is based on U.S. census department birthrate data, which we’ve been tracking for many years now. Countries around the world seem to follow U.S. trends even as related to the birthrate, and any business targeting any age segment falling under the age of 25 should look carefully at those numbers. We had also forecasted the decline in skateboarding participation between 2005-2009 based on this same data. The decline in population in key age segments for skateboarding coupled with a troubled economy didn’t bode well for the sport, regardless of what size board you were selling or wanted to ride. Entry-level age for skateboarders has gone up over the past five years, too, which is an obvious effect of a declining birth rate. In the mid-2000s, average entry-level age was 12, and in the ensuing years it has jumped to almost 14.
The good news is that we’re seeing an increase in the 10- to 13-year-old male segment through 2012; however, with that comes a decline in the 14- to 19-year-old male segment still coming from the aftershock and lack of
breeding in the later ’90s.
We have no scientific data to prove any correlation between specific age segments and longboards vs. short, but from what I read, form – or, if you will, purchase – may follow function. Longboards function well for riding long distances. Age segments under driving age (16 years old in the U.S.) often use skateboards for tansportation. Older age segments may not be into tricks, but still want to have fun. Sounds like longboards might be the deck of choice for the older dudes, too.
Skateboarders in the 13- to 16-year-old age segment account for 38% of the total skateboarding population — again, U.S. population —and the total of the 17- to 24-year-old segments is roughly the same. The 25- to 29-year-old segment now accounts for 8% of the skateboarding population and is growing. Skateboarders are channeling surfers who created a lifestyle. We’re seeing the same cultural development among skateboarders now, which means that they’re staying in the sport longer. If we go with the hypothesis that the under-16 and, let’s say, the aging skateboarder over the age of 25 are the primary targets for longboard sales, we’ve just hit a home run. Both segments are growing.
Let’s talk price. Our data shows the average price paid for a longboard is $113.75 – roughly double the average price of a shortboard. We know almost 90% of skateboarders purchase longboards in one of two places — at a skate shop or online. Retailers responding to our retail survey have mentioned 24 longboard brands that they carry in their stores. Twenty-four different topselling brands! Sector 9 leads the list by a wide margin. This is not a passive product, nor should any manufacturer be passive about aggressively marketing their brand. If you want to know if your brand is on that list of 24, you’ll have to buy our Longboard report.
This is just a taste of the data we have on skateboarders, their purchasing habits, influences and profiles. Our mission is to help businesses grow. We are seasoned marketers who not only collect data on action sports participants and the retailers who sell to them, but we also use the data as a platform for our clients’ marketing plans. Our reports are available on our website store – board-trac.com – and we are available via phone or email to answer any questions you might have related to our marketing and research. AXS
Written By Marie Case