Aug. 9, 2010 – Average age continues to rise

Some key characteristics of snowmobilers have fluctuated in the past couple years, including age, income and the percent of people buying new and used sleds.
The annual study conducted by the International Snowmobile Manufacturers Association (ISMA) revealed a trend in the average age of snowmobilers.
This year the average age rose to 44 years old. Last year, the average was 43, and the year before it was 41 years old.
Previously on the up and up was snowmobilers’ average income. However, this year it fell nearly 10 percent to $68,000. A few years ago, it was $72,000, and last year it hit a high of $75,000.
Part of the reason could be due to new snowmobile prices. The study showed about 65-70 percent of people buying used sleds, making the recreation more affordable.
“There’s a huge, unknown market out there,” Ed Klim, president of the ISMA, said, referring to the preowned market.
Many people buying used snowmobiles are younger and most likely new to the sport, says Klim.
“It’s a price-point thing,” he said. “A lot of people buying used snowmobiles are younger, and they don’t know how much they like the sport. They know they want to try it and buy one, but they might not have a lot of money or enough to buy a new one.
“They go into a dealership and say, ‘Wow I really like that, but $12,000? That’s more than my car.’ Then they go look at a used one, ‘Oh that’s cool, I can pick one up for $3,000, and it looks like new.’ We’ve become a lot like the boating industry where a lot of the first people buy the used one.”
Unfortunately the price points will most likely continue to increase because of EPA regulations. “They’re only going to get tougher and tougher,” said Klim. “They’re not free.” psb

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