New snowmobile sales were flat in the U.S., decreased slightly in Canada and increased notably in some key Scandinavian countries in the just-completed season.
Sales in Russia, meanwhile, were shut off due to trade embargoes following that country’s invasion of Ukraine. That pulled down the total worldwide snowmobile market figures.
Those were just some of the highlights released recently by the International Snowmobile Manufacturers Association (ISMA). ISMA President Ed Klim unveils the sales figures each June at the International Snowmobile Congress event, held recently in Moline, Illinois.
Annual sales in the snowmobile market reflect “new” models sold and delivered to customers between May 1 the previous year through April 30 of the current year. They include new/current model machines (in this case, 2023 models) plus recent, non-current new models that were still in inventory at dealerships.
The “and delivered” part is key. The sales figures do not include spring orders for the following year’s snowmobile. Sales only count once a new owner takes possession of the machine.
Overall, worldwide sales of new snowmobiles dropped by 4.5 percent to 124,769 units, largely due to limited build-quantities by the snowmobile manufacturers plus the complete shutdown of sales in Russia. Also, supply chain issues in recent year caused many orders have been cancelled or delivered very late.
U.S. Snowmobile Sales Figures
New snowmobile sales in the 2023 season in the U.S. decreased by a half percent, according to ISMA data. A total of 53,553 units were sold compared to 53,821 units the previous year – a drop of 268 units.
Looking at it regionally, sales increased 5.6 percent in the Midwest and 1.8 percent in the West. They took a 13 percent dip in the Northeast, where a sub-par winter was experienced. Anecdotally, dealers have told Snow Goer that units originally planned for Eastern dealers were redeployed elsewhere as winter unfurled to reflect the reality of the weather experienced. Long term, the Northeast remains a per part of the market.
Last year, the Midwest accounted for 41 percent of sales, the West 35 percent and the East 24 percent, ISMA reported.
The U.S. numbers fall in line rather closely with the sport’s 10-year sales average. Registrations of new and used snowmobiles crept up slightly in the U.S., to 1,266,981 units last winter compared to 1,264,097 the previous winter.
Canadian Snowmobile Sales Figures
Sales of new snowmobile in Canada slipped 4.5 percent for the 2023 selling season. In real numbers, sales dropped from 50,943 in the 2022 season to 48,252 in 2023. It should be noted, though, that the 2022 numbers represented the highest number of new snowmobiles sold in Canada since the 2000 season.
Sales in Central Canada grew by about 400 units in 2023, the ISMA data shows, while sales dropped about 1,700 units in the East and about 750 in Western Canada.
The East still dominates Canadian sales, though. Paced by robust sales in Quebec, the East makes up 47 percent of Canadian sales. Central Canada accounted for 36 percent, with 17 percent is in the West.
Canadians registered their sleds in impressive numbers last winter. That figure jumped to 618,872 units compared to 601,601 machines the previous year, ISMA reported.
Mixed Bag Overseas
Vladimir Putin’s desire to overtake Ukraine against international desires has created plenty of headlines in mainstream media. It also reflected in international snowmobile sales figures. In fact, the disappearance of sales into Russia spoiled an otherwise rosy pictures of sales in northern Europe.
According to ISMA data, sales in Sweden were up 7.3 percent to 9,303 units in the 2023 sales season. Finnish sales jumped a whopping 39 percent to 5,205 new snowmobiles compared to 3,736 sleds the previous year. As a percentage, sales grew even more in Norway, where 5,037 new snowmobiles were retailed compared to 3,527 the previous year. That’s a 42.8 percent increase.
Sales by the big four manufacturers in other parts of the world also grew from 2,647 units to 3,419 machines.
However, sales of new machines from those brands into Russia went from 7,299 units in the 2022 season to zero last year. That was due to trade embargoes instituted after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
So, sales outside of North America were 22,964 units, an 11.3 percent decrease compared to the previous year.
Add all of it together, and you have a grand total of 124,769 retailed units. That’s a decrease of 4.5 percent or 5,875 units.