Strong Sales In Sports Apparel & Athletic Footwear Boost Industry Performance
In 2011, U.S. wholesale sales of sporting goods equipment, sports apparel, licensed merchandise, athletic footwear, and fitness equipment were $77.3 billion – according to the Sporting Goods Manufacturers Association’s (SGMA) State of the Industry Report (2012). That was a 4.2% increase over 2010, when sales were $74.2 billion. This boost in sales indicates the second straight year that the sporting goods and fitness industry has shown signs that it is ‘on the comeback trail’. It’s the first time since 2007 that the industry’s wholesale sales reached $77 billion. And, the sporting goods industry, for the second straight year, outperformed GDP in the US.
The ‘hot’ categories in the industry which drove this growth were branded activewear (up 9.6%), golf clubs (up 8.9%), running footwear (up 7.6%), elliptical machines (up 7.1%), outdoor/adventure footwear (up 6.1%), classics/originals footwear (up 5.6%), and performance apparel – tops (up 5.4%).
One of the leading industry business topics is mass customization where manufacturers are producing customized, quick-turnaround gear for the consumer. And, there are two types of mass customization: for performance (fitness) and for style (personalization).
Consumer Spending Trends
In this report, SGMA surveyed 13 categories of consumer spending. Of those 13 categories, six of them revealed higher consumer spending in 2011 than in 2010. The top two categories that exhibited the highest percentage of ‘more consumer spending’ were Lessons, Instructions, & Camps and Team Sports at School. Of those consumers who spent money on the former, nearly 25% of those consumers said they spent more in 2011 than in 2010. As for the latter, just more than 22% of those consumers said they spent more in 2011 than in 2010. The category which had the least amount of change, where consumers kept their spending steady, was Tennis Membership Fees, where 71% of those who spent money on tennis memberships in 2010 actually spent the same amount of money in 2011.
“It’s not surprising that team sports had a big jump in spending because it means that parents are making the athletic needs of their children a high priority,” said SGMA President Tom Cove. “Team sports are the heart and soul of athletic competition in the U.S.”
It’s worth noting that in seven of the 13 categories, more than 20% of the consumers from those various categories expect to spend more this year than in 2011.
“The growth and/or emergence of sports such as gymnastics, rugby, lacrosse, and field hockey are helping to fuel this spending,” noted Cove.