News from the American Sports Builders Association                                                        October 2012

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SGMA Reveals Industry is Strong
Sports Apparel & Athletic Footwear Boost Performance

Want some good news about the economy? Look at the fitness industry.

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

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 worth noting that in seven of the 13 categories, more than 20% of the consumers from those categories expect to spend more this year than in 2011.

Sports & Fitness Participation

The state of fitness and activity in the U.S. is an ever-changing situation.  The good news is that 217 million Americans are considered ‘active,’ yet more than 68 million Americans are totally ‘inactive’ – for any number of reasons such as age, illness, little interest, lack of access to facilities, or minimal ability.  Listed below are some of the other noteworthy facts and figures on sports participation in the U.S.

Group Fitness.  Yoga, boot-camp style training, and class-based fitness classes are the main growth categories in the fitness industry.

Older and More Active.  ‘Baby Boomers’ (those born between 1945 and 1964) are more interested in fitness activities and outdoor sports than Generation X (those born between 1965 and 1979).

Voters Are Active.  Those who are physically active are more likely to vote in the Presidential elections this coming November than those who are not physically active.

E-Commerce Continues To Expand

According to WebScore Analytics, e-commerce sales in the U.S. for all industries in 2011 reached $185 billion, which was a 14% increase over sales in 2010.  E-commerce sales are expected to reach $270 billion by 2015.  In the U.S. sporting goods industry, e-commerce sales in 2011 were $2.1 billion and they are expected to reach $4.9 billion by 2015.

As a percentage of overall sporting goods industry sales in the U.S., e-commerce sales continue to play a bigger role.  The percentages have continued to increase every year since 2006 – rising from 3.6% in 2006 to 6.2% in 2011.

Of the 91 industry leaders surveyed by SGMA, nearly 60% of the companies represented in the survey said they sell directly to the consumer.  And, of those companies that do not sell direct to consumers, nearly 70% of them plan to start selling directly to consumers this year.

Sports/Fitness Industry’s Biggest Concerns

The five leading business concerns for the sporting goods and fitness industry in the U.S. are (1) increasing market share, (2) material cost/availability, (3) slower consumer spending, (4) product sourcing, and (5) lack of consumer confidence.
Future Olympic Inclusions?

Something that might interest sports facility builders is the fact that two sports considered strong contenders for future Olympic Games are 3-on-3 basketball and skateboarding.  (Skateboarding, in particular, say some insiders, could do what for the summer Games what snowboarding did for the winter Games -- bring in new youth interest, particularly in the tween and teen market.

The SGMA’s State of the Industry Report (2012 edition), which discusses business and participation trends within the sporting goods industry, may be obtained at  It is available for free for SGMA members.  The cost of this report for non-members is $495.

© 2012 American Sports Builders Association 

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