A globally flat sports equipment market
Source:SGI Europe
Release time:2018-09-29

Some improvements in golf, cycling and other sectors largely offset a general weakness in the outdoor, fitness and electronics categories in 2017, leading the global sports equipment market to book an increase of just 0.2 percent to $76.1 billion for the year in terms of sales to the trade. It was a repeat of the softness encountered in 2017, when the same annual SGI survey showed an anemic gain of 1.4 percent for the sports hardgoods sector.

The momentous retail bankruptcies that occurred in the U.S. in 2016 had less of an impact on the American sports equipment market last year. However, the market declined by 3.2 percent to $32.8 billion in the country, partly because the American definition of outdoor includes the volatile category of firearms and ammunition, which led companies like Vista Outdoor, American Outdoor Brands, Remington and Sturm Ruger to suffer strong declines after the election of President Donald Trump at the end of 2016.

Outside the U.S., the sports equipment market rose by 3.0 percent to $43.4 billion. Changes in foreign exchange rates had only a small effect as the euro appreciated by just 1.9 percent against the U.S. dollar. As usual, we convert all the figures that we obtain to U.S. dollars at the average rate calculated by the OECD for each year, as shown in the footnotes at the bottom of the chart in this issue.

Our exclusive annual chart lists the revenues generated by sales of equipment for all the major vendors of branded products in the U.S. and the rest of the world. The data are based primarily on the figures publicly reported by major vendors for the trailing 12 months closest to the year-end, stripping out sales of softgoods in the best way possible. For private companies, we try to obtain input from management and other sources. Failing that, we use our own judgement.

Mergers and acquisitions had a big impact on the 2017 data posted for companies such as the Adidas Group, which divested TaylorMade, Adams Golf and CCM, and Newell Brands, which bought Jarden Corporation and then sold many of its important winter sports equipment brands. We decided to stop guessing the turnover of Oakley, which Luxottica doesn’t want to break down, and we added the outdoor and fitness segments of Garmin.

Garmin’s improved sales and a flat year for GoPro could not prevent a decline in the sports electronics sector because of a strong dip in Fitbit’s sales. The fitness sector moderated in 2017 on a global basis, after recording double-digit growth in 2016 thanks to stronger sales results for Brunswick, Nautilus and Johnson Health Tech. Technogym outperformed.

Double-digit increases at Callaway Golf and Dunlop Sports helped the golf category to regain a certain momentum after the small gains that it had registered in 2016, notwithstanding a drop at Acushnet. Specialist brands benefited from Nike’s exit from golf equipment, which impacted its performance in the equipment sector.

Bicycle companies managed a tiny positive result overall for the year, despite the bike rental trend in China. Independent bike dealers largely liquidated their excess inventories in the U.S. and companies like Giant and Accell Group took advantage of the new e-bike boom, particularly in Europe.

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