Another day, another sector bouncing pack from pandemic uncertainty—this time literally!
Last month, the Sports & Fitness Industry Association (SFIA) released its 2023 State of the Industry Report, and the outlook is bright. The sporting goods industry grew 4.3% in revenue in 2022, with US sales of athletic goods such as clothing and equipment topping $116 billion.
The sporting goods industry’s growth is big but not record-breaking: That honor goes to 2021, when the industry grew 15.8%. Still, it is the second-biggest growth since 2010.
These numbers are great news for an industry that faced challenges during the pandemic. Team sports participation and gym membership rates dropped and remain lower than they used to be.
Despite these challenges, an ever-increasing number of Americans are taking action to protect their health. SFIA’s Topline Participation Report found that in 2022, nearly 78% of Americans 6 and older participated in some form of fitness activity. That’s a nearly 2% increase from 2021.
And the sporting goods industry is seeing the benefits! 85% of forecasters see the industry’s current state as “strong or average,” and 95% predict that it will remain so in the future. Over half the companies surveyed reported increased profitability. 67% increased inventory levels despite struggling to do so throughout 2022.
The news isn’t all good. Nearly 30% of companies surveyed reported decreased probability. Experts worry that the reportedly high numbers are impacted by inflation, and the industry faces some other big concerns. Notably, industry leaders are worried about the potential impact of an economic recession. After all, sporting goods spending is seen by most as a luxury rather than a necessity.
Supply chain issues, which have caused the fitness industry big headaches in recent years, are also an issue, and many leaders remain worried about inventory levels. However, they’re less worried about the availability and cost of materials, labor, and transportation—suggesting that inventory levels may also not be as bad.
Whatever the future holds, it’s always nice to see an industry returning at least somewhat to pre-pandemic levels. So if you’re in the sporting goods industry, it may be worth keeping those rose-colored glasses on.