2018 SFIA State of the Industry Report Identifies New Opportunities Presented by an Increasingly Consumer-Centric World

SOURCE: Sports & Fitness Industry Association

SILVER SPRING, MD (Sept. 12, 2018) – The 2018 SFIA State of the Industry Report, released today, indicates the American sports and fitness products industry grew 2.4 percent in 2017, up from 2.0 percent growth in 2016 and 2015. The industry performed slightly better than the overall GDP (Gross Domestic Product) rate of 2.3 percent growth in 2017. This follows the historical pattern that the sports product industry growth exceeds GDP in good economic times, and fares worse than GDP in times of recession. The report also features a detailed explanation of sports and fitness participation trends, and their impact on the current and future health of the sports and fitness industry. 

“The sports and fitness business is resilient, and positive macroeconomic indicators, such as low unemployment and growing consumer confidence bode well,” said SFIA President and CEO, Tom Cove. “At the same time, while our industry remains vibrant, we know our companies feel like they need to work harder than ever to keep ahead of changing consumer behavior, retail challenges and some worrisome sports participation trends.” 

The report indicates growing and protecting market share and managing retail disruption are top concerns of companies, while aggressive commitment to direct-to-consumer and omnichannel marketing are primary responses to current market conditions. Customization, speed-to-market, innovative technology and consumer connections are leading strategies for future growth. 

There are many independent variables affecting the sports and fitness industry. Higher import tariffs could have a serious negative impact on manufacturing costs and profits, and even sports participation. When high tariffs are imposed, and costs of athletic products rise demonstrably, it is envisioned that both sales and activity rates could suffer. Sport governing bodies are also identified as key influencers, whether positively through “growing the game” initiatives or negatively through excessive regulation and rule changes.

While the market reflects consumer trends and participation habits, this report combines data from the 2018 SFIA Topline Participation Report, industry-specific surveys, and industry insight and analysis to deliver a comprehensive, fully-encompassing view of where the industry stands today. As these reports continue to show, inactivity rates remain high and money continues to play a stronger role. The correlation between household income and inactivity has become more severe, pay-to-play programs have a much stronger presence when it comes to youth sports and new tariffs are threatening to make products more expensive. We must find ways to make youth sports more affordable. Increasing athlete participation is not only good for the sports and fitness industry business, but for the overall health of the nation.

This year’s report also includes in-depth interviews with: Mike Dowse (President, Wilson Sporting Goods), Justin Kaufenberg (Co-Founder and CEO, SportsEngine) and Richie Woodworth (President, Wolverine Boston Group).

To purchase the 2018 SFIA State of the Industry Report, click here.

ABOUT SFIA: The Sports & Fitness Industry Association (SFIA), the #1 source for sport and fitness research, is the leading global trade association of manufacturers, retailers, and marketers in the sports products and fitness industry. SFIA seeks to promote sports and fitness participation, as well as industry vitality through research, thought leadership, public affairs, industry affairs and member services. For more information, please visit www.sfia.org.

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