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SGMA's Wholesale Study Reports $71+ Billion in Sales

Date: 4/6/10

SGMA’s 2010 Manufacturers Sales by Category Report Released

Running Footwear Had Strong Growth in 2009 & More Is Expected in 2010

 Retail Fitness Spending Strong in 2009 & Projected To Continue in 2010

SILVER SPRING, MD – April 6, 2010 –
The Sporting Goods Manufacturers Association (SGMA) expects that 2010 will be a year of positive change at the cash register for the sports, fitness, and recreation industry in the United States.  While sales of sports and fitness-related equipment, gear, accessories, clothing, and shoes in the U.S. fell slightly for the second straight year, the outlook for 2010 is filled with more optimism.  That's one way to summarize the U.S. sports products industry, which was just over $71 billion (at wholesale) in size last year. According to SGMA’s Manufacturers Sales by Category Report (2010 edition), manufacturers' (wholesale) sales of sporting goods equipment, fitness equipment, sports apparel, athletic footwear, and licensed merchandise in the U.S. totaled $71.8 billion in 2009 - a 4.3% decrease over 2008 when wholesale sales were $75.0 billion.

“In many respects, the decline in sales in the sports industry was a mirror image of the struggles in the U.S. economy during the last 12-18 months,” said SGMA President Tom Cove.  “As the economy begins to improve, Americans will be more likely to spend more money on fitness equipment, sports gear, athletic clothing, and footwear.  Overall, sports participation remains strong in the U.S. though activities which are family oriented and ‘low-cost-to-participate’ are attracting large numbers of participants.  This year could easily be a significant year of change for the sports industry as people are posed to play more and, hopefully, spend more.”

Sporting goods equipment sales dipped slightly – down 2.4% -- from $21.8 billion in 2008 to $20.2 billion in 2009. The five largest categories of sporting goods equipment are: 
•    firearms/hunting ($3.09 billion);
•    golf ($2.48 billion);
•    fishing ($2.02 billion);
•    camping ($1.70 billion); and
•    optical goods ($1.21 billion).

Despite the overall drop in sales, there were some categories that registered sales gains:
•    firearms/hunting (up 21.8% to $3.09 billion);
•    martial arts (up 8.3% to $323 million);
•    fishing (up 5% to $2.02 billion);
•    volleyball (balls & sets) (up 3.8% to $58 million);
•    lacrosse (up 3.6% to $61 million); and
•    ice hockey (up 2.3% to $223 million).

Outlook for 2010:  Archery, boxing, camping, golf, ice hockey, lacrosse, martial arts, ski, soccer, volleyball, and water sports are expected to have increases in wholesale sales this year.    

Compared to some other categories in this overall report, a few team sports categories actually had a solid year as sales showed a low single-digit increase.  Those sports are volleyball (balls & sets) (up 3.8%), lacrosse (up 3.6%), ice hockey (up 2.3%), soccer (up 0.8%), and football (up 0.6%).  The five leading categories, based on overall sales, are:
•    football ($497 million);
•    baseball/softball ($487 million);
•    basketball ($342 million);
•    soccer ($307 million); and
•    ice hockey ($223 million).

Outlook for 2010:  While baseball/softball (down 4.5%) and basketball (down 3.9%) had ‘off’ years in 2009, small increases in wholesale sales are projected for this year for both sports.  Lacrosse and ice hockey are expected to have positive years in 2010, as well.

Exercise equipment is a $4.2 billion business and treadmill sales account for nearly 25% of that entire category. After treadmills, the next two largest fitness categories are elliptical machines ($913 million) and exercise cycles ($442 million). Consumer/retail spending for exercise equipment accounts for nearly 80% of the entire exercise equipment category.  And, consumer/retail spending for exercise equipment is expected to increase 7.6% this year.

Outlook for 2010:  This year, the exercise equipment category is expected to grow by 5.7% to $4.39 billion.  On the consumer side of the equation, free weights, exercise benches, stair climbing machines, and ab machines are projected to have the strongest growth in wholesale sales this year.

Wholesale sales of sports apparel were $28.17 billion in 2009, which is a 5% decline from $29.64 billion in 2008.  The largest segment of the sports apparel industry -- at $4.8 billion – is shirts/tops. Swimwear is the second largest segment of the sports apparel business at $2.5 billion.  Among the divisions of the sports apparel category -- which are branded athletic apparel, performance apparel, fitness apparel, and branded activewear – only fitness apparel had an ‘uptick’ in sales in 2009.  Fitness apparel sales increased 0.5% from $314 million in 2008 to $315 million in 2009.

Outlook for 2010:  This year, wholesale sales for swimwear, shirts/tops, shorts/skirts, pants, warm ups, fleece/sweats, and apparel accessories are expected to improve.

Team uniforms fell by a small margin – down 2.3% -- from $1.158 billion in 2008 to $1.131 billion in 2009.  The five largest categories for team uniforms are football, baseball, basketball, soccer, and volleyball.

“Due to tightening athletic budgets for many schools, teams were not in a position to order new uniforms and, instead, were forced to try to get another year out of existing team uniforms,” observed Cove.

Outlook for 2010:  Stronger wholesale sales of soccer and baseball uniforms are projected.

The athletic footwear category was relatively stable in 2009 as sales fell less than one percent – from $12.4 billion in 2008 to $12.3 billion in 2009.  Running is the rising star of the athletic footwear category as running shoe sales rose 6% to $3.35 billion. Outdoor/adventure is another strong category as sales increased by 4% -- from $580 million in 2008 to $603 million in 2009.  The five leading athletic footwear categories are the following:
•    running/jogging ($3.35 billion);
•    classics/originals ($1.88 billion);
•    kids ($1.78 billion);
•    skate/surf ($806 million); and
•    basketball ($796 million).

Outlook for 2010:  Five athletic footwear categories (fitness/workout, outdoor adventure, running, soccer, and walking) are expected have wholesale sales increase of at least 4.0% this year.

Finally, the recreational transport category suffered a double-digit category decline in 2009.  Wholesale sales were $27.33 billion in 2009, down from $31.48 billion in 2008 – a decline of 13.2%.  As recently as 2007, the recreational transport category was at $37.47 billion.  The line items in this category include motorcycles, jet skis, recreational vehicles, snowmobiles, bicycles, and pleasure boats & motors.  

The SGMA's Manufacturers Sales by Category
is based on data from industry trade associations, a panel consisting of sporting goods companies' marketing experts, and SGMA market research studies. It is the only report of its kind with such extensive coverage of the industry's products and represents the most accurate picture of the sporting goods industry size and sales trends. It should be noted that all figures are based on manufacturers' shipments (including imports) in the U.S. market and expressed in wholesale, not retail, dollar values.

The Sporting Goods Manufacturers Association (SGMA), the #1 source for sport and fitness research, is the leading global trade association of manufacturers, retailers, and marketers in the sports products industry.  SGMA helps lead the sports and fitness industries by fostering participation through research, thought leadership, product promotion, and public policy.  More information about SGMA membership, SGMA's Sports Research Partnership, and SGMA's National Health Through Fitness Day can be found at www.SGMA.com.

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