Outlook Dimming Among Sports & Fitness Execs

During the last three months, SFIA has been conducting a survey, collecting information from the sports & fitness industry regarding the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. This report tracks financial standing and opinions on a monthly basis. The second installment of this COVID-19 Industry Impact survey series, taking in June 2020, suggests a dimming outlook among sports and fitness industry executives.

Among the key finding, respondent believe the rebound from the effects of COVID-19 is going to take time. A full 72% of companies believe that they will not return to some semblance of pre-COVID-19 projections until 2021 or later, a 12-percentage point increase from the May edition’s data. This is despite the fact that month-to-month sales data shows improvement. Just more than a quarter (28%) of respondents in June reported an increase of June 2020 sales when compared to June 2019, doubling May 2020 to May 2019 comparisons. Additionally, 68% of companies saw greater sales in June 2020 than in May 2020.

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Nonetheless, the pandemic is changing the face of the sports and fitness industry. Six in 10 respondents predict the consolidation of companies to be the top emerging market trend after the pandemic. 72% of respondents expect individual sports and 66% anticipate outdoor sports to be the two top product categories to return to health post-COVID-19, reflecting consumers preference toward socially distanced activities.

On the other hand, respondents anticipate that the return of youth sports will be postponed: 37% of respondents expect youth sports to return in 2021 or later, a 22 percentage point increase from May report predictions.

In regard to the re-opening of gyms, health clubs and boutique fitness centers, the importance of vaccine availability increased dramatically: 71% of respondents viewed it as a necessary precaution to be implemented before re-opening gyms, health clubs and boutique fitness centers, a 55 percentage point increase from the May survey.