The 2019 SFIA Manufacturers’ Sales Report, which measures U.S. wholesale revenues, shows that the sports and fitness products industry grew by 2.3 percent in 2018, totaling $92.3 billion. The report is broken down into four categories, all of which experienced an increase in sales: Sports Equipment totaling $25.1 billion (0.8%), Fitness Equipment totaling $5.4 billion (3.6%), Apparel totaling $36.6 billion (1.2%) and Footwear totaling $16.6 billion (4.6%).
The fitness market, specifically, which tracks 25 different categories of equipment, reported positive growth in all but one product category. The baseball/softball category experienced the greatest growth among team sports at 7.7 percent. This was driven by a huge year in baseball bat sales, reporting 18.9 percent growth. This increase is due to the USA Baseball rule change in 2017, which created a new standard for all youth bats starting on Jan. 1, 2018, requiring all players and leagues to purchase a new bat last year. Golf clubs also experienced healthy growth (8.9%).
Boutique fitness trends, responsible for introducing Americans to many nontraditional exercises, are likely stimulating across the board increases in the fitness and martial arts equipment categories.
Overall, athletic footwear experienced an increase of 4.6 percent, with sport sandals/slides (20.0%), casual/fashion (18%) and classic/originals (10%) ranking as the top three growth categories. The top three categories are not performance wear, representing the strong influence of sports and fitness styles in today’s fashion world. Apparel sales grew by 1.2 percent, while licensed merchandise came in with a strong 5.8 percent growth, indicating greater fandom and new opportunities for brands and apparel manufacturers.
“Last year’s performance reflects a challenging market environment, where it’s more about the market share than it is about industry growth,” stated SFIA President & CEO, Tom Cove. “As an industry, we must understand the critical importance of increased sports and fitness participation, as a long-term strategy to fortify the foundation of our industry.”
The full 2019 Manufacturers’ Sales Report is free to all SFIA members and can be accessed here.