Product sales in the sporting goods, fitness and related recreation markets grew 4.3 percent last year, building on record sales growth in 2021, according to the Sports & Fitness Industry Association’s 2023 Manufacturers Sales by Category Report. The report tracks U.S. wholesale revenues in sporting goods and fitness equipment, athletic footwear, sports apparel, and licensed products, further broken down into more than 30 categories, and compares revenues from previous years.
“Maintaining a better than 4 percent growth rate across all industry categories in 2022 after the huge year we saw in 2021 is a good performance,” said Tom Cove, president & CEO of SFIA. “It has been a crazy three years, obviously, but to maintain healthy growth rates as our industry dealt with pandemic restrictions, supply chain disruptions and soaring inflation speaks both to the sustaining demand Americans have for active lifestyle products and the resilience of our industry.”
Nearly all categories tracked in the report grew in 2022. Total sports equipment saw a 4.1 percent increase, with snow sports (+11.5 percent), golf (+8.3 percent), scuba and skin diving (+7.5 percent), and water sports (+7.4 percent) leading the way. Golf equipment sales are up 70 percent since 2019, primarily due to the increase during the pandemic as a COVID-friendly activity.
Total sports apparel and licensed merchandise also increased, at 6.4 percent and 7.1 percent, respectively. All products tracked in these categories rose in 2022, except for a minor 1.8 percent decline in branded activewear.
Total athletic footwear increased 2 percent in 2022, up 18.1 percent since 2019, with football (+9.1 percent) and baseball (+8.8 percent) leading the way.
Since 2019, the fitness/workout footwear category has been up 71.7 percent overall.
Total exercise equipment was the one major category that decreased last year. The 3.7 percent decline is mainly due to the decline in consumer exercise equipment sales in 2022; however, 2021 was the highest year for sales in the history of the fitness equipment category, with a 52.7 percent growth over 2019. Free weights remain up 150 percent since 2019, followed by exercise benches at 106.7 percent. While consumer figures are down, institutional exercise equipment saw a 3.5 percent growth after a decline from the previous year.
“The impact of inflation on this year’s sales numbers was critically important,” said Cove. “This report details annual sales figures and presents a trend comparison. At the same time, we noted the importance of unit sales analysis to understand the ‘big picture’ regarding overall industry growth.”
The 2023 Manufacturers’ by Sales Category Report is accessible to SFIA members.