In spite of a 16% surge in shooting sports equipment, retail sales of sporting goods (footwear, clothing and equipment) -which reached a record $53.5 billion in 2007-fell 1% in 2008 to $53.4 billion, according to the recently released National Sporting Goods Association (NSGA) report “The Sporting Goods Market in 2009.” For 2009, sporting goods sales are forecasted to slip another 1% to $52.3 billion.
“In spite of the decline, 2008 sales were the second highest in the 30 years the Association has been doing the market study,” NSGA Vice President of Information & Research Thomas B. Doyle said.
Athletic and sports equipment, which accounted for $24.88 billion in sales, showed a 0.7% decline. The Association is forecasting a 1% decline in equipment sales for 2009. In 2008, athletic and sport footwear slipped to $17.19 billion, a 1.9% decrease. The Association is forecasting flat footwear sales for 2009.
Athletic and sport clothing showed a 2.5% decrease to $10.56 billion. The Association is forecasting a 1% decline in clothing sales for 2009.
Among equipment categories with sales of more than $1 billion in 2008, hunting & firearms showed the greatest percentage increase. Sales of hunting and firearms equipment rose 16% to $4.6 billion from $3.9 billion in 2007. Only paintball guns/packages declined in this category.
Among other equipment categories with sales of more than $1 billion, only camping showed an increase. Camping equipment sales grew 1%, from $1.45 billion in 2007 to $1.46 billion in 2008.
In other $1 billion-plus sales categories, golf equipment fell 5% to $3.55 billion. Fishing tackle fell 6.3% to $2.1 billion and sport optics were flat at $1.02 billion.
Fifteen of the 24 equipment categories surveyed by the Association last year showed declines. Two were flat, and the balance (except for hunting and firearms) showed modest (1% to 4%) increases.
Sales of recreational transport equipment (bicycles, pleasure boats and motors, recreational vehicles and snowmobiles) declined to $27.0 billion in 2008 (-29%).
Sales of recreational transport products in 2009 are forecast to decline another 27%.
“[The results] didnt really surprise me,” remarked NSGA Director of Information Services Dan Kasen in response to the results. “The numbers were down, but in fact I think they held up better than some people anticipated.”
“The Sporting Goods Market in 2009” is a copyrighted NSGA consumer study that projects 2008 purchases of sporting goods products based on a survey of 80,000 U.S. households.