The sports and fitness industry performed well across multiple sectors in 2019, according to the Sports & Fitness Industry Association’s annual State of the Industry Report. In 2019, the industry grew 3.9 percent in one year, representing the largest annual growth in 17 years.

The report consolidates data and analysis on product sales, industry trends, and sports and fitness participation rates.

“Given the dramatic downturn so many in our industry are currently experiencing, it’s a bit challenging to highlight last year’s healthy performance; but the pre-COVID evidence should give companies encouragement that the sports and fitness industry was strong, sustainable and central to the American way of life before the pandemic, and should return to vitality as we recover,” stated Tom Cove, president and CEO of SFIA. “Now more than ever, Americans’ health is a top priority, and being physically active is key for every individual, family and community. Our industry can be part of the long-term solution in inspiring and facilitating the country to be active and healthy.”

The fitness category excelled, with increased participation in nearly every measured subset. Dance, step, and other choreographed exercise to music (7.0 percent); aquatic exercise (6.4 percent); rowing machine (5.9 percent); treadmill (5.7 percent); and yoga (5.0 percent) represented the greatest year-over-year growth. Institutional fitness equipment and consumer fitness product sales grew 3.8 percent and 3.1 percent, respectively.

Team sports participation also increased. The growth in the category overall is attributed to traditional sports (with larger bases) attracting more participants in 2019, namely basketball (2.9 percent), outdoor soccer (4.5 percent), flag football (3.2 percent) and volleyball (2.7 percent). While these mainstream sports drove total category growth, the research also found only fewer than half of the 23 team sports measured increased in participation.

Athleisure, as it has for some time, continued to dominate footwear and apparel and drive sales growth, while performance categories lagged.

The report also examines a variety of industry trends around consumer behavior, inventory management, technology investments and the impact of increasing tariffs on sourcing decisions.

The 2020 State of the Industry Report is free to SFIA members and available to the public for purchase here.

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