The “Made in the USA” label is gaining in popularity. According to SGMA International the dollar value of sporting goods and athletic footwear exported from the U.S. increased by 5.6% in 2004. Exports increased by 9.7% in 2003, and have risen four of the past five years. This analysis is based on the U.S. Commerce Department's statistical data on exports of athletic footwear and 16 sports equipment categories.

Sporting Goods Exports ($000)
January – December, Billions of Dollars, FAS Value


% Change/Prior Yr.
1995 $ 2.159 +21.4%
1996 $ 2.273 +6.8%
1997 $ 2.349 +0.4%
1998 $ 1.952 -17.0%
1999 $ 1.797 -7.7%
2000 $ 1.874 +4.4%
2001 $ 1.960 +4.3%
2002 $ 1.819 -7.1%
2003 $ 1.996 +9.7%
2004 $ 2.107 +5.6%

Source: SGMA International/U.S. Dept. of Commerce

SGMA reports that the total declared value of U.S. sporting goods exports for 2004 was $2.107 billion compared with $1.996 billion for 2003.

Comparing 2004 with 2003, total sporting goods equipment exports increased by 7.1%, and athletic footwear fell by 17.7%. The total dollar value of the sixteen sports equipment categories was $2.002 billion compared with $1.869 billion in 2003. Total athletic footwear import dollar value totaled $104.5 million compared with $127 million in 2003.

Among the major equipment categories, gym/exercise (+25.1%), fishing tackle (+18.4%), and other bowling equipment (+12.5%) topped the list of growth items. Exports of roller skates and parts (-55.6%), golf club parts (-14.4%), and other golf equipment (-11.9%) had the largest declines in dollar value.

The statistics on export volume in the SGMA report, while based on official U.S. Commerce Department data, should not be used as the sole basis for developing an estimate of total sporting goods exports because the product coverage in the report is limited to athletic footwear, archery, baseball, softball, gym/exercise, billiards, bowling, golf, snow ski, sport gloves, racquet sports, fishing, roller skates, ice hockey, sailboards, water skis, inflated and non-inflated balls. Significant amounts of camping equipment, other recreation equipment, and sports apparel are excluded from the export statistics. The actual amount of exports is understated for this reason, plus shipments from overseas factories of U.S. companies are not included in the U.S. Commerce Department statistics. The dollar value of exports used in this report is f.a.s. (free alongside ship) value at U.S. port of export, including inland freight, insurance and other charges incurred in transporting the product to this point.

The data contained herein should not necessarily be interpreted as representing consumer demand for product overseas because some U.S. companies source overseas markets from foreign factories. This is especially true for Mexico, Hong Kong, Singapore and the United Kingdom, which serve as regional distribution centers.