The global sports equipment market was estimated at US$104.2 billion in 2017 and is projected to grow higher CAGR during 2019-2029, according to a new industry report.
Sports equipment is used in sports activities to protect athletes from injuries. Various types of sports equipment are used as per the sport; they range from balls and nets to protective gear such as helmets, armguards, and knee guards, among others. Sports equipment has evolved over the years due to the rising emphasis on preventing sports injuries. Improving the standard of living, increasing urbanization, and rising spending power provide impetus to the sports equipment market.
The sports industry is growing as one of the largest industries in the world due to the rising participation in sports and recreational activities and growing awareness regarding health and stress management. The working population leads sedentary lifestyles, which makes them susceptible to a multitude of lifestyle diseases. Thus, in order to stay fit, many pursue sports, which is bolstering the market growth.
The latest sensor technology has progressed and can be utilized in sports equipment such as tennis rackets, golf clubs, fishing rods, and swimming goggles. The sensors incorporated in the equipment are capable of measuring motion and recording detailed biometric data that can be analyzed to determine problems arising from a swing, cast, or stroke performed by sportspersons.
Improvements in materials used for manufacturing sports equipment aid in enhancing product performance. With advancements in sensor technologies, people are increasingly demanding equipment that can provide relevant insights into performance. In line with this, numerous R&D programs have been initiated by manufacturers to improve the quality of sports equipment. Nowadays, carbon fiber is extensively used in manufacturing such equipment, which is anticipated to impact market growth positively. Moreover, the combination of casual and athletic designs for the development of sports equipment is one of the latest trends providing impetus to the market.
Smart sports equipment has been gaining momentum in the last few years. It aids in monitoring athlete performance in practice sessions, which is vital for athletes to reach their peak performance goals faster. Sports equipment fitted with sensors facilitates the monitoring of athletes across multiple sporting events. This rising demand has dragooned market players to invest in the development of advanced smart sports equipment.
By sport, the ball sports segment held the largest market share in 2019. Since ball sports are ardently followed all over the world, the revenue generated from this segment is notably higher compared to the other segments. The increasing global popularity of football, cricket, and basketball is a key factor driving the market. Thus, the ball sports segment is projected to dominate the market during the forecast period.
Increasing media coverage of global sports events, such as the Olympic Games, Commonwealth Games, and FIFA World Cups, has encouraged the youth to participate in various sports. The sports equipment industry is swiftly embracing new technologies and adapting its products in order to keep pace with rapidly changing global trends.
By sport, the market is segmented into fitness/strength equipment. The fitness/strength equipment segment is expected to witness substantial growth by the end of 2029. Changing lifestyles of the urban population due to sedentary work cultures, growing health concerns, and rising disposable incomes drive the segment’s growth, compelling customers to invest in fitness/strength equipment, adopt healthier eating habits, and exercise regularly.
By distribution channel, the sports equipment market is segmented into store-based retail and online retail. The store-based retail segment is further segregated into specialty and sports stores and department and discount stores.
The specialty and sports stores segment dominated the sports equipment market in 2019, accounting for one-third of the market share. These stores provide required support and information to consumers through expert customer service personnel and have a broad product portfolio. Additionally, the convenience provided by specialty stores and their ability to stock popular brands has been supplementing the growth of the segment.
The online retail segment is anticipated to record the fastest growth during the forecast period. The rising use of smartphones and other electronic devices to surf, browse, and shop online for sports equipment drives the segment. Sports brands are now focusing on consolidating their presence in online retail due to shifting consumer preference towards e-commerce. They are investing in e-commerce in order to facilitate greater convenience for consumers to make online purchases by providing improved and user-friendly websites. Thus, the e-commerce sector is experiencing rapid expansion, especially in terms of equipment sales volume.
North America holds the largest share of about 35% in the sports equipment market, followed by Europe and Asia-Pacific. The U.S. dominates the regional sports equipment market on account of rising focus on sports, increasing participation in sports, surging expenditure power, and technological advancements. As per the Open Access Journalism of Sports Medicine, about 45 million children participate in organized sports. However, about 18% of youth athletes quit after the age of 15.
Asia-Pacific is the fastest-growing market for sports equipment in comparison with North America and Europe. Countries such as China, Japan, India, South Korea, and Australia are major contributors to the market. In Asia-Pacific, India has the highest contribution in terms of cricket equipment. Cricket bats are grabbing the lion’s share in the sports equipment market in India. On the other hand, football equipment held the second-largest share in the overall sports equipment market in the region.
Key players are undertaking different initiatives and adopting different strategies, such as acquisitions, mergers, partnerships, joint ventures, and new product launches, to sustain the raging competition. Companies are also introducing new technologies to improve the in-store retail experience while offering a seamless shopping experience over multiple channels. For example, in 2016, Under Armour introduced UA shop, the retail mobile app, which offers product recommendations to users based on the fitness tracking data gathered from its connected fitness apps.
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