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Sales of 'sport use' apparel & footwear products on rise
Jul '09
The NPD Group Inc announces the results of its fourth annual study on the global sports market, Global Sports Estimate 2009. According to the report, worldwide sales of sports equipment, apparel, and footwear sales remained flat at $ 284 billion USD (€ 219 billion) in 2008, down from a 4 percent increase the previous year.

Regional highlights - There was an overall decline of 1 percent in all of the Americas (North, Central, and South) that was driven primarily by the 2 percent decline in the United States during 2008. Sales in Europe lagged as well, with a 1 percent decline. However, the overall picture was stabilized somewhat, due to the contributions made by Asia, up 4 percent and the Middle-East/Africa, up 7 percent in 2008.

In the emerging countries, the 'wealth effect' may have contributed to the growth. “In some cases, it was a combination of things that triggered double digit growth,” said Renaud Vaschalde, global sports industry analyst, The NPD Group, Inc. “For instance, China's growth skyrocketed 15 percent in 2008 and for the second consecutive year. This was due to the combination of things like a growing middle class and one that has more disposable income, as well as the fact that the Olympic Games were hosted in China that year.”

On the contrary, most of the developed countries posted negative results. “Clearly in Japan, the U.S., and Western Europe, the sports market underperformed relative to the economy, as measured by the gross domestic product per capita evolution,” said Vaschalde.

'Sport Use' Rise Explains Market Evolution - Overall sales of 'sport use' apparel and footwear products are on the rise which by itself is good news for the industry. There were positive results seen in the market size for running, walking/hiking, swimming, cycling, training/fitness/work-out, and soccer/football. “In the case of these sports, they are convenient and easy to pursue or they are family friendly, or they are just fun. Then add to that the benefits of helping you look and feel good, and we can begin to understand more about why we have seen positive results,” observed Vaschalde.

Additionally, the reappearance of snow is something that helped the snow sport industry during both the 20007-2008 and 2008-2009 seasons. Overall, the snow sports industry posted growth worldwide in 2008. However, there were mixed results in some sports. Golf, basketball, and tennis lost some ground in 2008. Hunting and fishing were also negatively impacted by diminishing wildlife resources and a decreasing number of places in which to fish and hunt.

In Europe manufacturers have been trying to grow the women's sports market. However, there are some real life constraints that hinder this strategy. “More and more women indicating they work or are willing to work outside the home,” noted Vaschalde, “When that is combined with the responsibilities of caring for children and a home, there is very little time left for women to work out, let alone pursue a sport.”

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