Multiple Challenges and Opportunities the Focus as SFIA’s Industry Leaders Summit Gathers Top Industry Executives for The First Time in Three Years

SILVER SPRING, MD (October 19, 2022) – Exploring everything from changing consumer purchasing behavior, digital commerce, and inventory/supply chain trends, to NIL and Title IX’s impact on the industry, the Sports and Fitness Industry Association (SFIA) hosted the 2022 Industry Leaders Summit, presented by Credova, in Chicago on October 24-25, 2022.

“SFIA was thrilled to gather the industry’s top industry executives for this year’s ILS,” said Tom Cove, President & CEO, SFIA. “You could feel the energy and excitement in the room from just being able to be back together again, and to be engaging on a variety of important industry topics with our members, partners, and sponsors.”

Some of the highlights included Wendy Yang, former president of Hoka, who kicked off the conference with a discussion abo­­­ut how brands can be “pro-ruptors”. Yang shared how brands can create positiv­­e industry change by challenging the status quo. Rustom Dastoor, Mastercard’s Executive VP of Integrated Marketing and Communications for North America, provided a captivating analysis of consumer insights. He highlighted the three emerging trends in how consumers are living: virtually, with intention, and with impact. Tuesday afternoon featured panels about hot new brands, company culture and retention, digital products and web 3, and Title IX. The day wrapped up with networking sessions and an industry awards ceremony, capped by a celebration of the winner of the 2022 SFIA Start-Up Challenge, Ida Sports.

On Wednesday, the day kicked off with one of the most respected and widely followed sports retail analysts in the country, Matt Powell, who shared year-to-year retail data and outlined industry trends in footwear, apparel, and equipment. The day also included an expert panel on the hot topic of NIL and concluded with Tom Stockham of ExpertVoice presenting the keys to successful influencer marketing and Vince Iacopella with Alba Wheels Up International LLC presenting a timeline of supply chain issues, future problem areas, and potential remedies to improve U.S. port and transpacific congestion issues.

Click here for a brief video recap of the 2022 ILS.

If you are interested in a brief event recap or have any questions about the 2022 Industry Leaders Summit, please contact Lisa Futterman.

Thank you to our sponsors: Credova, Merchant Cost Consulting, The NPD Group, Re:Build Manufacturing

# # # 

ABOUT SFIA: The Sports & Fitness Industry Association (SFIA), the #1 source for sport and fitness research, is the leading global trade association of manufacturers, retailers, and marketers in the sports products and fitness industry. SFIA seeks to promote sports and fitness participation, as well as industry vitality through research, thought leadership, public affairs, industry affairs, and member services. For more information, please visit www.sfia.org.

SILVER SPRING, MD (October 19, 2022)The Sports and Fitness Industry Association (SFIA) is pleased to announce that Credova will be the Presenting Partner for the 2022 Industry Leaders Summit (ILS). The C-level executive sports and fitness industry event will take place in-person for the first time since 2019 in less than one week – October 25-26 – in Chicago.

ILS is an annual event the SFIA hosts to bring together the most accomplished, respected, and influential executives together to network and discuss topics currently affecting the sports and fitness industry. The 2022 event includes sessions covering: hiring and retaining top talent, NIL, supply chain, consumer insights, retail trends, Title IX, digital innovation, and more.

“SFIA is excited to have Credova as our Presenting Partner for this year’s ILS,” said Tom Cove, President & CEO, SFIA. “Credova is SFIA’s only endorsed Buy Now, Pay Later provider, and their services can better support our members in retail sales by providing additional payment options for their consumers.”

“The Credova team couldn’t be happier about SFIA’s endorsement,” says Kamron Davis, Chief Revenue Officer, Credova. “We look forward to bringing our payment technology services to SFIA members and supporting the ILS this year, and for many years to come.”

Credova provides a Buy Now, Pay Later (BNPL) payment method with split payments as well as long duration installments. Credova was specifically designed to serve the outdoor recreation and sporting goods markets.

“SFIA is grateful for Credova’s support of ILS, and as an SFIA strategic partner, and we look forward to our continued partnership in the future as well,” says Cove.

Click here for more information on the ILS program, speaker lineup, and to register – seats are still available for the event, taking place October 25-26.

For questions, sponsorship inquiries, or if you are a member of the media and would like to attend free of charge, contact [email protected].

# # # 

ABOUT SFIA: The Sports & Fitness Industry Association (SFIA), the #1 source for sport and fitness research, is the leading global trade association of manufacturers, retailers, and marketers in the sports products and fitness industry. SFIA seeks to promote sports and fitness participation, as well as industry vitality through research, thought leadership, public affairs, industry affairs, and member services. For more information, please visit www.sfia.org.

ABOUT CREDOVA: Credova is the leading outdoor recreation and sporting goods point-of-sale financing platform providing a buy now, pay later solution with multiple financing products. To learn more about Credova, please visit www.credova.com.

SILVER SPRING, MD (October 17, 2022)The Sports and Fitness Industry Association (SFIA) is pleased to announce The NPD Group is back again as a Supporting Sponsor for the 2022 Industry Leaders Summit (ILS). The annual industry event will take place on October 25-26, 2022, in downtown Chicago.

The Industry Leaders Summit, presented by Credova, brings C-level industry folks together for networking and to discuss pressing topics in the industry, including manufacturing, consumer behavior and insights, trade and supply chain, the changing landscape of sports growth and consumption, and more.

“SFIA is excited to have The NPD Group back at ILS as a sponsor for our biggest annual event,” said Tom Cove, President & CEO, SFIA. “Our members and partners rely on NPD’s detailed insights and data across all channels to help them make strategic decisions for their businesses in the future.”

The NPD Group, which recently merged with Information Resources, Inc. (IRI), offers data, industry expertise, and prescriptive analytics to help its clients understand today’s retail landscape and prepare for the future.

Supported by NPD data, retailers and manufacturers can make the most informed decisions in a dynamic marketplace, and across nearly every aspect of business, including pricing, distribution, product assortment, sales, marketing, demand planning, product development, and more. By combining actual retail sales data from over 600,000 doors with industry expertise and analytics across more than 20 industries, NPD helps companies understand what is selling, who is buying, and the why behind the buy.

“We are appreciative of our continued partnership with SFIA and thrilled to be back at the ILS as a sponsor this year,” said Dirk Sorenson, Executive Director, NPD. “As an industry, we are now facing new challenges where an informed data-driven strategy is of the utmost benefit to both brands and retailers. Navigating shifts in demand during a time when economic uncertainty is a daily headline requires the sporting goods industry to use tools informed by data to improve pricing, product, and supply chain choices. With NPD’s ability to provide detailed sales data down to the item level, we are excited to contribute those very tools to SFIA’s membership and the industry more generally.”

“We are particularly looking forward to welcoming back Matt Powell to speak,” says Cove. “As NPD’s Sports Senior Industry Advisor, Matt is one of the most respected and widely followed analysts in the country on U.S. sports product industry retail trends.”

Seats are still open for the limited-attendance ILS event! Click here for more information on the ILS program, speaker lineup, and to register. For questions, sponsorship inquiries, or if you are a member of the media and would like to attend free of charge, contact [email protected].

# # # 

ABOUT SFIA: The Sports & Fitness Industry Association (SFIA), the #1 source for sport and fitness research, is the leading global trade association of manufacturers, retailers, and marketers in the sports products and fitness industry. SFIA seeks to promote sports and fitness participation, as well as industry vitality through research, thought leadership, public affairs, industry affairs, and member services. For more information, please visit www.sfia.org.

ABOUT THE NPD GROUP: NPD is a global market information company offering data, industry expertise, and prescriptive analytics to help our clients understand today’s retail landscape and prepare for the future. Over 2,000 companies worldwide rely on us to help them measure, predict, and improve performance across all channels, including brick-and-mortar, e-commerce, and B2B. We have services in 21 countries worldwide, with operations spanning the Americas, Europe, and APAC. Practice areas include apparel, appliances, automotive, beauty, books, B2B technology, consumer technology, e-commerce, fashion accessories, food consumption, food service, footwear, home, home improvement, juvenile products, media entertainment, mobile, office supplies, retail, sports, toys, and video games. For more information, visit npd.com. Follow us on Twitter: @npdgroup.

SILVER SPRING, MD (September 16, 2022)The Sports and Fitness Industry Association (SFIA) is pleased to announce Merchant Cost Consulting as a Supporting Sponsor for the 2022 Industry Leaders Summit (ILS). The event, taking place on October 25-26, 2022 in downtown Chicago is an annual conference for C-level executives in the sports and fitness industry.

At ILS, the most accomplished, respected, and influential executives in the sports and fitness industry come together to discuss pressing industry topics, such as advances in manufacturing, consumer behavior and insights, trade and supply chain, the changing landscape of sports growth and consumption, and more.

“We are grateful for the support of Merchant Cost Consulting as a sponsor for SFIA’s largest event of the year,” said Tom Cove, President & CEO, SFIA. “Our members and partners will use the services they provide to lower their costs and raise profitability for their businesses, helping their overall bottom line.”

Merchant Cost Consulting (MCC) was founded with the purpose of helping businesses audit, optimize, and reduce their credit card processing expenses without the hassle of making significant changes to their existing setup. MCC was founded in 2016 backed by a team with over 40+ years of merchant service experience, with a particular focus in merchant fee optimization, cost reduction, and payment acceptance.

Merchant service fees can be difficult to understand and one of the largest expenses for business owners to incur. Merchant service providers tend to have numerous hidden fees and surcharges, along with large monthly fees that are meant to be purposely deceitful. MCC becomes a part of its clients’ teams to handle their merchant service fees to ensure they are always paying a fair market value price. Merchant Cost Consulting is NOT a credit card processing company. Without switching credit card processing companies or integrated management software, Merchant Cost Consulting helps businesses reduce their credit card merchant fees expenses and audit their merchant account for rate increases, fee spikes, or padded pricing.

“Maximizing cash flow is a crucial part of running a business. By partnering with the SFIA, we are able to bring members a new, risk-free solution, to decrease the costs associated with their credit card processing companies with no disruption to the current operations. We are excited to educate more members about the complex payments industry,” said Patrick MacLellan, Director of Business Development, Merchant Cost Consulting.

Seats are still open for the limited-attendance ILS event! Click here for more information on the ILS program, speaker lineup, and to register. For questions, sponsorship inquiries, or if you are a member of the media and would like to attend, contact [email protected].

# # # 

ABOUT SFIA: The Sports & Fitness Industry Association (SFIA), the #1 source for sport and fitness research, is the leading global trade association of manufacturers, retailers, and marketers in the sports products and fitness industry. SFIA seeks to promote sports and fitness participation, as well as industry vitality through research, thought leadership, public affairs, industry affairs, and member services. For more information, please visit www.sfia.org.

ABOUT MERCHANT COST CONSULTING: Merchant Cost Consulting is the trusted source in merchant services, providing fairness and transparency in the unregulated credit card processing industry Merchant Cost Consulting specializes in renegotiating and monitoring credit card processing fees. Get in touch today and keep more of your hard-earned revenue. For more information, please visit merchantcostconsulting.com.

SILVER SPRING, MD (August 24, 2022) – The Sports & Fitness Industry Association (SFIA) has released its 2022 Tracking the Fitness Movement Report featuring an in-depth analysis of workout trends, participation habits, and purchasing behaviors in the fitness industry. In addition to a detailed analysis of total and core participation rates for more than 20 fitness activities, the 2022 report also includes a deep dive on age cohorts, cross-activity trends, aspirations to do different activities, and “home vs. club” fitness insights.

Two years removed from the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, as society works to figure out our “new normal,” the fitness industry remains in flux, but with optimism and many opportunities for the future. While demand for at-home fitness products has diminished from pandemic-driven high watermarks, the business remains strong and reflects a positive long-term outlook. The institutional fitness business – equipment sales and health clubs – which suffered during the pandemic, rebounded in 2021, but is not yet back at 2019 levels for the most part.

With help from the reopening of health clubs as COVID-19 restrictions were lifted, the largest one-year increases in 2021 came in treadmill participation (+7.6%), cross-training style workouts (+6.4%), stair climbing machines (+4.7%), sole recumbent or upright stationary cycling (+3.7%), and boot camp style training (4.0%). Some of this positive change is enhanced by comparisons against a very tough previous year.

“We are seeing that Americans today have a greater awareness of the benefits of activity to their physical, mental, and emotional health than ever before,” said Tom Cove, President & CEO, SFIA. “Once the ability to be active was restricted because of the pandemic, people realized the need to add fitness routines to their daily lives and had to find ways to do so at a time when possibilities were limited.”

Easily accessible activities such as walking for fitness, running, kettlebells, and yoga, which saw growth during the pandemic with the increase in at-home fitness, continued to see high participation rates over the two-year period. Running/jogging and weight resistance machines had the highest core participation rates (more than 50 times per year) in the country, while yoga continued its sharp multi-year growth in participation, rising 4.7 percent to 34.3 million participants. Further indicating yoga’s projected sustainability, core yoga participation grew 5.7% in 2021 and is up 23.8% over two years.

While many health clubs re-opened doors and reclaimed members in 2021, there is a lingering pandemic impact on the fitness industry, as many clubs were forced to close their doors for good. But, overall, the fitness industry is still seeing good retention in 2021. As fitness enthusiasts recognized a lack of variety in fitness options and missed social opportunities of group classes and the convenience of going to clubs near their office or home in 2021, we expect to see club participation levels continue to grow through 2022 as fitness routines evolve in post-pandemic life and more pandemic restrictions are lifted.

Cove states, “The key challenge for the fitness industry going forward is going to be all about how to navigate the fitness experience, and how to capitalize on this increased awareness and demand for fitness by delivering high quality, cost-effective value propositions for people looking to establish their new routine.”

The 2022 Tracking the Fitness Movement Report is free to SFIA Members and is available to the public for purchase for $649 by clicking here.

The report is provided free of charge to members of the media. If you are interested in a copy of this report or an interview with a member of SFIA, please contact Lisa Futterman at [email protected].

# # #

ABOUT SFIA: The Sports & Fitness Industry Association (SFIA), the #1 source for sport and fitness research, is the leading global trade association of manufacturers, retailers, and marketers in the sports products and fitness industry. SFIA seeks to promote sports and fitness participation, as well as industry vitality through research, thought leadership, public affairs, industry affairs, and member services. For more information, please visit sfia.org.

SFIA’s 6th annual Start-Up Challenge highlighted the latest innovations in sports and fitness technology, products, and services.

SILVER SPRING, MD (July 28, 2022)The Sports and Fitness Industry Association (SFIA) is honored to announce the 2022 SFIA Start-Up Challenge winner: Ida Sports. Ida Sports, led by co-founders Laura Youngson and Ben Sandhu, is a sports footwear company from Melbourne, Australia, with a mission to make the best boots in the world for female athletes. The winner was selected after a several-month selection process, culminating in a live session on July 26 with nine finalist companies answering questions from more than 100 judges.

“To be voted the SFIA Start-Up Challenge winner is such an honour given how knowledgeable and esteemed the judges all are. We were grateful to be able to share our journey delivering a better experience for female athletes on a soccer field,” said Ben Sandhu, Co-Founder, Ida Sports. “I’d like to thank my incredible Co-Founder Laura Youngson and our Marketing Manager Tabitha Tice for helping me put together our application, and the whole Ida Sports team for working so hard to change the game for women and girls.”

After setting a world record with Equal Playing Field Initiative for the highest altitude soccer game to highlight gender inequality in sport, Co-Founder Laura Youngson realized this amazing group of women from all over the world had a common problem – soccer cleats were extremely uncomfortable. Ida Sports spent the next two-and-a-half years working with podiatrists, physical therapists, coaches, and over 800 female players to develop their first product – a soccer cleat designed specifically for women. However, at its core, Ida Sports is more than a cleat. It is a company dedicated to gender equality, empowering women and girls, and ensuring everyone has the right to enjoy sport.

“Ida Sports made a compelling pitch with a timely and intriguing product focus and a plan for addressable market and business growth. Given the intense competition, Ida Sports really stepped up to win this year’s SFIA Start-Up Challenge,” said Tom Cove, President & CEO, SFIA.

In preparation for this event, finalist entrepreneurs submitted pitch videos developed in conjunction with Spark Inc. to be evaluated by the judges, as well as investment profiles. The finalists each received 15 minutes of live Q&A, moderated by Mike Dill from Holland & Hart LLP, allowing the judges to better understand each company and make their final evaluations. The more than 100 judges included executives from leading sports and fitness companies, leagues, and investors such as New Balance, NFL, Athleta, Gildan, Rawlings, U.S. Soccer, Implus, Baird, KB Partners, MLB, and more.

As the grand prize winner, Ida Sports will receive an exclusive prize package including free registration to SFIA’s largest C-level industry conference, the Industry Leaders Summit (ILS) in October, a panel speaking opportunity at ILS, and public recognition at the dinner reception. Additionally, they will receive national media coverage, a spotlight in one of SFIA’s annual research reports, and a judge seat for the 2023 SFIA Start-Up Challenge. All nine finalists who participated will be given personal introductions to industry decision-makers and executives as well as one year of SFIA membership.

Cove states, “Our judges had a huge job to pick a winner amongst a terrific pool of entrepreneurs and innovative products. I fully believe we will see several of these companies having future success.”

The other finalists were: Altis, Caliber Fitness, OWN IT, Playfinity, Revolin Sports, Samon’s Grip, Scorched Ice, SynergySvn.

In 2023, SFIA will continue hosting the Start-Up Challenge and give the next generation of innovators an opportunity to shine. As was done prior to 2020, the Start-Up Challenge will return to in-person for 2023, taking place in conjunction with the 2023 Industry Leaders Summit. Entrepreneurs and interested start-ups should check back in early 2023 at sfia.org for more information.

Click here to learn more about Ida Sports.

Thank you to our Digital Media Partner for this event, Spark Inc.

For more on the Start-Up Challenge, visit www.sfiastartupchallenge.org.

For more information on the Industry Leaders Summit, visit sfia.org/resources/ils.

If you are interested in an interview with Ida Sports, any of our nine Start-Up Challenge finalists, or a member of the SFIA team, please contact Lisa Futterman at [email protected].

# # # 

ABOUT SFIA: The Sports & Fitness Industry Association (SFIA), the #1 source for sport and fitness research, is the leading global trade association of manufacturers, retailers, and marketers in the sports products and fitness industry. SFIA seeks to promote sports and fitness participation, as well as industry vitality through research, thought leadership, public affairs, industry affairs and member services. For more information, please visit www.sfia.org.

Professional Sports Leagues Join Together to Support Legislation to Reduce Cost of Sports and Activity  

WASHINGTON, DC (June 29, 2022) – The Sports & Fitness Industry Association (SFIA) applauds the commissioners from the top four professional sports leagues for their powerful call to Congress to pass the Personal Health Investment Today (PHIT) Act in 2022. The letter, sent to Congress in May, addressed declining physical health trends of Americans during the COVID-19 pandemic, especially in youth, and urged Congress to take action to reduce the cost barriers associated with sports and activity.

The PHIT Act would lower costs for families and individuals involved with youth sports, outdoor recreation, and fitness activities by expanding the eligibility of pre-tax savings accounts to pay for physical activity expenses such as youth sports fees, training, and health clubs. The letter was signed by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, MLB Commissioner Robert Manfred, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver, and NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman.

“It is fantastic to see the leaders of our biggest professional sports leagues band together to lead a charge to improve youth health and wellness,” said Tom Cove, President & CEO, SFIA. “The PHIT legislation will make sports and fitness more affordable and accessible, which will encourage participation and is exactly what families need coming out of the pandemic.”

The commissioners expressed concerns around cost barriers to physical activity causing negative impacts on young people including mental health distress and rising obesity rates. In the letter, the commissioners highlighted the proven connection between physical activity and improved health outcomes and called on Congress to encourage participation in sports, fitness, and recreation by passing the PHIT Act.

“Especially as Americans struggle with rising costs of gas and groceries, we know families are forced to make difficult economic choices every day. We applaud the commissioners for stepping up at this critical time to support legislation that will reduce out-of-pocket costs and get more kids back on the field, court, and rink,” says Cove.

To read a copy of the letter sent to Congress on behalf of the NHL, NBA, NHL, and MLB commissioners, please click here..

For questions regarding the PHIT Act, please contact Bill Sells, SVP Government Relations & Public Affairs, at [email protected].

# # #

ABOUT SFIA: The Sports & Fitness Industry Association (SFIA), the #1 source for sport and fitness research, is the leading global trade association of manufacturers, retailers, and marketers in the sports products and fitness industry. SFIA seeks to promote sports and fitness participation, as well as industry vitality through research, thought leadership, public affairs, industry affairs, and member services. For more information, please visit sfia.org.

WASHINGTON, DC (June 28, 2022) – The use of forced labor in consumer goods is unacceptable, and the Sports & Fitness Industry Association (SFIA) is proud to have supported the Uyghur Forced Labor Prevention Act (UFLPA) prior to its enactment. SFIA applauds the initiation of Customs & Border Patrol (CBP) seizures of imports shown to use forced labor in the supply chain.

“There is no tolerance of forced labor in supply chains for sports and fitness products,” said Tom Cove, President & CEO, SFIA. “This is an important step in the fight to end the use of forced labor in the manufacturing of products and their inputs.”  

In response to the use of forced labor in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region of China, Congress passed the UFLPA and the President signed it into law on December 21, 2021. The new law went into effect on June 21, 2022, to allow time for manufacturers to ensure their products did not have forced labor in the supply chains. CBP will seize imports shown to have violated the new law, and the importer must prove that no forced labor was used in the production of the good or any of its inputs.

SFIA members have taken internal steps to root out forced labor in their supply chains and remain dedicated to ending the use of forced labor. Our members look forward to providing consumers with fair labor, active lifestyle products for improved health, and better quality of life.

“Of course, the current challenges facing our national economy could create headwinds,” Cove added. “The global supply chain is not yet fixed, and we are monitoring how inflation may affect consumer behavior in the future.”

For questions on the new forced labor law, please contact Bill Sells, SVP Government Relations & Public Affairs, at [email protected].

# # #

ABOUT SFIA: The Sports & Fitness Industry Association (SFIA), the #1 source for sport and fitness research, is the leading global trade association of manufacturers, retailers, and marketers in the sports products and fitness industry. SFIA seeks to promote sports and fitness participation, as well as industry vitality through research, thought leadership, public affairs, industry affairs, and member services. For more information, please visit sfia.org.

Finalists Now Pitch To 100+ Sports and Fitness Executives and Investors

SILVER SPRING, MD (June 9, 2022) – Nine finalists have been selected by the Sports & Fitness Industry Association (SFIA) to present their companies at the 2022 SFIA Start-Up Challenge, taking place virtually on July 26, 2022. The application pool included entrepreneurs from around the world, representing all segments of the industry, including innovative sports tech, fitness equipment, team and racquet sports, health and wellness products, gaming, and more.

All finalists will receive industry exposure, real-time feedback from industry decision-makers and executives, personal introductions, and one year of SFIA membership. Each finalist will create a five-minute pitch video, professionally edited and polished by our digital media partner, Spark Inc., and present to an elite panel of more than 100 judges. Assessments will evaluate each company in terms of relevancy, creativity, and potential. In addition to the prizes listed above, the grand prize winner will be awarded a 2023 SFIA Start-Up Challenge judge’s seat, national media coverage, an SFIA research report spotlight, and an exclusive 2022 Industry Leaders Summit package.

The 2022 finalists are:

“It is exciting and affirming to see the innovative ideas and competitive spirit driving these young sports product companies,” said Tom Cove, President & CEO, SFIA.

“The backbone of the industry’s success is the creative, risk-taking, and entrepreneurial culture of companies like these, who when presented with challenges, continue to find a way to add value to the sports and fitness industry. We host the SFIA Start-Up Challenge annually to provide early businesses the opportunity to propel the industry to new heights, and we are very excited about this year’s innovators.”

For more on the 2022 Start-Up Challenge, visit www.sfiastartupchallenge.org.

If you are interested in an interview with one of our 9 Start-Up Challenge finalists or a member of the SFIA team, please contact Lisa Futterman at [email protected].

# # #

ABOUT SFIA: The Sports & Fitness Industry Association (SFIA), the #1 source for sport and fitness research, is the leading global trade association of manufacturers, retailers, and marketers in the sports products and fitness industry. SFIA seeks to promote sports and fitness participation, as well as industry vitality through research, thought leadership, public affairs, industry affairs, and member services. For more information, please visit sfia.org.

Industry Experiences Largest Single Year Growth in a Decade; 4% Higher Than GDP

SILVER SPRING, MD (June 1, 2022) – The Sports & Fitness Industry Association (SFIA) has released its 2022 State of the Industry Report, which features an in-depth analysis of the trends and issues affecting the sports and fitness industry, including participation, economy, and the industry environment in 2021

Despite battling complicated supply chain challenges and the ongoing effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, the sports and fitness industry produced unprecedented growth in 2021. The industry grew by a cumulative 15.8%, accounting for athletic footwear, apparel, sports and fitness equipment, accessories, and licensed products. For the second year in a row, the industry outperformed other sectors of the economy, returning 4% higher growth than the current dollar GDP – reflecting further strength of the sports and fitness market.

“The industry had a banner year by delivering products to work out, play sports, enjoy the outdoors, compete, and be a part of a team – the very outcomes Americans needed most as they emerged from pandemic restrictions and altered lifestyles,” said Tom Cove, President & CEO, SFIA. “This report also outlines substantial positive momentum going forward, especially in terms of forecasts for the future health of the industry, inventories, and broadening channels to reach consumers.”

In 2021, the sports and fitness industry showed the largest number of companies increasing profitability since 2015, with just over 59% showing an increase. However, a significant number of companies struggled to see positive trends in profitability in year two of the pandemic, as 30.4% reported a decrease – the second-highest number since 2012, only to be beaten by 2020 (53.8%).

“Of course, the current challenges facing our national economy could create headwinds,” Cove added. “The global supply chain is not yet fixed, and we are monitoring how inflation may affect consumer behavior in the future.”

Despite the continued challenges of the pandemic, the outlook for most companies is still positive due in large part to increased sales due to an online presence. Online sales remained strong as 76% of companies showed increased sales on their own website and 66% saw growth through third-party platforms – with 81.6% of companies predicting increased sales through their websites in 2022. Additionally, brick and mortar sales still showed importance for brands with 56.8% and 55.7% of companies showing increases in their own store and specialty retailers, respectively. As both brick and mortar and online platforms present value for companies, nearly 70% of companies reported planning for an increase in their R&D investment next year – the largest increase in four years. 

Cove states, “The best news is Americans today appreciate even more the value and benefits of an active lifestyle for both physical and mental health, and our industry is providing products and opportunities to make that happen.”

The 2022 State of the Industry Report is free to SFIA Members and is available to the public for purchase by clicking here for $649.

The report is provided free of charge to members of the media. If you are interested in a copy, please contact Lisa Futterman at [email protected].

# # #

ABOUT SFIA: The Sports & Fitness Industry Association (SFIA), the #1 source for sport and fitness research, is the leading global trade association of manufacturers, retailers, and marketers in the sports products and fitness industry. SFIA seeks to promote sports and fitness participation, as well as industry vitality through research, thought leadership, public affairs, industry affairs, and member services. For more information, please visit sfia.org.

Related Content