The global sports equipment market has undergone significant changes beginning in the early 2020s, characterized by a shift towards online sales, increased digitalization, innovation, and evolving consumer expectations. While the UK market, previously dominated by major players such as Sports Direct and JD Sports, has continued to experience growth, there has been a noted preference for e-commerce, with internet sales accounting for an increasingly larger share of the retail sector – up from 5% in 2008 to 20% by the early 2020s. Reflecting worldwide trends towards healthier lifestyles and personalized, ethical products, the sports equipment market in the UK has seen a demand for specialized, high-value items. Such products often integrate technology to enhance athletic performance and comfort. The market has also catered to the "Athleisure" segment, blending sport and leisure, which is projected to experience substantial growth globally. Additionally, manufacturers and distributors have been focusing on innovations such as connected shoes and garments to distinguish themselves. Despite a diverse offering of sports items ranging from basic, low-value goods to luxury items, the UK has predominantly imported its sporting goods, emphasizing the nuanced interplay of domestic manufacturing and international trade in the industry..Demand Trends in the UK Sporting Goods Market The UK's sporting goods market has proven to be dynamic and responsive to the shifts in consumer behavior and the broader retail landscape. Amidst the tug-of-war between traditional retail outlets and burgeoning online platforms, the market continues to grow at a steady pace, with an estimated value of between 14.7 and 16.3 billion pounds in recent years. One of the most significant trends is the phenomenon of 'Athleisure' – athletic apparel that doubles as leisurewear – which has integrated itself into the fabric of consumer shopping habits. Tailored to a population that prides itself on a combination of comfort and style, athleisure has become an emblematic sign of the times in the world of sports goods. This category alone is expected to see a global market boom, with an anticipated growth rate of nearly 7% annually over the next few years. Among the consumers driving this market, young, active, and affluent groups stand out. Sports Direct and JD Sports, two major sector players, have seized a considerable market share - 22.9% and 19.4%, respectively. This indicates a market consolidation, where bigger players outpace smaller family enterprises that once peppered the landscape. Technology's invasion into the sports realm has had unprecedented effects. Digital platforms have become irreplaceable for marketing campaigns and engaging with a clientele that is increasingly glued to screens. Moreover, innovative products like connected sports watches and smart shoes are revolutionizing the way athletes train and perform, integrating digital elements into physically tangible articles. The fiscal landscape is further complicated by the imported nature of many sporting goods. The UK market heavily relies on imports, with values totaling more than a billion euros, far outstripping the exports which sit at a little over half a billion euros. This illustrates a strong dependence on external goods while homegrown manufacturing contributes a minor portion, with sales reaching into the hundreds of millions of euros. However, the UK market is not without its challenges. Brick-and-mortar stores have experienced closures en masse, with thousands shutting doors in just a few short years, under the pressure of online shopping and shifts in consumer preferences away from department stores to specialty shops. Online sales now account for around 20% of retail figures, and this is a trend that is only set to increase in prominence. Furthermore, market data underlines the cyclical nature of demand, with peaks aligning closely with sporting events and seasons, impacting both retail patterns and the types of products consumed. More so, a demand for ethical.### Key Players in the Sporting Goods Market Landscape The sporting goods market is a dynamic field splintered between various manufacturers and distributors, with each entity bringing its unique offerings and operational strategies. The central participants in this vibrant market range from specialized manufacturers to ubiquitous online retail giants, each contributing to the industry's inherent diversity and competition. In the realm of specialized manufacturers, companies like **Dukes Cricket Ball** stand as testaments to a targeted approach. They anchor themselves firmly in their domain expertise, crafting products specifically designed for cricket enthusiasts. Their resolute focus on quality and specialization ensures that they cater to a niche market's distinct needs. Contrast this with **Umbro**, a robust player emblematic of generalist manufacturers. While initially making its mark in the sportswear sphere, Umbro has expanded its prowess to encompass a wide range of sporting equipment, maintaining a delicate balance between specialization and mass appeal. For those shaking up the market with technological innovations, new entrants like **PIQ** blaze trails with cutting-edge offerings such as sensor robots, exploring uncharted territories in sports analytics and performance measurement. The distribution end is equally diverse, with generalists such as **Sports Direct** and **JD Sport** commanding significant market shares with their extensive networks of physical and online stores. Their omnipresence in the UK market represents a focus on accessibility and variety, catering to a broad customer base by providing gear spanning from basic to professional levels. **Decathlon**, while also a heavy-hitter in distribution, distinguishes itself through its own brand of sporting goods, offering a harmonious blend of manufacturing and retail expertise. Their presence signifies the agility to cater not just to sports enthusiasts but also to consumers leaning towards athleisure trends. Speaking of brands, powerhouses such as **Adidas**, **Nike**, and **Puma** need little introduction, with their global footprints and behemoth turnovers. These titans are known for their brand appeal and extensive range of products that straddle the line between athletic performance and fashion. Field specialists such as **Absolute Snow** and **Foot Locker** carve out their spaces by zeroing in on specific segments - snow sports and footwear respectively. Their depth of knowledge in their chosen domains allows them to cultivate loyalty from consumers pursuing particular sports. Lastly, in terms of digital influence and e-commerce dominance, **Amazon** has become the everything store where sporting goods are just a click away. Alongside it, specialist online retailers like **Wiggle** demonstrate the growing consumer preference for browsing and purchasing sports equipment from the
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Summary and extracts

1 Market summary

1.1 Market definition

A sports item can be defined as equipment used to practice a sport . It can be clothing (shoes, jerseys...), equipment (tennis rackets, soccer balls, handballs...) or even machines, especially those used for weight training (rowers or mats for example) To talk about the market implies to mention two aspects, manufacturing and distribution .

Care must be taken to distinguish the sporting article from the sporting equipment, the latter designating an arrangement or structure that allows the practice of one or more sports

Nevertheless, it sportswear clothes whose style has been designed in the United States, can be considered as a sports item although this is more of a clothing trend than real articles developed for sports practice

In a market once made up of small family businesses, the last few decades have definitively changed the established order. Production is no longer the same, transformed by technological innovations, globalization and large companies, such as Sports Direct and JD Sport, which control the distribution of sports equipment. In addition, more and more startups are trying to make the most of a high-potential market.


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Latest news

Nike: direct sales save the year for the global sports giant. - 28/06/2022
  • Nike targets double-digit growth for the coming year 2022.
  • Nike experiences a 20% drop in sales in China.
  • Nike focuses on its e-commerce site and its own stores.
  • Nike expects annual growth of around 10%.
  • Net income climbs to 5.7 billion euros.
  • Products sold directly to consumers accounted for $18.7 billion over the year.
Nike up more than 6% - 28/06/2022
  • Nike's direct-to-consumer sales account for 40% of its turnover
  • The group posted sales of $46.7 billion (approx. 44.3 billion euros) in 2021-2022, up 6% excluding currency effects
  • Profits reached $6 billion
  • Sales slowed considerably in North America and mainland China

Companies quoted in this study

This study contains a complete overview of the companies in the market, with the latest figures and news for each company. :

Dukes Cricket Balls
Sports Direct
Decathlon UK
Absolute Snow
Foot Locker Italia
Amazon UK
JD Sport

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