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Sporting Goods Retail - US - August 2019

Covered in this report

For the purposes of this report, Mintel has defined sporting goods retailers as those specializing in the sale of sports clothing, footwear, equipment and accessories. While the report’s focus is on specialty retailers, other retailers that sell sporting goods but not exclusively, such as Amazon and mass merchandisers, are included as well to provide better coverage of the market.

Excluded retailers are those specializing in the sale of boats, boating and sailing products and any other vehicle for sporting use, as well as retailers specializing mainly in athletic clothing or footwear (eg Foot Locker).


"People are buying sporting goods. They’re also prioritizing their health to a greater degree, which means more exercising and participation in sports and fitness; this should fuel demand for sporting goods in the future. However, more often than not, people are buying sporting goods at places other than stores that specialize in this area. Specialty sporting goods retailers aren’t staying top-of-mind among shoppers in the market, signaling a need for heightened visibility that can be garnered through amplified marketing and local community involvement that could include partnering with local sports leagues, fitness studios, etc. They also need to revisit their merchandise to make sure it aligns with what consumers are buying or are interested in buying, and look for ways to sell more than just “stuff,” but rather tangible benefits and experiences." 

Diana Smith, Associate Director - Retail & Apparel

This report will look at the following areas:

  • State of the sporting goods market
  • Retailer preferences
  • Top sporting goods and purchase drivers
  • Role of online and mobile
  • Trends and innovations

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Table of contents

  1. Overview

    • What you need to know
      • Definition
      • Executive Summary

        • Overview
          • State of the sporting goods market
            • What you want to know
              • What we see
                • Retailer preferences
                  • What you want to know
                    • What we see
                      • Top sporting goods and purchase drivers
                        • What you want to know
                          • What we see
                            • Role of online and mobile
                              • What you want to know
                                • What we see
                                  • Trends and innovations
                                    • What you want to know
                                      • What we see
                                        • Opportunities
                                          • What you want to know
                                            • What we think
                                              • What it means
                                              • The Market – What You Need to Know

                                                • Sporting goods stores losing relevance and sales
                                                  • Half of sporting goods and equipment sold at non-specialty stores
                                                    • Americans’ efforts to become healthier should lead to more sporting goods needs
                                                      • Strong economy bodes well for the sector at large
                                                      • Market Size and Forecast

                                                        • Demand for sporting goods is strong, but consumers aren’t buying at sporting goods stores
                                                            • Figure 1: Total US revenues and fan chart forecast of sporting goods stores, at current prices, 2014-24
                                                            • Figure 2: Total US revenues and forecast of sporting goods stores, at current prices, 2014-24
                                                        • Market Breakdown

                                                            • Leakage outside the sporting goods sector is a key challenge
                                                              • Figure 3: Share of sales of sporting goods and recreational equipment, by distribution outlet, 2012
                                                            • Apparel and footwear comprises around 30% of total sales at sporting goods retailers
                                                              • Figure 4: Share of sales at sporting goods stores, by product category, 2012
                                                              • Figure 5: Share of sales of sporting goods and recreational equipment, by product category, 2012
                                                          • Market Factors

                                                            • Aging population leads to fewer needs for sporting goods
                                                              • Figure 6: Population by age, 2013-23
                                                            • Number of households with children continues to decline
                                                              • Figure 7: Households, by presence of own children, 2008-18
                                                            • Americans aim to get healthier and exercise more, but efforts aren’t yet translating to quantifiable results
                                                              • Positive economic climate bodes well for sector
                                                              • Key Players – What You Need to Know

                                                                • Dick’s Sporting Goods leads the sector in more than just sales
                                                                  • Industry advocacy and tech investments remain critical to sector’s future health
                                                                    • Seeking new revenue sources and partnership opportunities
                                                                      • Not enough room for everyone
                                                                      • Retailer Overview

                                                                        • Dick’s Sporting Goods holds top position among traditional sporting goods chains
                                                                          • Figure 8: Top sporting goods retailers, 2018
                                                                        • Who’s leading?
                                                                          • Dick’s Sporting Goods
                                                                            • Figure 9: Dick’s Sporting Goods Email promoting “Sports Matter” program, July 2019
                                                                            • Figure 10: Dick’s Sporting Goods screenshot promoting DSG private label brand, July 2019
                                                                          • Bass Pro Shops
                                                                            • REI (Recreational Equipment, Inc.)
                                                                              • Figure 11: REI store in Chicago, August 2019
                                                                              • Figure 12: REI, “Find Out” TV commercial, April 2019
                                                                            • Hibbett Sports
                                                                              • Who’s struggling?
                                                                                • Academy Sports + Outdoors
                                                                                  • Big 5 Sporting Goods
                                                                                    • Modell’s Sporting Goods
                                                                                    • What’s Trending?

                                                                                      • Promoting the outdoors
                                                                                        • Figure 13: Macy’s Outdoor STORY concept with Dick’s Sporting Goods, July 2019
                                                                                        • Figure 14: REI, Black Friday TV ad: OptOutside, One Tree Planted, November 2018
                                                                                      • Branching outside of core product lines
                                                                                        • Figure 15: Columbia Teaser Video for Shift, July 2019
                                                                                      • Forging new (and sometimes unusual) partnerships
                                                                                        • Amping up in-store experiences
                                                                                          • Figure 16: Nike App @ Retail demonstration, July 2018
                                                                                          • Figure 17: Fast Company’s Tweet about Canada Goose Cold Rooms, December 2018
                                                                                        • Getting tech savvy
                                                                                          • Figure 18: Dick’s Sporting Goods, select mobile app features, July 2019
                                                                                        • Reselling and renting
                                                                                          • Figure 19: Interest in pre-owned or rental services, July 2018
                                                                                          • Figure 20: Interest in pre-owned or rental services, by generation and parental status, July 2018
                                                                                      • The Consumer – What You Need to Know

                                                                                        • Retailers need to advocate for higher participation in sports and fitness
                                                                                          • More than 70% of purchases occur in-store
                                                                                            • Non-specialty stores are winning
                                                                                              • Versatility, brand names and quality are important purchase drivers
                                                                                                • Ongoing innovation needed to boost the sector
                                                                                                • Sports Participation

                                                                                                  • Sports aren’t just for kids
                                                                                                    • Figure 21: Sports participation, July 2019
                                                                                                    • Figure 22: Any sporting goods purchase, by sports participation, July 2019
                                                                                                  • Parents are attractive targets
                                                                                                    • Figure 23: Kids’ sports participation, July 2019
                                                                                                  • Key trends in sports and fitness activities
                                                                                                    • Mintel survey
                                                                                                      • Figure 24: Activities purchased for, July 2019
                                                                                                    • Simmons
                                                                                                      • Outdoor Foundation’s 2018 Outdoor Participation Report
                                                                                                          • Figure 25: Spending on outdoor activities and related gear, 2018
                                                                                                        • NSGA’s 2019 Sports Participation Report
                                                                                                        • Items Purchased

                                                                                                          • Footwear and clothing garner the most purchases
                                                                                                            • Figure 26: Overall purchasing and gifting incidence, July 2019
                                                                                                            • Figure 27: Items purchased by recipient, July 2019
                                                                                                          • Men gift themselves, women gift others
                                                                                                            • Figure 28: Items purchased by recipient, by gender, July 2019
                                                                                                          • Dads play an important role in purchasing sporting goods for their kids
                                                                                                            • Figure 29: Items purchased for children, by parental status by gender, July 2019
                                                                                                        • Retailers Shopped

                                                                                                          • Sporting goods retailers are losing share to other channels
                                                                                                            • Figure 30: Retailers shopped – nets, July 2019
                                                                                                          • Amazon and mass merchandisers clear leaders in the category
                                                                                                            • Figure 31: Retailers shopped, July 2019
                                                                                                          • Traditional sporting goods retailers draw similar audiences
                                                                                                              • Figure 32: Traditional sporting goods retailers shopped, by select demographics, July 2019
                                                                                                          • Method of Shopping

                                                                                                            • Most shopping occurs in-store
                                                                                                              • Figure 33: Method of shopping (nets), by product category, July 2019
                                                                                                            • Multichannel shopping more prevalent for sporting equipment and accessories
                                                                                                              • Figure 34: Method of shopping, by product category, July 2019
                                                                                                            • Mobile shopping gaining significant ground
                                                                                                              • Figure 35: Device used for online shopping, by product category, July 2019
                                                                                                            • Preference for in-store shopping transcends generations
                                                                                                              • Figure 36: Method of shopping - Nets, by generation, July 2019
                                                                                                              • Figure 37: Method of shopping, by generation, July 2019
                                                                                                          • Attitudes toward Shopping for Sporting Goods

                                                                                                            • Willingness to pay more for quality…sometimes
                                                                                                              • Figure 38: Attitudes related to spending, July 2019
                                                                                                              • Figure 39: Attitudes related to spending, by sports participation, July 2019
                                                                                                            • Knowledgeable salespeople and lenient return policies are nice-to-haves
                                                                                                              • Figure 40: Attitudes related to shopping at specialty sporting goods retailers, by gender and age, July 2019
                                                                                                              • Figure 41: Attitudes related to shopping at specialty sporting goods retailers, by parental status, July 2019
                                                                                                            • Variety drivers retailer preference
                                                                                                              • Figure 42: Attitudes about shopping at branded sports stores versus stores with multiple brands, by gender and age and parental status, July 2019
                                                                                                              • Figure 43: Brand perceptions, July 2018
                                                                                                          • Interest in Trends and Innovations

                                                                                                              • Athleisure is a way of life, not a trend
                                                                                                                • Figure 44: Interest in athleisure, July 2018
                                                                                                                • Figure 45: Purchase incidence and interest in athleisure, by gender and age, July 2018
                                                                                                              • Consumers seek out innovation in their sportswear and gear
                                                                                                                • Figure 46: Interest in products with innovative fabrics, wearable technology or performance-oriented benefits, July 2018
                                                                                                              • Active beauty garners interest from young adults
                                                                                                                • Figure 47: Interest in active beauty, July 2019
                                                                                                                • Figure 48: Lululemon selfcare products, July 2019
                                                                                                                • Figure 49: Interest in active beauty, by gender and age and race and Hispanic origin, July 2019
                                                                                                              • Pre-owned and rental services not immediate opportunities but slated for rapid growth
                                                                                                                • Careful consideration required for celebrity endorsements and subscription services
                                                                                                                  • Figure 50: Interest in celebrity-endorsed sportswear or subscription services, July 2019
                                                                                                                  • Figure 51: Interest in celebrity-endorsed sportswear or subscription services, by gender and age, July 2019
                                                                                                                • Investment in five trends can yield over 80% reach
                                                                                                                  • Figure 52: TURF Analysis – Interest in trends, July 2019
                                                                                                              • Appendix – Data Sources and Abbreviations

                                                                                                                • Data sources
                                                                                                                  • Sales data
                                                                                                                    • Fan chart forecast
                                                                                                                      • Consumer survey data
                                                                                                                        • TURF methodology
                                                                                                                          • Abbreviations and terms
                                                                                                                            • Abbreviations
                                                                                                                              • Terms
                                                                                                                              • Appendix – The Market

                                                                                                                                  • Figure 53: Total US revenues and forecast of sporting goods stores, at inflation-adjusted prices, 2014-24
                                                                                                                                  • Figure 54: Percent of people aged 20 or older who are overweight or obese, 2001-02 to 2015-16
                                                                                                                                  • Figure 55: Percent of children who are obese, 2001-02 to 2015-16
                                                                                                                              • Appendix – Key Players

                                                                                                                                  • Figure 56: Walmart screenshot promoting sporting goods for back-to-college, July 2019
                                                                                                                              • Appendix – The Consumer

                                                                                                                                  • Figure 57: Types of sports participated in, October 2007-December 2008 (2008) and October 2017-November 2018
                                                                                                                                  • Figure 58: Participation in physical fitness program or regular exercise, October 2007-December 2008 (2008) and October 2017-November 2018
                                                                                                                                  • Figure 59: Types of sports participated in, April 2007-June 2008 (2008) and April 2013-June 2018
                                                                                                                                  • Figure 60: Retailers shopped – nets, by age and parental status, July 2019
                                                                                                                                  • Figure 61: TURF analysis table – interest in trends, July 2019

                                                                                                                              Sporting Goods Retail - US - August 2019

                                                                                                                              £3,435.47 (Excl.Tax)