Branding the World of Sports

What is the top selling category of sporting goods?

Posted by ZA on March 14, 2009

Consumers in the United States spend close to $20 million dollars every day on sporting goods & athletic apparel.  The Sporting Goods Manufacturers Association (SGMA) estimates the total U.S. sales at close to $70 billion dollars per year.  That figure encompasses a wide range of sports from bowling to racquetball, some of which are growing (basketball, ice hockey) and some of which are declining in the current economy (golf, tennis).  But the real question is which categories of sporting goods are the top sellers?  Which are the largest revenue producers?

Top selling sporting goods by sport (2008 revenue):
1. Golf – $2.76 billion
2. Athletic shoes – $1.24 billion
3. Baseball/softball – $602 million
4. Football – $496 million
5. Basketball – $356 million
6. Soccer – $304 million
7. Tennis – $256 million
8. Ice Hockey – $218 million
Source: SGMA

No surprise that golf is the top of the list because golf equipment is expensive.  I bought a new driver and fairway wood last year and it cost me close to $600 for the pair.  Tennis shoes (I’m referring to any athletic shoes) are a clear #2 in sports, although they did experience a 5% decline in revenue between 2007 and 2008.  The next four are all sports that U.S. kids typically play growing up, so it’s not surprising to see that kind of money being spent on those sporting goods.  A guy told me yesterday that every sport his kids play costs him $100, every single year they play.  While obviously not scientific, the point is that parent’s are laying out a lot of cash to put their kids in the latest baseball, football, basketball and soccer gear.

Sports are a big part of culture, so I don’t expect any decline in spending for sporting goods to last long beyond the current recession.  People need sports, so they will continue to spend aggressively on the necessary equipment.

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