Sports Retail Study 2022

Sporting goods industry: Digitalisation and sustainability are playing an increasingly important role

Jogging, fitness and swimming remain the most popular sports among active people in Europe. During the pandemic, physical activity decreased – probably temporarily – among active people, whilst the preference for online shopping increased in the same time frame. The industry is currently being shaped primarily by the digitalisation of the shopping experience and the process steps in the supply chain, as well as by efforts to increase sustainability, which are being embraced by consumers. This is also reflected in the unabated interest by investors in sporting goods companies in German-speaking countries. For the English-language Sports Retail Study 2022, which examines sports and sports consumption behaviour, Deloitte surveyed a total of 9,500 people from 19 European countries. In the two-part study, we look at the consumer and provider perspectives separately.

Deloitte Sports Retail Study 2022 | Consumers

Between August and September 2021, Deloitte surveyed consumers about their sporting activities and their consumption of sporting goods. From a total of 19 European countries, 500 people over the age of 15 took part in the survey per country. The samples are representative of the respective populations in terms of age and gender distribution.

Deloitte Sports Retail Study 2022: How are consumers behaving?

On average, around 55 percent of all respondents were regularly engaged in sports ("active in sports") at the time of the survey, which represents a decrease of 10 percentage points compared to the Sports Retail Study 2020. This is partly due to the pandemic-related restrictions on sport and leisure activities. Jogging remained the most popular sport in 2021 (31 percent of respondents said they had jogged at least irregularly in the previous 12 months), closely followed by fitness (30%) – which includes activities like weightlifting, yoga, spinning, Pilates, etc - and swimming (28%). Fitness stands out above all because of its comparatively high level of regularity: 83 percent of those doing fitness said they practiced this type of activity at least once a week.

The pandemic also affects how people engage in sport. The proportion of active people participating in organised sports on a membership basis (i.e. in a gym, club sport or with a coach) has decreased by 7 percentage points. On the other hand, the proportion of people who participate in sports in a non-organised setting (i.e. at home or outdoors) has increased by 7 percentage points.

While the pandemic has caused a reduction in sporting activity in Europe, the survey results also indicate that once the pandemic is over, a large proportion intend to return to their usual sporting behaviour.

Philipp Luettmann, Partner and Head of the Sports Business Group at Deloitte Switzerland


Regarding their consumer behaviour, those who are active in sports from the countries surveyed stated that they spend on average around 129€ a year on sportswear and around 110€ a year on sporting goods. They also expect their spending to increase rather than decrease in the future. Although bricks-and-mortar retail remains the preferred shopping channel for the majority of active people (63%), online retailers have benefited from the shift to online shopping during temporary sports shop closures (+4 percentage points compared to the Sports Retail Study 2020).

Despite temporary closures during which only online trade was possible, in-store trade remains the preferred shopping channel for the majority of people who are active in sports. When buying sporting goods, qualified advice and the opportunity to try on and try out products are highly valued by consumers. This is especially true for high-priced equipment such as e-bikes or skis.

Karine Szegedi, Partner and Head of Consumer Business bei Deloitte Switzerland


In addition, this year's study again looks at the relevance of sustainability for purchasing decisions in sports. On average, around 64 percent of active people are willing to pay a premium for a more sustainable product, which corresponds to an increase of 7 percentage points compared to the Sports Retail Study 2020. Almost 50 percent of consumers would even be willing to pay a surcharge of 20 percent or more. This underlines the increasing relevance of sustainability also in the consumption of sporting goods.

Deloitte Sports Retail Study 2022 - Consumers perspective

Deloitte Sports Retail Study 2022 | Suppliers

Deloitte Sports Retail Study 2022: What is crucial from the perspective of market players?

In addition to global brands from Germany, Austria and Switzerland (DACH), such as adidas, Puma, Head and ON Running, or international retailers like SIGNA Sports United, Hervis Sport and Intersport, the DACH market also offers numerous specialised companies that are pioneers in their sport or technology. In addition to sports-specific companies from all over the world, these also compete with retailers and brands from the clothing or general retail business (e.g. Amazon and H&M). 

The DACH market shows a high level of investment activity, which underlines the demand for participation in the growth of the industry as well as the trending topics that will continue to drive the market during and probably after the COVID-19 pandemic. Between 2016 and 2021, 111 transactions were counted in which an investment was made in a sports brand or retailer from the DACH market.

With 26 transactions, the year 2021 represents the highest value of the period under consideration compared to an average of 18 transactions per year previously. A significant proportion of these transactions involved companies with a focus on e-commerce, which highlights the relevance of this sales channel. While investments in apparel/equipment brands and retailers remain relatively stable and equally split during the period under review, the cycling market leads among sports with 12 transactions in 2021.

Among the drivers of this development, three consumer-driven and industry-driven trends stand out in particular, which, according to market experts, will shape the sporting goods market in 2022 and beyond: 'inclusive sportswear', sustainability and 'athleisure' on the consumer side and the shift towards e-commerce or direct-to-consumer (DTC), digital shopping experiences as well as the digitalisation of the supply chain of sporting goods on the supplier side. In the short term, overcoming supply chain constraints is also one of the biggest challenges for the sporting goods market in DACH.

Download the Deloitte Sports Retail Study 2022 with a focus on consumers and the study with a focus on suppliers to dive into the results in detail.

Deloitte Sports Retail Study 2022 - Suppliers in the DACH market
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