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Report: Worldwide Sports Market Industry Seen Making A Comeback in 2010

August 4, 2010: The economy has sent the global sport market reeling, with no growth in 2008 and a 2% decline in 2009, but after a slow start this year a turnaround will be in play.

According to a just-released report from marketing and research firm The NPD Group, the worldwide sales of sports equipment, apparel and footwear is predicted to have a 1% growth in 2010 and close near the $300 billion mark. A major factor: the World Cup, which has been driving sales of soccer-related goods around the globe, according to NPD's Global Sports Estimate 2010. Reports show that sales of soccer-related equipment, apparel and footwear alone could top $11 billion this year.

“We have just ended the 2010 World Cup and we know that from past tournament years this is a key driver of sales in the football market and in turn that will help to push the overall sport market back into positive territory,” Renaud Vaschalde, global sports industry analyst for NPD Group, Port Washington, NY, said in a statement. “In addition, the U.S. market is expected to stabilize and potentially grow in 2010.”

The fifth annual study on the global sports market shows that the worldwide sports market in 2009 declined for the first time since 2005, putting global sales of sports equipment, apparel and footwear at $282 billion.That represents a 2%  decline from 2008. There was no growth in 2007 following 4% growth in 2006 and 2005.

Looking at footwear, apparel and equipment products purchased for "sport use," NPD found they performed better in Europe (-1%) and Asia (+1%) than in the U.S. (-4%). Products purchased for "sport style"  were down everywhere, including -3% in Europe and in the U.S. and -1% in Asia.

However, Global Sports Estimate found that there were pockets of growth; Middle East (+3%), North Africa (+5%), equipment in Europe (+1%), and footwear in Asia (+1%).

The 2010 World Cup has helped to kick up sales of sports equipment, footwear and apparel.“The state of the global economy and its subsequent impact on consumers worldwide has had an impact on the sport market, as well,” said Vaschalde. “We found that the market declined 4% in the U.S. and 5% in Japan, which are keys to understanding the global decline.”

According to Vaschalde, the projected growth for 2010 has all the markings of continuing into 2011 and possibly beyond.

“It is really the impact of the trend for ‘sport use’ that shows us why we are seeing less of a decline in Europe and Asia versus the U.S.,” as Vaschalde. "As we are seeing the signs of recovery in 2010, so too is there evidence that the global sports market will bounce back in 2010 with a forecast of an increase of 1% globally."

Global Sports Estimate 2010 comes on the heels of an NPD Group report that indicates that there is room for significant potential growth in the "toning and shaping footwear" category. NPD Group initially issued a report six months ago, and followed that up with an updated study on Aug. 2.

At the time of the first study, NPD Group said it found that "nearly eight in ten females surveyed were aware" of this category of footwear, but the majority indicated they weren’t ready to make the purchase. New examination of these results indicates that there is "an opportunity to convert these women into buyers."

“Consumers have just begun learning of toning and shaping footwear,” Marshal Cohen, chief industry analyst, NPD Group, said in a statement. “Since our first study, new manufacturers 'have gotten in the game’ providing a wider variety of options. Consumers are testing them out and spreading the word.  But there are still holdouts.”

According to Cohen, "Up to this point manufacturers and retailers have been building awareness among consumers, and now it is time the retailers and manufacturers focus on getting consumers to ‘test stride’ these shoes. There is untapped potential, here,” added Cohen, “and there is opportunity to prove that these shoes work. Most consumers say they are skeptical of the ‘fitness’ claims so perhaps its time to shift the messaging to the ‘wellness and comfort” these shoes deliver.”

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