The global sports and outdoors market

A heavy hitter in the e-commerce arena

With the continuously increasing consumer interest in health and fitness, the sports and outdoors market is a trillion-euro industry that keeps proving to be a powerhouse in the e-commerce world.

While COVID-19 logically led to most sporting events getting either cancelled or postponed, the sports and outdoors market still managed to see a less impactful loss in revenue when compared to other markets. This was in part thanks to people finding themselves confined to their homes, transforming their living rooms into gyms.

Source: World Federation Sporting Goods Industry (WFSGI) and McKinsey & Company - Sporting Goods 2021 – The Next Normal for an Industry in Flux

What constitutes the sports market?

The sports and outdoors market can be divided into three segments: 

  • Apparel including licensed sports apparel, football jerseys, yoga pants and hats
  • Footwear including football cleats, running shoes and hiking boots
  • Equipment including winter sports gear, fishing equipment and fitness equipment
e-Sports is considered a different market category.

The online sports and outdoors market size

The online sports and outdoors market made more than €18 billion in revenue in 2020. In 2021, it's expected to see a 13% growth with an estimated revenue of over €20 billion. Between 2021 and 2025, this total revenue is expected to grow by 22.4%, representing an expected revenue of €25,2 billion.

* This makes sports and outdoors a very promising market that specialised e-commerce businesses won't want to miss out on.

Source: Statista Digital Market Outlook - eCommerce Report 2021 - Sports & Outdoor

infographic Sports

The biggest online sports and outdoors markets in Europe

In 2020, the online sports and outdoors market saw the highest revenue in the following European countries: 
  • The United Kingdom with €4 billion in revenue
  • Germany with €3 billion in revenue
  • France with €2.5 billion in revenue
  • Spain with €1 billion in revenue
  • Turkey with €767 million in revenue
Source: Statista Digital Market Outlook - eCommerce Report 2021 - Sports & Outdoor

Up-and-coming sports and outdoor e-commerce markets

In order to stay ahead of the changes in the sports market, it’s wise to be aware of the following trends.

In the online sports and outdoors market, the regions expected to show the most growth between 2020 and 2025 are South America, Africa and South Asia. e-Commerce businesses looking to grow their revenue from sports and outdoors products should not pass on these markets, considering the great potential they represent.

China's growth rate of 38.6% between 2020 and 2025 means the Chinese market is expected to have a total revenue of over €109 billion by the end of 2025, making this market the biggest sports and outdoors e-commerce market, and boasting an estimated revenue over 3 times the one of the United States.

Within Europe, the countries showing the most promising growth rate are:

  • Turkey with an expected revenue of €1528.57 million by 2025
  • North Macedonia with an expected revenue of €17.3 million by 2025
  • Georgia with an expected revenue of €10.96 million by 2025
  • Moldova with an expected revenue of €10.4 million by 2025
  • Montenegro with an expected revenue of €2.84 million by 2025
Source: Statista Digital Market Outlook - eCommerce Report 2021 - Sports & Outdoor

How to get ahead in the sports and outdoor e-commerce market

We expect to see the following trends in the sports and outdoor e-commerce market in the coming years. This is how you can stay ahead of the game and come out a winner.
  • Online influencer marketing: Considering individual athletes, in general, have a bigger online following than sports teams or events, the shift towards influencer marketing is only natural. Companies need to consider whether their values align with those of the influencers they want to work with as, for consumers, their stance on current topics is essential.
  • Digital communities: With more and more people switching from gym classes to online sports classes, there's an emerging need for an engaging and inspiring online community. Online classes, live competitions, fitness apps and health apps have seen a surge in popularity during the pandemic, and 63% of industry executives are confident this trend will not reverse now that gyms have reopened.*
  • Credibility in sustainability: According to a survey by McKinsey & Company in 2020, 67% of consumers find the usage of sustainable materials a key factor when purchasing.** And with nine out of 10 companies showing interest in becoming more sustainable, being green has become more the rule than the exception. But consumers don’t want companies to just use sustainable materials, they expect a completely green and socially responsible operation chain and for businesses to actively speak up about environmental issues.*

*Source: Statista Digital Market Outlook - eCommerce Report 2021 - Sports & Outdoor 

**Source: McKinsey & Company - Consumer sentiment on sustainability in fashion

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