Sporting goods businesses seem to find ways to ensure supply, despite the impact of the worrisome global increase of infections

The World Federation of the Sporting Goods Industry (WFSGI) is pleased to share with you the outcome of the August 2020 edition of its WFSGI COVID-19 Impact Survey.

The WFSGI wishes to first of all thank all SGI players who have filled in the August edition of the survey. It has so far been the month with the highest participation rate despite the fact that in many regions there were still holidays. This commitment and active participation of the industry shows the need to further pursue this effort to provide key insights and data to our industry as long as the pandemic lasts.

The WFSGI President & CEO, Robbert de Kock commented on the last survey edition:

“The results of this month’s survey clearly show that the situation remains challenging and volatile.


Promising signs are the fact that less people see their business being affected than in the prior months and that the industry seems to manage the supply chain disruption. However, it is worrisome to see that companies are increasingly dealing with infected staff or staff that has to take care of infected family members.


Things seem to change quickly within weeks and sporting goods businesses are still in a situation where they need to adapt to the current state of the markets. With that said, we see our duty to further research and provide our member companies relevant information to successfully navigate their companies through this crisis.”

To provide you with the best possible information, we would encourage all interested sporting goods companies to participate in the September’s pulse survey, this survey is open to any sporting goods company no matter if you are a WFSGI member or not. No individual respondents information or company data is requested, the survey is completely anonymous and takes no longer than 3 minutes to be filled in.


Manufacturing Companies Responses:

DEMAND: There is a significant decrease of demand from Europe (-13%) and Northern America (-20%) this month compared to July. For Europe this negative trend persists since the beginning of the pandemic.

LOGISTICS: Material shortage is again a challenge as the number of respondents facing this issue has doubled compared to last month.

SUPPLY: One of the few positive signs of this month’s survey is the decreasing number of SGI professionals facing a supply chain disruption (-20%). This is especially the case for Europe and Latin America.

LABOR: There are 12% more respondents being confronted with labor shortage. It seems that the sporting goods businesses are directly feeling the impact of the overall increasing number of infections: infected staff being unable to work has more than doubled. In that context also the staff taking care of infected family members is again up to 12% whereas it was 0% last month.

LEGAL: The positive trend of the past months has been interrupted since there is a majority of respondents impacted by legal measures taken by the local governments.

FINANCE: There is close to no change compared to last month since only a small majority of respondents face cash flow challenges.

REGRESSION: The numbers are still high, but there are only 65% of respondents left who see their business being impacted by COVID-19. This is by far the lowest number since April.

RECOVERY: Last month none of the respondents expected that his or her business will not rebound. This month there are again 10% of respondents being more pessimistic and assuming their business will not recover from this crisis. In addition, only 10% expect a full recovery which is half as many as in July.

MEASURES: For the first time since the initiation of the survey there was not an increasing support for automation. It remains though with 25% a popular option beside adopting lean production.

Retail and Brand Companies Responses:

IMPACT MITIGATION: Increasing online sales (87%) remains unchanged the most chosen option to mitigate the impact of the pandemic, there is a clear trend detectable that this measure has gained support over the past months.

REPERCUSSION: Some noteworthy changes have taken place with regard to the repercussion of measures on suppliers: For the first time since the survey initiation “consolidating the supply chain” has not gained in importance but even lost over 10% of importance. Close to 20% more respondents opt for keeping the same suppliers but decreasing the business volume.

PRIORITY: Cash position is further loosing importance this month. On the other hand employees’ health is the priority number one for companies this month.

EXPECTATIONS: It seems that the expectations towards suppliers are increasingly important: Not only flexibility remains key (chosen by close to 90% of respondents) but also both, efficiency and stability have become more important with an increase of around 10%.

TRANSFORMATION: Being closer to the market is gaining importance for the sporting goods industry. While lean and adaptive supply chain transformation is remaining the most attractive solution, both options have received 10% less support compared to last month.

SOURCING PRIORITIES: Most respondents (37%) are not at all considering to reframe their sourcing priorities, this is again an upwards trend. For those who consider changes, regional centric sourcing is the most appealing solution.

MARKET TRENDS: Environmentally friendly products are by far the most chosen trend for the future of the industry. In addition, this month price point centric trends where the second most selected answer.

PREVAILING SPORTS: Respondents are seeing individual outdoor sports as the clear winner of this crisis: outdoor, running, cycling and walking are all chosen by over 60% or respondents.