Industry successfully overcomes supply chain disruption, still faces challenging overall market situation

The World Federation of the Sporting Goods Industry (WFSGI) is pleased to share with you the results of the September 2020 edition of its WFSGI COVID-19 Impact Survey, which has now been conducted for over half a year. The WFSGI wishes to first of all thank all respondents who have contributed to this exercise by filling in the survey.

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

“It seems that our industry finds it’s way around supply chain disruption which is shows the flexibility of the sector and the ability to adapt. However, this is not covering up the overall more challenging situation shown by the September survey results: the demand for sporting goods seems to challenge most businesses which, in turn, illustrates the more pessimistic outlook they have.


At the WFSGI we take these results as an indicator for our work. They clearly show that there is a need for an aligned and coherent effort of the industry to advocate for physical activity to ensure that our products are supporting people staying healthy and especially enjoying leisure in these difficult times. As the survey shows, outdoor sports seem to be a pleasure that is still possible to safely enjoy.


Also, the fact that so far most of the respondents indicated that they have no plans to sustain their operations, shows the need for the industry to strive for innovation and this reinforces our organization to pursue its recent increased efforts to address important topics and bring them to the attention of its members. One practical example are the autumn webinar series organized by the WFSGI to brief members on how the pandemic impacts the future of auditing, online sales, legal requirements, physical activity, etc.


That’s why I would like to reiterate our offer to provide you with the recordings and materials of past webinars and invite you to the upcoming ones. Stay tuned and let us know if you want to be kept in the loop!”

As long as the pandemic is challenging the SGI’s daily business, the WFSGI will continue its effort to provide you with the best possible information. Thus, we will also continue in October with the survey, we would encourage all interested sporting goods companies to participate in the October’s pulse survey and to share it further with any of your partners in the sector. We kindly remind you that this survey is open to any sporting goods company no matter if 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: Only 20% of respondents don’t see decreasing orders. The situation remains most challenging for the European market where 70% see orders dropping.

LOGISTICS: Through the past 6 months the industry was going through an up and down with regard to material shortage. This month still over 30% are facing issues getting enough material for their production.

SUPPLY: A surprising number of 40% of sporting goods industry representatives are not having any issues with supply chain disruption which is a promising sign.

LABOR: Overall labor shortage is since three month of decreasing importance to the industry. However, the answers to this section seem to mirror the overall pandemic situation: While there were no respondents indicating staff being absent to take care of family members in July, there are again 20% challenged by this in September. Also, the number of infected staff is again over the 6 moth average. On the other side the industry seems to successfully implement sanitary measurements as force factory closures are further on losing importance.

LEGAL: The situation seems to be unstable since the summertime: again, this month more sporting goods industry professionals are not having any issues with requested legal measures, while last month the opposite was the case.

FINANCE: The here is no change compared to last month; still a small majority faces cash flow issues.

REGRESSION: The numbers of survey participants seeing their business being impacted by COVID-19 is up to 75% again, that’s 10% more than last month which was the lowest number since April.

RECOVERY: The overall slightly more pessimistic situation illustrated by the September survey results, is supported by most respondents assuming that their businesses will only recover by 20% respectively 50% and that they will need more than one year to achieve this.

MEASURES: This month a total of 27% indicated not to have any plans to sustain operations, that’s the highest number so far. Still most of respondents see lean production and worker retrenchment as the most promising solutions to sustain operations.

Retail and Brand Companies Responses:

IMPACT MITIGATION: Increasing online sales remains unchanged the most chosen option to mitigate the impact of the pandemic. Besides also keeping a minimum inventory seems to pursue its increasing importance for the industry.

REPERCUSSION: Consolidating the supply chain is again the top option chosen by respondents.

PRIORITY: While supply chain efficiency, market shares and product marketing are further gaining importance, cash position remains the most important aspect for respondents.

EXPECTATIONS: Since the survey was launched “flexibility” has been indicated as an expectations to suppliers by around 90%, this remains unchanged in September.

TRANSFORMATION: Lean and adaptive production is staying ahead of the pack. But being closer to the market is further gaining importance for the sporting goods industry.

SOURCING PRIORITIES: Still the majority of respondents is not considering to reframe their sourcing priorities. For those who consider changes, global market centric sourcing is the most likely amendment to be looked into.

MARKET TRENDS: Both, fit and comfort driven and functional driven trends have seen a sharp rise this month. But this still is not changing the fact that environmentally friendly products are continuously the most important option.

PREVAILING SPORTS: Respondents have nearly seen all offered sports to be less attractive after the pandemic. Except for outdoors which is considered by close to 90% as the sport benefitting from the pandemic.