Sporting Goods 2021: The Next Normal for an Industry in Flux

The World Federation Sporting Goods Industry (WFSGI) and McKinsey & Company have teamed up to present our inaugural Sporting Goods Industry Report — “Sporting Goods 2021: The Next Normal for an Industry in Flux”.


The report comes at a critical moment for the industry. The impact of COVID-19 and shifting consumer behaviors require careful analysis and a strategic response, informed by the latest data and insight. In that context, we hope this publication can usefully contribute to the debate.

The idea for this report was born out of a series of webinars organized by WFSGI and McKinsey in March 2020. Participants were provided with insights on the development of COVID-19, evolving consumer sentiment, and the potential implications for industry players. The number of attendees and the positive reception we received sparked the idea for a more in-depth analysis, both of the present situation and of the world that may emerge once the pandemic is over.

The coming year will be the start of the “next normal” in the sporting goods industry, in which companies will be required to navigate a range of challenges and dynamics.

This report is designed to present our latest thinking on the themes that have dominated the past year and that may dominate the next.

We drill down in a range of trends shaping the industry — including the rise of athleisure, the impact of digital, and the surge in demand for home fitness solutions. We look at the changing face of retail and the growing importance of sustainability, new business models and reformed supply chain relationships. Some of these trends were already in play ahead of COVID-19, while others represent a departure from the status quo, and create both risks and opportunities. Alongside, we discuss potential strategies that might form the basis of a response.

Many of our insights are grounded in our conversations over recent months with industry leaders, who have kindly shared their thoughts and insights on the key topics on the C-Suite agenda. In addition, in September 2020 we conducted an in-depth survey of WFSGI and SFIA members, the results of which are quoted throughout the report. We also organized interviews with a group of more than 15 executives, representing manufacturers, brands, retailers, and WFSGI experts.

Given the events of the past year, there is much hope in the industry that the coming 12 months will be better and will present a chance to put the businesses back on track. We hope that this report will inform discussions to that end, and we welcome your feedback and comments.

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Sporting Goods 2021: The Next Normal for an Industry in Flux