Sporting Goods Wholesaling in the US Industry Market Research Report from IBISWorld has Been Updated

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It has been a tough race for sporting goods wholesalers over the past five years, though revenue is anticipated to benefit from renewed spending and demand over the next five-year period. For these reasons, industry research firm IBISWorld has updated a report on the Sporting Goods Wholesaling industry in its growing industry report collection.

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Growth will be modest due to demand for sports that require less equipment

The Sporting Goods Wholesaling industry transitioned from quick, steady growth to several years of decline when consumer incomes dropped in 2008 and 2009. According to IBISWorld industry analyst Dale Schmidt, “To save money in an uncertain economy, consumers did not replace sporting goods as often, and many borrowed or purchased used goods.” Because consumers sought better deals online instead of at traditional points of sale, wholesalers were forced to sell discounted goods to e-tailers. As a result, industry revenue has grown at only an average annual rate of 0.1% since 2008. Revenue is expected to grow 2.0% to $38.2 billion in 2013 as per capita disposable income only grows 1.2% and continues to limit consumers' budgets.

To increase profit, the industry has focused on selling higher-quality goods and more products in bulk. On the National Sporting Goods Association's list of 36 sporting goods, two-thirds of the items increased in price between 2005 and 2009 despite the recession. “The industry benefited from increasing prices for sporting goods because retailers and producers hiked prices to sustain revenue with lower sales volumes,” says Schmidt. The latter strategy was facilitated by mergers in the downstream Sporting Goods Stores industry (IBISWorld report 45111), where nationwide or regional chains became the dominant enterprise type. Likewise, industry consolidation led to a five-year annualized decrease in enterprises of 1.5% to 15,155 in 2013. Wholesale bypass has diminished over the five years to 2013 because the industry has set itself apart from other suppliers. The industry is investing in technologies that facilitate the ordering process, such as business-to-business online ordering systems. Distributors also improved customer service by hiring fewer, yet higher-quality representatives. This factor has led to a 2.3% average annual decline in employment to 61,430 people over the five years to 2013.

Sporting goods wholesalers operate in a highly fragmented industry, which reflects the diversity of products on offer. As a result, this industry has a low level of concentration due to the lack of dominant operators with considerable market share. Instead, industry operators typically specialize in a certain type of sporting goods, such as golf equipment or home fitness equipment. Hence, this industry is highly competitive, with wholesalers competing on brands offered, storage efficiency and distribution. Concentration in this industry has risen moderately in the five years to 2013, due to merger and consolidation activity within the industry.

Future revenue will be slow to return to prerecession levels because of the increasing popularity and development of forms of exercises like yoga that do not require significant purchases from this industry. Revenue will also be held back by increasing competition from abroad, as more and more manufacturing and wholesaling takes place outside the country. Over the five years to 2018, revenue is projected to grow.

For more information, visit IBISWorld’s Sporting Goods Wholesaling in the US industry report page.

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IBISWorld industry Report Key Topics

Operators in this industry wholesale a range of sporting and recreational goods and accessories, such as billiards equipment, pool supplies, sporting firearms and ammunition, and marine craft and equipment. This industry does not include the wholesale of athletic apparel and footwear, automobiles, other motor vehicles or transportation equipment.

Industry Performance
Executive Summary
Key External Drivers
Current Performance
Industry Outlook
Industry Life Cycle
Products & Markets
Supply Chain
Products & Services
Major Markets
Globalization & Trade
Business Locations
Competitive Landscape
Market Share Concentration
Key Success Factors
Cost Structure Benchmarks
Barriers to Entry
Major Companies
Operating Conditions
Capital Intensity
Key Statistics
Industry Data
Annual Change
Key Ratios

About IBISWorld Inc.
Recognized as the nation’s most trusted independent source of industry and market research, IBISWorld offers a comprehensive database of unique information and analysis on every US industry. With an extensive online portfolio, valued for its depth and scope, the company equips clients with the insight necessary to make better business decisions. Headquartered in Los Angeles, IBISWorld serves a range of business, professional service and government organizations through more than 10 locations worldwide. For more information, visit or call 1-800-330-3772.

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Gavin Smith
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