Sporting Goods Manufacturers Report Shows Pickleball, Team Sports Up | Sports Destination Management

Sporting Goods Manufacturers Report Shows Pickleball, Team Sports Up

May 10, 2024 | By: Michael Popke

Considering the massive popularity of pickleball in recent years, it should come as no surprise that pickleball paddles and balls represented the highest sales growth rate in the Sports & Fitness Industry Association’s “2024 Manufacturers’ Sales by Category Report.” Pickleball sales in 2023 increased 30.7% from 2022.


Overall, product sales in the sporting goods, fitness and related recreation markets climbed 4.2% in 2023, reaching $121.66 billion. That’s a whopping increase of 26.8% over 2019. From 2010-2020, the industry only surpassed a 4% annual growth rate once, in 2011 (4.2%), according to SFIA.


The recently released report tracks U.S. wholesale revenues in sporting goods and fitness equipment, athletic footwear, sports apparel, and licensed products, further broken down into more than 30 categories. It also provides comparisons to revenues from previous years and includes pickleball as a new product category for 2024.


Team sports category sales performed particularly well in 2023 compared to 2022, with many growing more than 7%. Football, basketball and baseball/softball all saw growth rates over 10%. Football products had the highest team sports category growth at 11.9%, followed by basketball at 10.1% and baseball/softball at 10%. Volleyball was the next highest with 9.3%, followed by ice hockey with 7.3%.


The total sports equipment category reached $32.969 billion in sales in 2023, according to the report.


SFIA sales report“It is encouraging to see so many sports categories doing well, not only on the participation side, but also when it comes to equipment sales,” said Tom Cove, SFIA president and chief executive officer, referencing SFIA’s “2024 Sports, Fitness and Leisure Activities Topline Participation Report,” which was published earlier this year and revealed that a record number of Americans participated in sports and fitness activities in 2023. “Maintaining an over 4% growth rate across all categories going into 2023, especially following a huge year in 2021, is a great sign and shows that Americans’ demand for sports and fitness equipment remains very strong.”


Additionally, both fitness equipment categories — consumer and institutional — increased significantly in 2023. Institutional fitness equipment climbed 11.8% and was led by treadmills (up 23.5%), stair climbing machines (up 13.7%), ellipticals (up 12.1%), and group exercise bikes (11.3%). Consumer equipment was up 8% overall compared to 2022 and was led by exercise cycles (up 12.3%), free weights (up 11.2%) and treadmills (up 10.1%). This is particularly notable, SFIA officials say, given the dramatic swings in the sales of fitness equipment during the pandemic.


Meanwhile, total athletic footwear sales saw an increase of 5.7% in 2023, led by fitness/workout shoes at 17.5% and followed by baseball at 10.6% and running at 8.1%. Total sports apparel sales were up 2.9% compared to 2022, too. Every team uniform category increased, with the overall category growing 6.5%.


According to the SFIA, the association derived information in the report “from a combination of aggregated quantitative data that was collected from a sample of manufacturers in a variety of product categories. The raw numbers were then combined with additional industry data collected throughout the year. The end-product provides yearly projections on the health of the sporting goods and fitness industry. The SFIA contacts more than 300 industry C-level executives for their estimates of sales in categories they are familiar with. These estimates are refined with research from corporate reports, other industry sales reports, and public research.”


The 2024 Manufacturers’ by Sales Category Report is free to SFIA Members, as well as available to the public for $250.

About the Author