Sporting and Recreational Goods Wholesalers

Industry Profile Report

Dive Deep into the industry with a 25+ page industry report (pdf format) including the following chapters

Industry Overview Current Conditions, Industry Structure, How Firms Operate, Industry Trends, Credit Underwriting & Risks, and Industry Forecast.

Call Preparation Call Prep Questions, Industry Terms, and Weblinks.

Financial Insights Working Capital, Capital Financing, Business Valuation, and Financial Benchmarks.

Industry Profile Excerpts

Industry Overview

The 4,600 sporting goods wholesalers in the US distribute merchandise related to sports and recreational activities. Major product categories include small firearms, ammunition, and shooting aids; athletic equipment and accessories; bicycles and bicycle parts and accessories; swimming pools and related supplies; and playground equipment. Other product categories include camping and fishing equipment; marine pleasure craft, equipment and accessories; skiing and snowboarding equipment; and billiards, pool, and bowling equipment and accessories.

Seasonal Demand

Demand for various types of sporting goods varies throughout the year, depending on the sport.

Dependence On Imports

The majority of sporting goods are manufactured in China or Taiwan, and then shipped to the US by sea.

Industry size & Structure

The average sporting goods wholesaler operates out of a single location, employs 12 workers, and generates about $9-10 million annually.

    • The sporting goods wholesale industry consists of about 4,600 companies that employ about 56,900 workers and generate about $45 billion annually.
    • The industry is concentrated at the top and fragmented at the bottom; the top 50 companies account for about 51% of industry revenue.
    • Large companies include Big Rock Sports, BSN Sports, and United Sporting Companies (Ellett Brothers).
                            Industry Forecast
                            Sporting and Recreational Goods Wholesalers Industry Growth
                            Source: Vertical IQ and Inforum

                            Recent Developments

                            Mar 2, 2023 - Sales Up for Sporting Goods Retailers
                            • Sporting goods store sales were up 6.9% unadjusted year over year and 0.2% month over month seasonally adjusted in January 2023, according to sector calculations released by the National Retail Federation. Overall retail sales were up 6.4% in January 2023 over a year ago and 3% from December 2022, according to the US Census Bureau. NRF’s retail sales calculation, which excludes car dealers, gas stations, and restaurants, showed an increase of 4.8% unadjusted year over year and 1.5% month over month in January 2023. According to NRF Chief Economist Jack Kleinhenz, “Consumer spending clearly picked up after the holidays. Sales were helped along by job and wage growth, slightly lower inflation and unusually warm and dry weather that preceded February’s record cold. A large cost-of-living adjustment gave Social Security beneficiaries more money to spend, and many consumers were still drawing on savings built up during the pandemic.”
                            • Sports participation by Americans increased in 2022 for the fifth consecutive year, posting a 1.9% gain over 2021 and a 9.2% increase from 2017, according to the Sports & Fitness Industry Association’s Topline Participation Report. The report found that 77.6% of Americans, or 236.9 million people, participated in at least one sport, fitness exercise, or outdoor research activity in 2022, which is higher than in the previous five years. The report tracks participation rates of Americans aged six and older across more than 120 different sports, fitness, and outdoor activities. Pickleball remains the fastest-growing sport, with participation nearly doubling in 2022. The racquet sports category is performing well, with higher total participation numbers for all racquet sports compared to the previous year for the first time since 2015. Since 2019, golf and tennis have each grown more than 20%, while yoga has increased by more than 10%. Basketball, outdoor soccer, and flag football have all posted increases since 2019. Activities not yet returning to pre-pandemic levels include facility-based elliptical, group stationary cycling, and weight-resistant machines.
                            • Three-quarters of sporting goods company executives said they plan to expand nearshoring by 2025, according to an annual report by McKinsey & Company and The World Federation of Sporting Goods Industry in FashionUnited UK. The report, titled “Sporting Goods 2023 – The need for resilience in a world in disarray,” cited supply chain disruptions, geopolitical considerations, trade tensions, and rising labor costs in Asia as reasons to move to nearshoring. Companies should consider several variables when researching nearshoring: lead times, risk exposure in the supply chain, labor costs and skill requirements, and sustainability. The report also said sporting goods companies could achieve 5 to 10 percent savings by building supply chain resilience through reviewing sourcing and supply chain options and applying next-generation solutions.
                            • The wholesale distribution industry posted slower revenue growth in the October-December 2022 period due to unfavorable market conditions and concerns about an economic slowdown, according to the Fourth Quarter Baird-MDM Industrial Distribution Survey in Modern Distribution Management. According to the survey, distributors posted an annual growth rate of 4.2% in the fourth quarter, a drop from 9.3% in the third quarter. Distributors reported a softening demand at the end of the third quarter leading to the fourth quarter decline. The 4.2% rate in October-December 2022 is less than half of the overall growth rate in 2022 and was 240 basis points short of Baird’s expectations for the fourth quarter. Baird’s forecast for 2023 still calls for growth, but at a slower pace.
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