Reports & Insights

Sports Industry Outperforms US Economy

Sports Industry Outperforms US Economy

You are here:

Reports & Insights

The 2021 State of the Industry report has shown the sports industry strongly outperforming the overall economy in the USA.


Since the start of the pandemic, the sports and leisure industry has outperformed other sectors of the US economy. Despite COVID-restrictions, sporting goods sales recovered to post a small growth of 0.6% compared to 2020. To put this in its historical context, 2020’s 3.5% hit to GDP was greater than the impact of the stock market crash in 2009, when the Sporting Goods Industry suffered more than other sectors. That the trend reversed in 2020 should give cause for optimism.


More recently, this also continues the trend of sporting goods growing faster than the overall economy. In the last decade, 2018 is the only year when GDP has grown faster than sporting goods.


Although this relatively strong performance has not yet fully translated into reinvestment in areas like R&D, the results provide reasons for hope for the future.


The results come from the SFIA State of the Industry report, which provides in-depth analysis of the trends and issues affecting the sports & fitness industry, including supply, demand, sales, acquisitions and bankruptcies and an overview of the macro-economic trends affecting the industry.


The annual report incorporates findings from The SFIA and Sports Marketing Surveys’ industry leading participation research and expertly sourced sporting goods sales information alongside specialist knowledge from industry experts including.


The report both looks back on 2020 and also features forward projections based on evidence given by a robust panel of sports businesses. Learn more about trends and plans for manufacturing, domestic and global production and routes to market, and about the potential stumbling blocks and barriers to progress.


The State of the Industry report will benefit businesses already involved in the industry as well as those businesses or start-up companies hoping to attract investment and developing strategies within the sports and leisure sector.


Keith Storey, President of Sports Marketing Surveys USA, noted, “We know that inactivity is on the wane, but that’s just one of the trends driving impressive performance in the sports industry and sporting goods has shown greater resilience to Covid-19 than many other sectors, so it’s natural that companies are looking to invest. This report provides a perfect foundation for that.”


The State of the Industry report is free to SFIA members and available for $649 to non-members.


For more information about SFIA Research, please email Lisa Futterman, Marketing and Communications Manager at or call 703.403.7264. 


Sports Marketing Surveys is the official research provider to the SFIA. For more information about how Sports Marketing Surveys can help you understand the players, fans, trade and stakeholders who matter to your business, please contact

Sports Marketing Surveys also operates the industry leading Physical Activity Council study of participation in the USA. Reports are available for over 100 sports.

Looking for extensive insight and strategic solutions for your organisation? We can help.