The strong trend we saw in golf and team sports equipment under COVID has continued into 2021, with a few notable exceptions. Sales growth for Q1 was robust, up more than 50% compared to 2020 and up more than 40% compared to 2019. There, of course, were several one-offs that drove these trends: the third stimulus check, the early spring, and the surge in vaccines.
I believe the environment for healthy living and fitness remains strong, even if some of the highs of 2020 will be tough to offset.
One of the first positives we are seeing is a return to scholastic sports. While there are still uneven state-by-state responses to reopening schools and scholastic sports, it appears that every state will have resumed at least some sports soon. The National Federation of State High School Associations says that while some kids are back playing this spring, it won’t be until we get to 2022 for “full” participation.
Baseball/softball equipment grew in the mid-singles as compared to 2019. Football equipment nearly doubled against 2019, as some school districts deferred the season until spring. The actual numbers for spring football are small. Soccer sales grew in the high teens compared to 2019. Basketball equipment sales grew more than 40% when viewed again 2019 but declined against 2020. Last year, many parents invested in basketball balls and systems, as an alternative to the cancelled scholastic sports seasons.
Staying fit while remaining socially distant buoyed the racquet sports and golf business, with Q1 up more than 80% compared to 2019.
Punching bags grew more than 80% for the quarter, viewed against 2019. It looks like the frustrations of the pandemic have not yet completely receded.
Barring a new wave of the virus, we expect interest in golf and team sports equipment to remain strong for the year.
Source: The NPD Group/ U.S. Retail Tracking Service