sports goods industry

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The sphere of production creating goods for purchase and consumption relating to the practice of or an interest in a sport: this can be any of a myriad of economic goods or products, from the tennis racket to the computer game. The scale of the industry's subsector will be related to the number of participants (the potential market) in a particular sport: demand for cricket goods, for instance, in England, will far exceed demand for mountaineering or snowboarding equipment. The biggest demand is for goods that can be used in multiple contexts—the crossover trainer in gymnasium and in hillwalking, the T-shirt in cycling and general leisure activity, what are called ‘trite’ sports goods. More specialist sports goods restricted to one sporting practice are called ‘equipment-intensive’ goods. Trite sports goods operate in macro-markets, equipment-intensive goods in micro-markets (but with the potential for high levels of profit).

The sports goods industry exhibited high growth in the final quarter of the 20th century, with the emergence of a more sophisticated media image for sport, the emphasis on leisure and lifestyle markets, and a loosening of constraints on clothing styles and conventions. But in the final years of the century the boom growth looked over, with slowed growth and lower profitability. A decade on from then, in the global economic downturn in which discriminating consumers began to look for durability rather than the new or the novel, the sports goods industry's future looked less certain than it had seemed in the expansive years of the later 1980s and the early 1990s. See also demand; supply.

Subjects: Sport and Leisure.

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