GfK: Sales in the Swiss sports market fall slightly again

After soaring in the past two years, the sports market suffered a slight decline in 2023, but remains at a high level: with a sales volume of around 2.17 billion Swiss francs.

Image: Towfiqu barbhuiya; Unsplash.

The Swiss sports market is apparently no longer flying high: according to a survey by GfK Switzerland, the Swiss sports market (excluding bikes) declined by 1.5% in 2023, although it did increase by 2% in 2022 and 14% two years ago. The sales volume amounts to around 2.17 billion Swiss francs.

The outdoor submarket remains significant, with sales of around 450 million Swiss francs, which corresponds to just under 20% of the entire sports market. Sales in the textiles segment remained constant at a high level, while the hardware segment lost sales, particularly in the camping segment, which had increased significantly in the previous year. Sales of outdoor footwear also declined, although this was partially offset by the trend in trail running shoes. In general, "running" remains on trend and recorded growth of 4 percent.

The Leisure segment, which includes everything for leisure time and is sporty, comfortable and casual, continues to grow. This is particularly evident in footwear, where sales increased by 5 percent. However, the line between leisure shoes and regular street shoes is becoming increasingly blurred.

In the 2023 calendar year, sales for snow fell by 2%, despite a mild "non-winter" in 2022. Nevertheless, the demand for winter sports remains unbroken, as the booking figures in winter sports resorts show. Sales in the fitness sector also continued to decline (-3%). Fitness equipment purchased during the coronavirus pandemic appears to have reached its maximum useful life.

Online sales in the sports market are on the rise again - are the turbo years over?

After a breather in 2022, when the importance of online sales declined for the first time, sales increased again: 28% (+1%) of all sports sales were made online in 2023. Shopping behavior is becoming increasingly digital: a GfK study shows that in 2023, sporting goods were increasingly purchased both "hybrid" (i.e. both online and stationary) and exclusively online (71% in total). Before the pandemic, this figure was 62%.

Massive overstocking leading to price reductions and market saturation led to a significant decline in sales in the bicycle market in 2023. In contrast, sales of bicycle accessories, servicing and repairs increased. The market for used bikes should not be underestimated either, as many used bikes came onto the market during the pandemic. While some cyclists may have lost interest, others have upgraded after buying an entry-level model.start of form

Forecast for 2024

Poor consumer sentiment, rising costs in various areas and the resulting reluctance to buy as well as increased search for promotions indicate that the market will tend to decline in 2024. Although a growing population and online business as a driver will probably not be able to fully compensate for this.


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