Industry Experiences Largest Single Year Growth in a Decade; 4% Higher Than GDP

SILVER SPRING, MD (June 1, 2022) – The Sports & Fitness Industry Association (SFIA) has released its 2022 State of the Industry Report, which features an in-depth analysis of the trends and issues affecting the sports and fitness industry, including participation, economy, and the industry environment in 2021.

Despite battling complicated supply chain challenges and the ongoing effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, the sports and fitness industry produced unprecedented growth in 2021. The industry grew by a cumulative 15.8%, accounting for athletic footwear, apparel, sports and fitness equipment, accessories, and licensed products. For the second year in a row, the industry outperformed other sectors of the economy, returning 4% higher growth than the current dollar GDP – reflecting further strength of the sports and fitness market.

“The industry had a banner year by delivering products to work out, play sports, enjoy the outdoors, compete, and be a part of a team – the very outcomes Americans needed most as they emerged from pandemic restrictions and altered lifestyles,” said Tom Cove, President & CEO, SFIA. “This report also outlines substantial positive momentum going forward, especially in terms of forecasts for the future health of the industry, inventories, and broadening channels to reach consumers.”

In 2021, the sports and fitness industry showed the largest number of companies increasing profitability since 2015, with just over 59% showing an increase. However, a significant number of companies struggled to see positive trends in profitability in year two of the pandemic, as 30.4% reported a decrease – the second-highest number since 2012, only to be beaten by 2020 (53.8%).

“Of course, the current challenges facing our national economy could create headwinds,” Cove added. “The global supply chain is not yet fixed, and we are monitoring how inflation may affect consumer behavior in the future.”

Despite the continued challenges of the pandemic, the outlook for most companies is still positive due in large part to increased sales due to an online presence. Online sales remained strong as 76% of companies showed increased sales on their own website and 66% saw growth through third-party platforms – with 81.6% of companies predicting increased sales through their websites in 2022.

Additionally, brick and mortar sales still showed importance for brands with 56.8% and 55.7% of companies showing increases in their own store and specialty retailers, respectively. As both brick and mortar and online platforms present value for companies, nearly 70% of companies reported planning for an increase in their R&D investment next year – the largest increase in four years.

Cove states, “The best news is Americans today appreciate even more the value and benefits of an active lifestyle for both physical and mental health, and our industry is providing products and opportunities to make that happen.”

The 2022 State of the Industry Report is free to SFIA Members and is available to the public for purchase by clicking here for $649.

The report is provided free of charge to members of the media.

If you are interested in a copy, please contact Lisa Futterman at [email protected].


The Sports & Fitness Industry Association (SFIA), the #1 source for sport and fitness research, is the leading global trade association of manufacturers, retailers, and marketers in the sports products and fitness industry. SFIA seeks to promote sports and fitness participation, as well as industry vitality through research, thought leadership, public affairs, industry affairs, and member services.

For more information, please visit sfia.org.