Sales Fell by 75 Percent In April for Almost One-Third of Fitness Suppliers Due to COVID-19, Per SFIA Survey

(Photo by skynesher/iStock/Getty Images Plus. ) April revenue for a majority of suppliers declined by at least 25 percent compared to April 2019 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a Sports & Fitness Industry Association survey of sporting goods equipment manufacturers, fitness equipment manufacturers, retailers, and sport and fitness technology companies.

More than 70 percent of sports and fitness manufacturers and businesses reported a sales decrease of more than 25 percent for the month of April (comparing April 2020 sales to April 2019 sales), with 30 percent of respondents reporting a sales decrease of greater than 75 percent, according to a survey by the Sports & Fitness Industry Association (SFIA), Silver Spring, Maryland.

The SFIA COVID-19 Response Survey, which was conducted from May 11-18, reflected responses from 228 sporting goods equipment manufacturers, fitness equipment manufacturers, retailers, and sport and fitness technology companies.

“It is not news that the pandemic struck our industry hard,” said Tom Cove, president and CEO of SFIA. “But the immediacy and magnitude of the decline of sales across so many categories was dramatic. That said, this survey does identify hopeful signs, especially in the confidence respondents showed in predicting increased sales in the second half of this year. We will conduct this new survey on a monthly basis to identify what is working and track how the industry is evolving.”

The respondents’ projections for May were mostly for lower sales compared to May 2019 with only five percent of respondents anticipating sales would be flat or unchanged and 12 percent anticipating sales would be higher. The rest of respondents predicted sales would be lower:

  • 9 percent - Down 1 percent to 20 percent
  • 17 percent - Down 21 percent to 40 percent
  • 18 percent - Down 41 percent to 60 percent
  • 23 percent - Down 61 percent to 80 percent
  • 16 percent - Down greater than 80 percent

Their outlook for fiscal year 2020 was mostly negative with all but 18 percent anticipating sales would be down for the year:

  • 11 percent - Up
  • 7 percent - Flat/unchanged
  • 21 percent - Down 1 percent to 20 percent
  • 30 percent - Down 21 percent to 40 percent
  • 20 percent - Down 41 percent to 60 percent
  • 10 percent - Down 61 percent to 80 percent
  • 2 percent - Down greater than 80 percent

When it comes to fulfilling and distributing orders, the majority of suppliers were experiencing moderate to significant delays. Forty-four percent said they had moderate delays while 10 percent said their delays were significant. Twenty-six percent said they had no delays. (Twenty-one percent said delays were not applicable to their business.)

Those delays may be in part to measures suppliers had to take during the pandemic. Some had taken multiple measures. Forty-five percent furloughed staff, and 42 percent laid off staff. Forty-four percent reduced staff salary and 40 percent reduced staff hours. Twenty-two percent said their companies had seen a drop in revenue but had not furloughed or laid off staff, or reduced staff salary or hours. Nine percent said they had not experienced a drop in revenue.

Most of the respondents said that health clubs would be reopened no later than July or August, anticipating opening dates as the following:

  • 23 percent – Clubs reopening in May-June
  • 40 percent - Clubs reopening in July-August
  • 24 percent - Clubs reopening in September-October
  • 6 percent - Clubs reopening in November-December
  • 8 percent - Clubs reopening in 2021 or later

 

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