The French sporting goods market posted a 3 percent increase in 2014, mainly driven by an increase in sports participation during the period. According to the figures recently issued by NPD Group, this is the best performance for France in the last five years. Combined sales of sports apparel, footwear and equipment had grown by 1 percent between 2012 and 2013. The increase between 2010 and 2012 was 2 percent annually, while sales figures remained flat between 2009 and 2010.

The top selling sports in 2014 were running, basketball and the group of physical activities that can be practiced in a gym, including fitness, yoga, Pilates and others. Football also performed very well, says NPD, boosted by the FIFA World Cup in Brazil.

By category, footwear grew by 8 percent, mostly driven by the “lifestyle” models, which posted a 7 percent increase. Apparel reversed the negative trend of 2013 and posted an average 1 percent growth, although some segments reached increases of 5 percent or more. NPD mentions football jerseys, tracksuits pants, capri pants, windproof and waterproof jackets and others.

In 2014 the market was driven by adults' products, with men and women scoring similar performances, while sales of children's goods dropped 4 percent, due to a declining trend for baby designer shoes and lower sales of lifestyle sneakers.

For 2015, NPD expects the sporting goods market in France to slow down compared with 2014, due to a low or zero inflation economic environment and a natural deceleration after the exceptional results of 2014. Nevertheless, the market should grow at a rate of around 2 percent. Specifically, shoes are expected to post 3 percent growth while apparel should again increase by 1 percent, similar to 2014.