The World Federation of the Sporting Goods Industry (WFSGI) has released the results of the September edition of its WFSGI Covid-19 Impact Survey, a monthly report conducted among manufacturers as well as retailers and brands across the sporting goods sector to explore the effects of the pandemic on their businesses. It indicates, among other things, that the industry has overcome the supply chain disruption caused by the epidemic, with 40 percent of the respondents saying that it is not an issue for them. The market situation remains challenging, nevertheless, as 75 percent of all the respondents see their business as being impacted by the coronavirus. This is 10 percentage points more than in the July survey, where the index was it its lowest level.

Among the sporting goods manufacturing companies, only 20 percent are experiencing no decline in their orders, but nearly 70 percent of the respondents are facing a decrease in orders from Europe – a larger percentage than in the previous monthly survey. Orders from Africa and the Middle East are also declining, while for all other regions, the respondents said that the decrease has slowed down.

More than 30 percent of the manufacturers are still facing shortages of materials, with production bottlenecks being indicated as the main reason for the shortages by 40 percent of respondents. Material shortages are now due mainly to shipments being withheld at borders, while the closure of suppliers’ factories is less of an issue than before.

Meanwhile, labor shortages have continued to decline for three months in a row. However, around 7 percent of the manufacturing companies are reporting that their business has been affected by the absence of employees infected with Covid-19, which is higher than the average ratio of the past six months. This adds to the fact that 20 percent of the suppliers mentioned the issue of employees who are taking care of infected family members, a percentage that is now back to April levels, while it was down to zero in July.

The outlook for the coming months is mixed among the suppliers and, as WFSGI noted, generally more pessimistic than in the July survey. The majority expect to resume 20 percent of their usual business, but 7 percent still expect to see no rebound at all. Regarding the time needed for a full recovery, 60 percent of manufacturers think it will take more than a year, up from 45 percent in the previous monthly survey.

For the sporting goods brands and retailers that participated in the September survey, online sales again emerged as the favorite option to mitigate the pandemic’s impact. Among the other options, keeping minimum inventory is gaining in popularity.

When asked about the emerging market trends after the pandemic, 70 percent of respondents pointed to environmentally friendly products. As for the leading sports activities after the first wave of the pandemic, outdoor activities were again at the top of the list. Interestingly, all the other sports (running, basketball, football, baseball, walking, cycling, swimming) showed decreasing numbers. Outdoor sports were the only ones that showed an increase.

A new edition of the survey is already online at https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/P2CP3CX. The WFSGI invites all interested sporting goods companies, even non-members of the WFSGI, to participate. The survey is anonymous, as no individual or company data are requested.