The Spanish sporting goods market rose by 5.76 percent to €6,233.7 million at the retail level last year, according to a study presented by Afydad, the Spanish sporting goods industry association, which is making it available only to its members. Carried out by Sport Panel, which surveys the sell-out of its retail panel every year, the 200-page study indicates a slight decline in the growth rate of the sector from the 5.90 percent increase registered in 2015, and some other interesting trends.

The total turnover includes the sale of bicycles and accessories, which had a market share of 23.49 percent. They were followed by running, with a share of 14.93 percent, mountaineering with 8.17 percent, football with 5.51 percent, snow sports with 4.30 percent and basketball with 2.96 percent.

Excluding the cycling sector and other retail channels, footwear products represented 42.57 percent of the market in the stores of multi-sport specialty retailers, apparel 36.77 percent and accessories 8.93 percent. The balance consisted of equipment, with shares of 1.80 percent for racquets, 1.20 percent for skis and 0.88 percent for balls.

Specialty sporting goods retailers raised their combined sales by 6.18 percent last year, reaching a total turnover of €5,199.9 million, with the country's ten biggest integrated specialty retail chains and voluntary groups representing 70 percent of the turnover. Decathlon remained in the pole position with a share of about 30 percent in this segment, followed by Intersport. The study includes El Corte Inglés, the country's biggest department store chain, in this category, with a share of 9 percent.

Alternative retail channels, represented by shoe shops, fashion boutiques and other types of stores, saw their sales of sporting goods increase by 1.75 percent to €841.2 million. Sales made to consumers directly through the internet, mail order catalogs, sports clubs, gyms, and the mono-brand stores and factory outlets of the brands rose at a higher rate of 8.19 percent to €551.4 million.

The authors of the study were unable to quantify the actual purchases made by Spanish consumers over the internet, noting that Tradeinn and other Spanish websites sell products in other countries as well. Other recent studies indicate that more and more Spanish people are buying some sports products over the internet, but they still prefer purchasing them in physical stores – more than in other countries. Only 21 percent of Spanish internet users were planning to buy sports products over the internet earlier this year, mostly through the web stores of brick-and-mortar retailers, down from 38 percent a year earlier.

The total number of points of sale offering sports products in Spain grew last year by 189 units to 9,292, as new openings offset some 500 shutdowns. Of those, only 14.12 percent were operated by the integrated specialty retail chains. The majority of them, or 63.03 percent, were run by totally independent retailers, and 19.26 percent by independent retailers affiliated with a voluntary group. The remaining 3.58 percent were single-brand stores.

Out of the 9,292 points of sale, 5,580 were offering multiple categories of sports products, while the others were concentrating on a single category. The number of stores has nearly doubled from around 5,000 in 1988, due in large part to the proliferation of bike dealerships, of which there are now about 2,700 in Spain.

Sport Panel's study points to a polarization of the market in terms of price positioning, with Decathlon and other major players driving average selling prices downwards and other retailers concentrating on the higher end of the market. On the other hand, the study points to an excessive proliferation of brands in many categories. As in other countries, Spain is moving fast in the direction of omni-channel retailing. The urban lifestyle trend is still strong, as shown by the strong development of sneaker stores, many of which are operated by specialty sports retailers.

On the supply side, the sell-in of sporting goods amounted to €3,601.4 million in 2016, 6.01 percent more than in the previous year. Of this, €2,152.44 million was handled through importers of foreign brands.

Citing the latest government statistics, the study notes that 53.5 percent of the Spanish people practice sports, a percentage that is lower than in many other European countries.

A governmental working group is trying to implement the gradual establishment of a third hour of physical education in secondary schools. Less than half of the Spanish schools offer more than two hours of mandatory physical education per week, although 69 percent of them place their sports facilities at the disposal of the local community after school hours. Among Spanish children below the age of ten, only 30 percent of the boys and 12 percent of the girls spend at least 60 minutes per day on any physical activities. The situation improves in the 11 to 12-year age group, but here also, 39 percent of the boys and 24 percent of the girls don't move enough. The gender gap increases as adolescents get older, with 50 percent of the males and only 14 percent of females in the 13-17 age group complying with the daily 60-minute physical routine.

Spain's Superior Sports Council has also decided to raise the amount of its subsidies to sports federations by one percent this year, with a 10 percent increase for women-specific programs. According to a recent study, only 29.5 percent of all women practice sports frequently in Spain, nearly five percentage points better than in 2014.

Thanks to greater sports participation and fashion trends, the general market situation has been improving for sports products in Spain, especially after the end of the financial crisis at the beginning of the current decade. Per capita spending on sports products reached an annual level of €141.87 in 2016, which was 25.6 percent higher than in 2006. Another recent Spanish study shows that Spanish people spent 5 percent more on sports in 2015, although the increase was concentrated on households with a monthly income of more than €2,500.