The global branded sports hardware market grew by only 2.9 percent in dollar terms last year at the wholesale level, reaching $67.3 billion, breaking a three-year-old acceleration, according to an annual survey of major players by Sporting Goods Intelligence. The sports equipment market had risen by 6.6 percent in 2012, but the depreciation of the yen and softness in cycling and fitness led to the industry's slowdown in 2013.

As in previous years and for other segments of the global sporting goods market, we use all the available figures, input from management and market estimates to put together our annual global sports equipment chart featured in this issue. We have tried to eliminate the contribution of apparel and footwear wherever possible. All the values are translated into U.S. dollars based on the average exchange rate for the year compiled by the OECD.

The 4.8 percent increase to $29.6 billion in the U.S. was partly due to an exceptional, politically-induced 43.4 percent jump to $2.3 billion in the national firearms market, which is an important component of the American sporting goods retail sector. Sales of sports equipment outside the U.S. rose by only 1.4 percent to $37.7 billion, but this was partly due to a decline of nearly 22 percent for the yen against the dollar.

After rising by almost 11 percent in 2012, the revenues of Shimano, Giant, Accell Group and other major companies in the cycling sector increased by just 0.1 percent to $8.8 billion in the following year. A slowdown was also recorded in the global golf market, where the four major players – Adidas, Nike, Acushnet and Callaway – saw their combined equipment sales rise by 7.1 percent to $5.7 billion, with increases of 8.9 percent in the U.S. and 5.4 percent elsewhere, reaching almost equal levels. Fishing tackle is included in Shimano's turnover in our chart. Non-golf products such as footballs are included in the figures listed for the Adidas Group.

The major suppliers of winter sports, fishing and outdoor equipment – Jarden, Amer Sports, Head, Johnson Outdoors, Rapala, Rossignol and Black Diamond - saw their sales rise by 2.5 percent last year to nearly $6.5 billion. Their sales rose by 1.9 percent to $3.4 billion in the U.S. and by 3.2 percent to $3.0 billion in the rest of the world, but they included other products such as tennis racquets and diving equipment.

Brunswick (Life Fitness), Icon, Johnson Health tech and Nautilus, which are the four major individual suppliers of fitness equipment aside from Amer's Precor subsidiary, suffered a 2.5 percent drop in their combined sales to $2.4 billion, but while they fell by 4.4 percent to $1.7 billion in the U.S., they increased by 2.1 percent to more than $700 million elsewhere.

The global sports equipment market remains very fragmented, with the major supplier, Shimano, holding a market share of only 4.12 percent. However, we continue to see some modest concentration developing in this market as the top 30 companies accounted for 44.12 percent of the total turnover in 2012, up from 43.27 percent the year before.

Using a similar approach, we are going to analyze the global sports apparel, athletic footwear and brown shoe markets later this year.

Click HERE to view the chart.