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Will the Sporting Goods Resale Industry Win Big in 2019?

With more than 100 million Americans buying sporting goods each year, it’s clear there is a healthy demand within the industry. And as more Americans begin paying more attention to their own health, the market is only expected to grow.

In fact, experts estimate the North American sporting goods market will reach $35 billion by the end of 2023, and it will reach a market share of 40 percent of the global market by the end of the forecasted period.

Still, even as more American children and adults play sports and buy fashion-focused athletic apparel, traditional sellers of workout gear, bats and other sports equipment struggle with declining sales.

Woman shopping in store.

So, what’s behind these seemingly paradoxical market findings? The competitive landscape is evolving, which creates pressure for big-box retailers while offering new opportunities for industry disruptors like Play It Again Sports®.

The sporting goods resale industry has performed extremely well in recent years – especially compared to traditional retailers – and we can expect additional growth in the future.

Not-So-Healthy Competition

Within the sporting goods manufacturing industry, there are 14 key players – from Adidas to Nike – competing with each other to lower prices. Whether that comes in the form of improved distribution channels or efficient supply chain management, they’re all looking for ways to maintain sustainability in the market.

Increasingly, they’re also participating in direct-to-consumer marketing, whose prices threaten big-box retailers like Sports Authority and Dick’s Sporting Goods – chains that have notoriously struggled and closed down hundreds of locations in recent years.

With such a fragmented market and vast competition, traditional manufacturers and retailers have struggled to stand apart from the fray – and it’s shown in their earnings reports.

Sporting goods store.

At the same time, resellers like Play It Again Sports offer consumers all the brand variety they can find at retailers, with prices that are even lower than direct-to-consumer costs for manufacturers. So, even as the sporting goods market sees increasingly cutthroat tactics from the traditional players, it’s also opening up an incredible niche opportunity for resellers – which has also been reflected in our earnings reports.

In fact, Play It Again Sports was just ranked 11th in the 2018 Power Retailers report, which ranks retailers in order of their power within the overall sporting goods retail business. The rankings are based on sales, number of stores, number of employees, position within their category, and influence and reputation within the sporting goods industry. Where traditional retailers and manufacturers are struggling, we have been able to find our place as customers’ go-to sports equipment supplier.

Budget and Environmentally-Conscious Consumers Driving Sales

Another paradox: even as sports participation has risen, Americans are also spending less money on equipment. While there is more demand for equipment now than ever, Americans are no longer willing to shell out hundreds of dollars for equipment – especially for children, who will likely outgrow their gear after just one season.

While big-box retailers and sporting goods manufacturing companies slash prices to appeal to a displaced marketplace, they simply cannot compete with the 70 to 90 percent lower price tags resellers like Play It Again Sports offer consumers. So, understandably, consumers increasingly turn to sports equipment resale franchises for high-quality gently used items with unmatched prices.

The inside of a Play It Again Sports store.

Not only are consumers finding new ways to save money on sporting goods and equipment, they’re also increasingly cognizant of their own environmental impact. Aside from astronomical costs, using equipment for just one season before throwing it away is very wasteful – and Americans are taking note of this. By selling and buying used gear, people are able to keep it out of landfills, give extra life to perfectly good equipment and get much more bang for their buck in the meantime.

How We Fit In

Big box retail closures and increasingly budget and environmentally-conscious consumers present an incredible opportunity for resellers like Play It Again Sports. While there’s still significant industry demand, it’s almost exclusively driven by non-traditional retailers like Play It Again Sports, as we continue to beat out the major players that have dominated the industry in previous years.

If you’re interested in opening a sporting goods resale business with unparalleled demand, check out our website.