Sports Apparel Market in Japan: Key Research Findings 2020

Yano Research Institute (the President, Takashi Mizukoshi) carried out a survey on the domestic sports apparel market and found out the market size by sports category, the trend of market players and of logistics, and future perspectives.

Transition and Forecast of Sports Apparel Market Size
Transition and Forecast of Sports Apparel Market Size

Market Overview

Size of the 2020 domestic sports apparel market, based on the domestic shipment value at manufacturers, is projected to end up with 486,870 million yen, 86.7% of that of the previous year. COVID-19 pandemic stopped the club activities at schools, and temporarily closed sports schools and public gymnasiums from the beginning of March, diminishing the opportunities for the nation to enjoy sports, which reduced the demand for sports clothing. This dropped the sales at retailers nationwide in early springtime when in usual years the demand for each sports clothing was supposed to substantially rise for new-semester preparations.

The request and consultations to the manufacturers increased at retailers for cancelling the product orders and for postponing the delivery of goods due to sluggish sales. In the situation where the retailers increasingly started being at the brink of bankruptcy, the manufacturers responded to such requests for fear not to lose future clients. This is likely to extremely reduce shipment value from the previous year. Exceedingly harsh result is expected in the sports apparel market, as the domestic shipment value of sports apparel products in all sports categories is expected to fall from the previous year, heavily affected by the COVID-19 infections.

Noteworthy Topics

Shipment Value for Outdoor Clothing Expected to Be Largest Among All Categories in 2020

In 2020, the shipment value of outdoor clothing is projected to attain the largest value among all the sport clothing categories, replacing that of training apparel that had kept being the largest shipment value for some time.

Outdoor clothing has kept on growing due to expansion of lifestyle demand, indicating that people started wearing outdoor apparel for everyday clothing. With high functionality required in the outdoor environment, such as in the event of mountain climbing or trekking, outdoor clothing is comfortable to wear also in the urban lifestyles, which led volume sporting goods stores and apparel specialty stores to enhance the sales of such items. Those major outdoor brands with high degree of awareness, such as THE NORTH FACE and Patagonia, are popular also as casual fashion brands, which is reflected in the fact that iconic staple products for such brands continue being in a short supply. The items by such brands are not only sold at outdoor specialty stores and volume sporting goods stores, but also at casual clothing specialty stores, which is increasing the contact points with consumers and improving the awareness ever more, generating a virtuous circle for the brands.

Despite such expansion, outdoor clothing is likely to go through negative growth just like other categories in 2020, failing to prevent from the influence of COVID-19 pandemic. All the same, the interest in outdoor brands by consumers remains high. In addition, the demand for outdoor products has been driven by some consumers willing to leave cities and go out for camping aiming at preventing “three Cs (closeness).” When compared with training apparel with its demand considerably diminishing due to opportunity losses of playing or enjoying any sports, outdoor clothing has managed to minimize the decrease, and is likely to attain the largest shipment among all the sports categories.

Future Outlook

The domestic sports apparel market size in 2021 based on the shipment value at manufacturers is forecasted to attain 541,100 million yen, 111.1% of the size of the previous year.

This forecast considerably exceeds the previous-year results, but is on the assumption that the influence of COVID-19 infections will not expand to the level in the spring of 2020. However, all the retailers regardless of business forms are considered to concentrate on depleting all the stock on hand especially during the spring and summer of 2021. Therefore, retailers are projected to increase the sales of reduced-priced products, while manufacturers are to significantly discount their products at their online websites and directly-operated outlet stores, aiming at consuming all the products at inventory as much as possible. Despite such efforts, the products to be carried over from the autumn of 2020 are likely to be more than usual years at any retailers in 2021. The spring of 2021 is expected to be full of such special-price products at retailers.

In addition, it has been difficult for the manufacturers to appeal the novel ideas in their new items and to show the difference between new products and old ones. This may cause new products released to look just like the old ones. When the similar products are at a store, consumers are apt to buy old ones because of their lower prices. With such a tendency in mind, many manufacturers reduce the number of new items as well as the volume of each of new items to release in 2021, prioritizing the reduction of old products being in stock since the last season. Therefore, the domestic shipment value of sports apparel products for 2021 is likely to exceed that of 2020 but is not expected to return to the level of 2019.

Research Outline

1.Research Period: September to November 2020
2.Research Object: Sports related enterprises (manufacturers, wholesalers, suppliers, and retailers)
3.Research Methogology: Face-to-face interviews by the expert researchers, telephone/email surveys, and in-mail questionnaire

The Sports Apparel Market

The sports apparel market in this research refers to the market of clothing for the following 12 categories; training, lifestyle, golf, outdoor, soccer/futsal, baseball/softball, tennis, track & field/running, swimming, basketball, ski/snowboard, and others. The “others” include sportswear for volleyball, Judo, Kendo, Karate, rugby, table tennis, etc.

<Products and Services in the Market>

Products (Clothing for training, lifestyle, golf, outdoor, soccer/futsal, baseball/softball, tennis, track & field/running, swimming, basketball, ski/snowboard, and others), sports apparel brand ranking, shipment value by retailer (volume sporting goods stores, sports specialty stores, direct shops, department stores, ecommerce, outlet stores directly owned by brands, casual clothing stores, shops within commercial facilities)

Published Report

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