Sports goods market in Poland keeps growing fast

The sports goods market in Poland grew by an impressive 7.9% in 2016 to reach PLN 8.7bn, in what was its best performance in seven years, according to a new report from PMR “Sports goods and sportswear market in Poland 2017. Market analysis and development forecasts for 2017-2022.”

The strength of the Polish sports goods market is attributable to several factors, most notably the growing trend for a healthy lifestyle among Poles, ongoing development of the country’s sports infrastructure, and strong macroeconomic fundamentals. Major sporting events hosted by Poland and rising popularity of employee sports passes such as Multisport have played a role too. We expect the rate of market growth to decelerate in the years ahead, however, due to increasing market saturation.

The market is booming, but not everyone is benefitting equally. The players doing particularly well are the large-format sports goods stores such as Decathlon, Go Sport or Martes Sport. With their broad product assortment and low prices, these mass-market chains cater perfectly to the needs of amateur sports enthusiasts or people who are only starting to exercise. Specialty retailers oriented towards highly conscious consumers are doing well too.

Small independent stores are faring worse. They are finding it increasingly difficult to compete with the sports goods chains, with online retailers, and also with grocery discounters, who offer selected sports goods under time-limited special offers at very low prices.

Apparel is the biggest segment of the Polish sports goods market, accounting for nearly 40% of its value in 2016. Apparel also has the best long-term growth prospects. However, it is footwear that has enjoyed the fastest growth in the last few years, thanks in large part to the rising popularity of jogging and running among Poles. The equipment and accessories segment also did well in 2016.

The biggest player on the market is the French sports goods chain Decathlon, with a market share double that of its nearest rival Marketing Investment Group (the operator of Sizeer and 50 Style stores, among others).