The World Federation of the Sporting Goods Industry (WFSGI) has shared the outcome of the October edition of its WFSGI Covid-19 Impact Survey. As a summary, the federation said that “the industry has a plan, but will need time to adopt and adapt to changes triggered by the pandemic.”

Executive summary of the October survey:

1) Responses of manufacturing companies

  • Demand: Less than one third of survey participants didn’t see orders decrease. The situation remains challenging for the European and Northern American markets from where 50 percent see less orders being made. However, it seems that for most other regions the situation has not further deteriorated.
  • Logistics: Of the 36 percent that are facing issues getting enough material for their production, the most given reason was that finished goods were not shipped in time and delayed.
  • Supply: Still 64 percent of sporting goods industry representatives see their supply chains being disrupted. They see this issue mainly for the regions of South Asia and Far East.
  • Labor: Over 60 percent are no longer confronted with labor shortage which is the most promising result since the initiation of the survey.
  • Legal: There is very low difference between sporting goods members being impacted by legal requirements or not, this month again some 4 percent more see their business activity being restricted by regulatory measures.
  • Finance: The situation remains stable with fifty-fifty dealing with cash flow issues or not.
  • Regression: The numbers of survey participants seeing their business being impacted by Covid-19 is still high with 70 percent, that’s only 5 percent less than last month.
  • Recovery: Since the summer months, it’s the first time that some respondents expect business recovery of 70 percent and above. However, this does not counter the fact that most companies assume that they will need over a year to recover.
  • Measures: A large majority of over 95 percent of respondents have a plan to sustain operations with a special focus on consolidating production capacities and lean production.

2) Responses of retail and brand companies:

  • Impact mitigation: Increasing online sales remains unchanged the most chosen option by close to 90 percent to mitigate the impact of the pandemic. All other option have received from less than 35 percent of participants approval.
  • Repercussion: Since summer, consolidating the supply chain and keeping the same supply chain but attributing less order to each of the suppliers, are the two answers mostly provided.
  • Priority: The industry attributes the same importance to Employees Health as it does to keeping cash positions.
  • Expectations: With over 80 percent of respondents expecting flexibility of suppliers, this option remains throughout the year the most important answer provided..
  • Transformation: The trend shows clearly that none of the participating industry players plan to keep their supply chain unchanged. Lean and adaptive production are the most prominent considerations.
  • Sourcing Priorities: The trend continues upwards for respondents who are not reframing their sourcing priorities at all, as over 40 percent of respondents indicated this month.
  • Market Trends: The strong trend continues as environmentally friendly products are the crucial trend for over 80 percent of participants.
  • Prevailing Sports: Running is for the first time since May as important as Outdoor with close to 80 percent of respondents predicting these two as the prevailing sports after the pandemic.

The WFSGI president and chief executive, Robbert de Kock, commented the results: “In a hopeful way, we have evaluated the results that the situation around orders do not further deteriorate. It is also good to see that labor shortage is no longer causing problems for the majority of the sector. This might help to balance the concerns still prevailing when it comes to supply chain disruption and material shortage.” He pointed out that most players in the industry are forecasting that they need over a year for their business to recover. “Over 95 percent of companies seem to be prepared for that period as they have a plan to sustain operations, this is a promising sign to accept this challenge.” Responses also show that the supply chains will undergo changes, and with a clear support for environmentally friendly products, there seem to already be first signs in which directions these changes point. De Kock said that the WFSGI will put a special focus and dedication to assist the global industry as good as possible to bridge the period of recovery and provide the necessary support.”

The November edition of the monthly survey is now online here and is open to all sporting goods companies regardless of whether or not they are WFSGI members. The survey is anonymous as no individual or company data are requested to take part in it.