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Sporting goods in the United Kingdom (UK)

From footwear to outdoor apparel, leisurewear to fitness equipment - the sports market has been enjoying surging shares globally. The sports and leisure goods industry in the United Kingdom (UK) was not exempt from this global trend either. For instance, after years of fluctuating numbers particularly between 2011 and 2017, total annual turnover of sporting goods manufacturers grew considerably, reaching a grand total of about 840 million British pounds in 2019. And while UK manufacturers' turnover was lower in 2020, when the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic hit, it was still an increase compared to 2018.

UK sports product brands

Sports goods retail has an impressive presence in the UK apparel market. Some of the most ambitious names in UK retail are in sports fashion, including but not limited to JD Sports, Sports Direct, and Gymshark. Over the past five years, the fitness apparel company known as Gymshark has seen a tenfold increase in its annual turnover as well as its gross profit. JD Sports’ transformation from a sportswear retailer to a multi-brand company with high profile sports sponsorships was likewise dramatic. In its 2022 financial year, the company’s annual group revenue reached over eight and a half billion British pounds. Over the course of the last decade, and even during 2020’s COVID-19 pandemic, these three companies expanded their impact on British high streets, while many other sports and activewear brands, such as Mileta Sports and Jacob & Turner Ltd (Trespass), had experienced financial struggles.

Habits of active consumers

It would be fair to say that shoes and sneakers are the crown jewels of the sporting goods industry. Recent surveys in the UK revealed that about 60 percent of consumers had purchased athletic footwear in the past 24 months, making it the country's most commonly purchased type of sports product. In comparison, just over half of surveyed UK shoppers had bought sportswear in the last two years. When it comes to sneaker brands, the UK had a penchant for adidas and Nike. While the two global giants of sports shoes were cherished over other sports shoe brands, UK shoe shoppers also enjoyed brands like Puma and New Balance.


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