Banner depicting images representing footwear, apparel, and wearables

COVID-19 Impact on 2020 U.S. Sportswear Sales

Roger Best, Dennis Howard, Ofuma Eze-Echesi, and David Borlack

Overview: In the last year, the COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted our lives in unimaginable ways. Fitness clubs are closing while the home exercise equipment industry is booming. Sports equipment used for football, baseball, and soccer are down in revenues while outdoor recreation equipment for camping, kayaking, and hiking are up. But what about sportswear?

This article examines the COVID-19 impact on U.S. sportswear revenues. As shown above, we have broken this down into three segments to sportswear—footwear, apparel and wearables (technology worn on the body such as smartwatches). We will examine the COVID-19 impact for both 2020 and 2021 U.S. sportswear sales.

What We Know: 2019


Sportswear is a global market that includes sports footwear, apparel, and wearables. In 2019 worldwide sales of sportswear was $353.7 billion. U.S. sportswear sales were $130.1 billion in 2019.1 The U.S. market, while only 4.4 percent of the world’s population, accounted for almost 37 percent worldwide sportswear sales in 2019 as shown in Figure 1. This percentage has steadily increased from 31 percent of global sales in 2012.

As shown in Figure 1, 24.1 percent of global disposable income is in the United States. This propels consumer spending which is 28.5 percent of global spending and retail sales which is 20.3 percent of worldwide retail sales.2 The combination of fewer households (5.7 percent of world) and 37 percent of global sportswear sales puts sportswear sales per household at $1,084 in 2019. The United States is 6.5 times higher than the global average of $167 per household and almost 10 times higher than the rest of the world at $112 per household.

The table below shows how much consumers spent on sportswear in the United States and around the world in 2019. The figures were used to develop a forecast of the United States and global sportswear sales prior to COVID-19.