Coronavirus Wields the Biggest Financial Blow to the Sports Industry. Upstream Sports Composites Market Slumps by a Painful -14.1%
The global market for Sports Composites is expected to decline by -14.1% in the year 2020 and thereafter recover and grow to reach US$3.9 billion by the year 2027 trailing a post COVID-19 CAGR of 5.3% over the analysis period 2020 through 2027. Sports composites are an indispensable component of advanced sports equipment to help athletes in playing harder and going faster. The need for lightweight and durable products for high-performance sporting goods has resulted in notable evolution of sports equipment materials over years, from standard materials such as wood and metal to composites and carbon fibers. Equipment like bikes, skis, arrows, racquets, hockey sticks and vaulting poles have gradually transitioned from heavier options towards composites for robust and lightweight construction. In the recent years, various companies have started offering advanced composite materials including epoxy resins, prepregs, carbon fiber fabrics and polyurethane systems to allow production of lighter, durable and stronger snowboards and skis for sporting enthusiasts and world-class players. Based on epoxy resins along with aramid, glass and carbon reinforcements, advanced pregreg materials are changing the sports domain by allowing faster curing and superior adhesion for sports equipment without compromising over desirable features. Epoxy prepregs present a cost-effective option to manufacture sophisticated composite parts for sports equipment. These high-flow resins play an important role in considerably accelerating the curing cycle by leveraging low-pressure processing methods. These materials allow manufacturers to produce water and snow skis at significantly faster rates. In addition, these prepregs are used for making lightweight bicycle wheels with desirable surface finish.
With social distancing seen as the only available and effective way to slow the spread of the disease until a vaccine arrives, all sporting events have been cancelled in 1st and 2nd quarters 2020 all over the globe. Annual competitions have been suspended, and major sporting events postponed or cancelled ranging from football, cricket, fencing, hockey, Formula 1 racing, cycling, sailing to skiing. The Tokyo 2020 Olympics has been postponed to July 2021. Few of the other major sporting events cancelled include MLB baseball which was scheduled in March 2020; Nippon Professional Baseball in Japan; KBO League in South Korea; NBA Basketball; South Korean Basketball League; Series A in Italy; NBL in Australia; Euro League: Milan vs. Real Madrid; European Rugby Championship; Super Rugby; Asian skateboarding street championship; Alpine Skiing World Cup; Ski Cross World Cup; Snowboard World Cup; among numerous others. As a result the sporting industry is faced with immense financial challenges impacting event organizers, sponsors, broadcasting companies and participants alike. With all sporting events likely to remain muted until 2021, demand for sporting goods has and will remain impacted. Even as governments around the world begin to cautiously loosen restrictions and reopen the economy, all public places, the scenario spells financial ruin for sports retailing. Participation in outdoor hobby sports has been largely replaced by at-home exercises & workouts. In response to the prevailing scenario, consumer spending on professional sporting goods is declining sharply. Reduced footfall in physical retail stores as a result of consumers avoiding all non-essential trips to shopping malls is a major reason for declining sales. New regulations such as health screenings and immunity passports will disincentivize consumer travel plans.
The second wave of infections that are now beginning to accompanying the decision to open up the economy is expected aggravate the situation further. Against this backdrop, sports vacations and health and fitness travel have taken a massive hit. Currently muted is travel to exotic locations for indulgence in sports such as Nevis West Indies for cycling or triathlons; Western Australia for kayaking and tree climbing; Dolomite Mountains Italy for hiking and running; Crete Greece for swimming; Great Wall of China for marathon; Ciudad Perdida Colombia for trekking; coastlines of western UK for Coasteering; Caribbean for CrossFit. The scenario has led to a sharp decline in demand and sales of sporting gear. Upstream sports goods manufacturing is feeling the impact of falling demand & the recession, rising unemployment rates & shrinking disposable incomes will make for a bumpy and rough recovery. In the post COVID-19 period, growth will be driven by sustained efforts to develop sports equipment and accessories with improved mechanical properties, strength and durability. Innovations and new solutions that reduce costs and enable increased integration of composite parts into lightweight applications bodes well for future market growth. The golf clubs segment is estimated to occupy the largest share of the market due to increasing adoption of sports composites for golf shaft designing to reduce shaft mass. Bicycle frames also continues to be the major application segment, which is estimated to record robust growth as a result of rising adoption of lightweight bicycles for recreational activities along with competitive sports. The increasing use of carbon fibers that improve bike control and reduces costs is expected to augment the segment's growth. The sports composites market is also expected to benefit resurging demand for skis and snowboards. The adoption of GRPs for creating a protective layer for skis and snowboards improves board control for players. These segments are likely to gain further due to increasing use of glass composites in skis for enhanced geometry, low risk of bond failure and reduced cost.
Competitors identified in this market include, among others,
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