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Outdoor sports equipment sales soar in 2020

At this unprecedented and highly challenging time, there have obviously been heavy financial impacts on a variety of different industries across the country and across the world.

At the same time, there have been a few industries that have really seen their sales spike, with the outdoor sports equipment industry seeing major gains in many areas. With this interesting trend in mind, we thought we’d look at a few examples of where and why this is happening.



Major European sports chain Decathlon has seen a significant increase in sales of hiking, cycling and camping equipment. Covid-19 has seen families look for outdoor activities they can do safely together. Many commuters are also buying bikes and electric scooters to steer clear of public transport if they’re still required to work. Decathlon’s sales rose 14% in August and September as compared to 2019. 

Sales of cycling and commuting equipment saw a 34% increase, while sales of hiking kit rose by 15%.  Decathlon’s chief of finance, Alberto Bottan, said: “The recovery has been much faster than expected. The market is not stagnant any longer.”

Golf equipment

When it comes to golf, a recent report by popular golf retailer Srixon has shown that the number of people looking to take up golf has hit record highs, with it being one of the few sports that can fit well with social distancing measures. Year-on-year, sales of Srixon golf products across Europe were up 34% in June and 58% in July, while in the UK it was 41% in June and 41% in July as compared to the year before.

It is expected that strong sales will be sustained into the autumn months, with the sport continuing to be one of the best options for physical activity in a tiered-lockdown situation. Google searches related to taking up the game have also hit their highest-ever levels this summer.


Home gym equipment

Sales of home gym equipment saw an astonishing spike of 5813% in the weeks after the UK went into lockdown on 23 March. The figures, provided by price comparison site Idealo, showed that trainer purchases have been the most popular buy over the past few months. The move towards home workouts have obviously been prompted by gym closures, but also due to the free online sessions being offered by YouTubers. Joe Wicks set a new record with over one million people tuning in for his 9am workout classes.

One major impact of lockdowns is just how many in the UK have cancelled their gym memberships. One gym said it has lost 178,000 customers, representing a third of its members, over three months. The turn to home gym equipment has seen sales rocket, being up 6,500% from March to September. Weight benches have seen a 4,130% increase, exercise bikes a 2,113% increase and cross trainers being at 815%. In July 2020, gym weight sales in the UK were higher than the entirety of 2019.

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Many areas across the UK open new outdoor gyms during Covid-19

As local councils and community projects look for a way to support their local residents through the various burdens of Covid-19, one area that has been utilised as a positive option is that of installing new outdoor gyms across many parts of the UK.

We are huge believers in the benefits offered by outdoor exercise at any time, but especially this year with so many other options so restricted, so it’s great to see the growing range of outdoor gym equipment options in the UK be enjoyed by so many.

With this in mind, we thought we’d share a few recent examples of new gym installations from around the country that we’ve noticed and enjoyed. We’ll come back and update this as we hear of new examples.


Isle of Wight

A new outdoor gym space has recently been installed at Bouldnor playing fields on the Isle of Wight, through Shalfleet Parish Council funding. Councillors said they researched what items would be best for local residents, compiling a space which offers activities for up to eight users at once.

The area features a double health walker, two slalom skiers for swing movement, a double waist twister, a Tai Chi element for co-ordination, an arm pedal bike for wheelchair users and safety matting around the equipment.



Caerphilly has been blessed with a number of new outdoor gyms across the region, with several spaces installed as part of a Welsh Housing Quality Standard programme in Penyrheol, Gilfach Park Estate, Fochriw and Aberbargoed.

A further contract for around £100,000 has now been awarded to an outdoor fitness equipment manufacturer to install outdoor gyms in Graig y Rhacca, Gelligaer and Cefn Hengoed.


East Devon

There was a recent installation of a new outdoor gym in Seaton’s Seafield Gardens. The £15,000 outlay for the new equipment was funded by Seaton Town Council, with the area to be maintained by East Devon District Council, who stated: “Health and well-being are of paramount importance in these difficult times and I’m sure many people will take the opportunity to use the new equipment free of charge in the open air all year round in the new location in Seafield Gardens.”


These are just a few of the fantastic outdoor gym projects we’ve heard about recently, but we’re sure there are many more popping up all around the UK and being enjoyed by many as they seek safe exercise opportunities.

For anyone who wants to know more about adding their own outdoor gym space, our team would be happy to speak with you in more detail.

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Can the winter sports equipment market keep up with increased demand?

As we have covered in a recent blog, the outdoor sports equipment market has been booming through the spring and summer months of lockdown as people turned to the few activities they were still able to do without much restriction. This is something that at Creative Play we are looking to help with, as we offer a range of outdoor gym equipment and other outdoor sports options.

We can also now bring news of recent trends suggesting that the winter sports equipment market has also surged, to such a degree that some suppliers are worrying whether they can keep up with the increased demand for their equipment.


Demand for items such as cross-country skis and snowmobiles has risen much earlier than usual in some of the main skiing and snowy resort areas across Europe and North America. It looks like there will be a sustained spike in interest, similar to bike and gym equipment sales soaring this spring. To give a real-life example, here’s one story we read about recently.

Dean Sampson, owner of Sampson’s Sporting Life in Winnipeg, said that sales of Nordic-ski items had been “booming off the hook, we’ve never seen anything like it”, with sales levels up to eight times the amount of this time last year. Many winter sports stores say they’ve been busy answering phone calls and arranging roadside pickup orders, with Sampson suggesting that many people chose to put money previously allocated into this year’s holiday into buying equipment for future trips.


Back in April, Sampson took an educated gamble and ordered around five times the quantity of winter sports equipment he usually does, a move that has left him well placed to deal with the increased demand. “From customer after customer phoning around, it sounds like we’re the last store in our city that has much of a collection,” said Sampson. 

He worries that stocks for certain sizes of cross-country skis may see a shortage by late December. He’s normally able to reorder most products on a monthly basis, but the global supply chain is stretched, and Sampson thinks the orders retailers get over the next few weeks will have to be their stock for the remainder of the winter season.

It remains to be seen whether sales will continue to be so high, as well as – crucially – whether supply chains can match the demand, but we hope that people are able to engage in as much outdoor sport as is safely possible before things hopefully return to relative normal at some point next year.

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Sales of protective sports equipment “set to soar” over next five years

The global market for protective sports equipment hit the $9bn mark in 2019, but a number of reports suggest that it could grow by at least 30% over the next five years.

One paper, from Global Market Research, examined the trends that are happening worldwide with regards to the effectiveness and affordability of protective equipment and found that it is likely to be one of the largest growing areas in the entire outdoor sports equipment industry.


There are a variety of reasons for this, from the growing popularity of ‘extreme’ sports, through to a greater awareness of the impacts of head injuries in many of the world’s most notable sports. Additionally, while gym attendance has been hit significantly this year, once society opens up in 2021 and people regain confidence in going to the gym, the protective workout equipment market will only continue to grow.

Here at Creative Play, we are huge proponents of offering the most engaging and effective play and workout opportunities in the safest manner possible. The majority of our equipment is designed for children, so we are even more aware of the need for safety provisions as they are still learning specific motor skills and their physical capacities are still developing.


We would expect to see many of the major players in the Sports Protective Equipment market – CENTURY, McDavid, Shock Doctor Sports, Storelli, Nike, Vista Outdoor, Xenith, Bauerfeind, Adidas, Amer Sports, Under Armour, BRG Sports and Decathlon – to continue to grow, as well as new and innovative suppliers join the market, whether through private investment or public crowd-funding platforms.

The key protective items that are likely to see the most growth would be helmets, eyewear, mouth guards, pads, facemask, straps and protective footwear. Protective equipment is a vital presence across field sports, snow sports, water sports, motor sports and airborne sports, so it makes total sense that their market would grow as the popularity of these sports continues to grow.