Sports Protective Equipment Material Market size is estimated to reach US$1.8 billion by 2027 after growing at a CAGR of 4.2% from 2022-2027. Sports protective equipment material refers to the material which is used in making gears and equipment which a sportsperson wears to protect himself from getting serious injuries. Hence such materials are high technology metals, polymers like polyvinyl chloride, plastics like polybutylene terephthalate, foams, Gel, etc. The equipment made from such material comprises of helmets, pads, guards, gloves, and protectors such chest protectors. The drivers for the sports protective equipment material market increase in the scale of sports participation by a new generation which is very health-conscious, technological advancements in sports equipment manufacturing, government initiatives in promoting national & international sports events and increase in demand for light-weight sports material. However, the counterfeit products sold by small-time companies is a major challenge for the sports protective equipment material industry as it hampers the sales of original equipment which negatively impacts the demand for materials used in their production.
The unfavorable effect left by COVID-19 harmed the functionality of the sports industry as the measures taken by governments of countries such as lockdown, quarantining, social distancing, etc. led to a shutdown of all sports facilities, stadiums, and centers. Hence various sports organizations such as the Union of European Football Association, Global Association of International Sports Federation, National Basketball Association etc. faced challenges in resuming their operations due to which there were significant financial losses incurred by them. Hence the closure of all sport centers & facilities led to the cancellation of various major sports events and sports equipment orders from clients. For instance, in 2020 a survey done by the Federation of European Sporting Good Industry on more than 1800 sporting goods manufacturing companies stated that more than 45% of sporting companies declared a turnover loss between 50% to 90% since the beginning of the pandemic. Also, as per the 2020 combined report from Europe Union & SportsEconAustria the sports-related output showed a reduction of 21%-26%. Hence such reduction in sports output reduced the demand for the material used in the production of sports protective equipment, thereby negatively impacting the sports protective equipment material market.
Sports Protective Equipment Material Market Segment – By Product
Helmet & Headgear held the largest share in the sports protective equipment material market in 2021, with a share of over 45%. This owns to reasons like, helmet equipment greatly reduces the incidence of head injuries and in the maximum majority of field sports like cricket, hockey, soccer, baseball, etc. in which contact with hard surfaces is possible, a helmet is considered as a key to safety. Hence the increasing number of sport-based concussions and the growing popularity of big professional leagues such American Football League, World Cycling League, and the growing popularity of field sports like cricket, cycling, baseball, American football, etc. have increased the demand for head protection equipment. For instance, as per the 2020 report of the American Association of Orthopedic Surgeons, the sports-based head concussion in sports like football and volleyball increased over the past couple of years with girl football showing an increase of 25.2% and boys football showing 29.8% while volleyball showed majority increase of 64.3%. In the July 2021 report of the All India Cycle Manufacture Association, due to growing demand for cycles, the combined sales of a cycle in the organized and unorganized sector was 18.37 million units showing an increase of 51.1% in sales compared to 12.1 million units sold in 2020. Also, as per the 2021 report of the U.S Sports & Fitness Industry Association, American football is the most popular sport in the U.S. Hence as the popularity of such field sports increases, the demand for protective equipment especially headgears & helmets will also increase.
Sports Protective Equipment Material Market Segment – By Material Type
Thermoplastics held the largest share in the sports protective equipment material market in 2021, with a share of over 30%. This owns to factors like thermoplastic offers high toughness and longevity, offers elastic properties, and is environment friendly as it can be recycled due to its thermoplastic nature. Hence due to their high degree of toughness, they are used in various protective equipment like helmets, knee pads, chinstrap, and athletic mouth guards. In 2021, more than 60% of sports products of Adidas ranging from jerseys to sports gear and accessories were made from sustainable thermoplastics and recycled polymers. Also, in 2019 the company introduced Futurecraft. Loop shoes are made from thermoplastic polyurethane that can be washed, ground to pellets, and fully put back into a new shoe. Hence growing demand for sustainable thermoplastic materials in major sports companies will positively impact the demand for the sports protective equipment material industry.
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Sports Protective Equipment Material Market Segment – By Application
Field sports held the largest share in the sports protective equipment material market in 2021, with a share of over 40%. This owns to factor cricket, soccer, basketball, hockey, and baseball are considered as the most popular sports around the globe and also such sports have participation. For instance, as per 2021 census of Cricket Australia revealed that there was a 17.5 percent rise in girls registering for club cricket and the Woolworths Cricket Blast program (teaching basic cricket skills to children aged 5-10), which in turn followed a 19 percent increase in girls’ participation. Also, as per the 2021 U.S Trends in Team Sports report issued by U.S Sports & Fitness Industry Association, there was an 80% increase in core participation in team sports like football, basketball, volleyball in 2020 with basketball being the most team played sport in America with a growth rate of 11.4%. The increase in participation in such major sports will increase the demand for sports protective equipment used in them, thereby increasing the demand for the material used for making such equipment.
Sports Protective Equipment Material Market Segment – By Geography
North America held the largest share in the sports protective equipment material market in 2021, with a share of over 35%. This owns to factors like the region being a hub for some of the major popular sports like baseball, basketball, soccer, and American football. Moreover, countries like the United States have high overall youth participation in fitness & sports and it is headquartered for major sports companies like Nike and Peloton. For instance, as per the 2020 report of the U.S Sports & Fitness Industry Association, Team sports participation in the USA increased by 3.2 percent in 2019, largely attributed to growth in the more popular team sports, such as basketball (2.9 percent), outdoor soccer (4.5 percent), flag football (3.2 percent) and lacrosse (0.8 percent). Hence with the increase in major team sports in the North American region, the demand for sports protective equipment material will also increase, thereby positively impacting the growth of the sports protective equipment material industry in the region.
Sports Protective Equipment Material Market Drivers
Increase in sports participation by a new generation
The millennial generation values health and is inclined towards living a healthy lifestyle. Besides taking strict diet and doing tough exercise regime, youth also show active sports participation especially in sports like football, crickets, volleyball, basketball, boxing, etc. Hence team sports provide various benefits like it promotes health and well-being, building confidence, and helping in maintaining mental health. For instance, as per the 2021 report of Youth Sport Participation by the European Union, of the 18 major sports in Europe, 75% experienced active participation by females under 16-18 age in which boxing showed a maximum increase of 86%. While there was 79% active participation from males under 16-18 age in which soccer showed an increase of 11% and volleyball showed an increase of 8%. Hence such an increase in sports participation from youth will lead to an increase in demand for sports protective equipment like shin pads, mouth guards, eye protectors, thereby positively impacting the sports protective equipment material market.
Growing demand for recycled plastic material in sports
The demand for sustainable material is growing in every industry day by day, as such materials are eco-friendly and create very little wastage. Hence the sporting industry has also done certain changes in the material used for making sports protective equipment. For instance, in 2020 a Pau based rugby club Section Paoise introduced a 100% green fan jersey made from recycled plastics. In 2020, 97% of the core material for apparel and sport accessories made by PUMA came from sustainable material like recycled polyesters and the company constantly use thermoplastics for its knee pads. Moreover, in 2021 the skating knee pads introduced by Thunderbolt are ergonomically designed and contain highly engineered polyvinyl chloride. Hence with the increase in usage of such lightweight materials, the demand for materials like thermoplastics for sports protective equipment production will also increase.
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Sports Protective Equipment Material Market Challenges
Selling of counterfeit products
Counterfeit sports gears cause serious injuries as such equipment are made of substandard materials, and as they don’t go through rigorous quality check hence, they fail to perform like the original equipment. Safety gears such as kneepads, helmets are designed to protect the players from injuries but the counterfeit equipment fails to protect the players and even put their lives in danger. Hence such failures cause damage to the company name of the original equipment manufacturer leads to a decrease in demand for their sports protective equipment. For instance, in 2021 the U.S. Golf Manufacturers Anti-Counterfeiting in collaboration with Chinese police agencies seized 21,281 counterfeit clubs, components and protective gears for golf. Hence the seized product was trademarked gear from Callaway, Ping, Scotty Cameron
Sports Protective Equipment Material Industry Outlook
The companies to develop a strong regional presence and strengthen their market position, continuously engage in mergers and acquisitions. Sports Protective Equipment Material top 10 companies include:
Amer Sports Corporation
Baur Performance Sports
Vista Outdoor Operation LLC
Shock Doctor Inc.
In 2021, Bauer Hockey the worlds leading hockey equipment manufacturer acquired ProSharp AB, a premium skate sharpening and profiling company based in Sweden. Hence such acquisition will enable the company to add skateboard related equipment and gears to its portfolio
In 2020, Shock Doctor Inc launched an all-new athlete-centric face mask and gaiter. Hence such sport-specific face coverings help in protecting athletes against airborne droplets while supporting elite performance.
North America dominates the sports protective equipment material market, as the region has countries like the United States which rank highest in Olympic and elite sporting success.
Sports protective equipment materials like thermoplastics provide a great degree of toughness and being eco-friendly makes them a sustainable material and an alternative for replacing metal parts in sports gears.
The eminence of international sports events and growing awareness for health & fitness will increase sports participation thereby providing many growth chances for the sports protective equipment material market
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