Sports market in India to get an online kick

Lack of organised retail has made way for sports good manufacturers to enter e-commerce. Though, online sports retail is a small segment but it is growing at a very fast pace with a growth rate of over 30 per cent.
Sports Equipment

The Sports and Toys market in India is estimated to reach $15 billion by 2020, which currently stands at $5 billion, growing at a compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) of 30-35 per cent.

As the country is moving towards development and urbanisation, the demand for sports goods equipments is increasing. Factors such as budding awareness of the urban, middle and high-income population about fitness have boosted the sports equipment market in India. It has been observed that with global integration, the culture of workplace is changing. Further, India has been keenly active in hosting international sports events such as commonwealth, cricket tournaments, etc and also making its way into promoting new talent through initiatives as ISL, Pro Kabaddi League, IPL, et al.

Amit Narang, MD, Playmart India, says, “There is a lot of potential in retailing Sports and Fitness products in metros as well as tier 2 and tier 3 cities in India. As the income levels are rising, people are getting health conscious.”

The game is changing

The sports goods category is witnessing a drastic shift from traditional distribution channels to now exploring e-commerce.

Various global brands have opened their concept stores such as Adidas, Reebok to cater to the upper class that is looking for exclusivity in the products. There are few players who are also doing it the old school way but with the changing consumer trends such as Sports Station, an initiative started by the SSIPL Group which has various brands under its umbrella in a single showroom.

Pooja K Sood, AVP - Multi Brand Business, Sports Station, shares, “We believe that Sports segment has a huge untapped potential (especially in the multi-brand space), and that is what has driven us from zero to sixty stores in the 8 months since Dec’15. We still haven’t pulled back on expansion, and will continue to open new stores in newer markets; we shall simultaneously consolidate our existing stores and make our positioning stronger.” The demand is constantly uplifting and more and more retail touch points are required to reach out to the end consumer.

However, there are still limited players in organised retail catering to this segment – which has made way for sports good manufacturers to enter e-commerce. Though, online sports retail is a small segment but it is growing at a very fast pace with a growth rate of over 30 per cent.

"Sports and fitness is a growing category in e-commerce. Lack of organised retail has made way for sports products in e-commerce," says Prashant Tandon, managing director and co- founder of Healthkart.

 “While a lot has happened in the last couple of years, a lot more is yet to happen in the e-commerce space. is the first and an exclusive online marketplace of its kind for Sports goods and Toys in India. With the increase in the disposable incomes in India, engagement in recreational activities like Sports and Fitness has grown many-fold recently,” says Narang.

“Along with our online store, we also plan to launch 50 physical stores for Sports goods by end of 2017, based on a franchise model that will help us build a brand in the overall Sports goods market. We plan to increase the number of stores to 500 in 3-4 years so that our brand is synonymous and well known in the Sports category as a preferred retailer as well,” he adds.

Keep the ball rolling

There is no denial that sporting industry is one of the most competitive industries to operate in. The constantly changing sports goods models, rising competition, and the seasonality of sports, make their needs unique and keep retailers always on their toes.

The e-commerce adoption in this category and the overall growth of e-commerce are  promising signs and a clear indication of the growth potential that e-commerce has to offer. Now let’s wait and watch how the combination takes off.

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