According to The NPD Group, baseball, lacrosse, soccer, and racquet sports equipment sales increased 19 percent in the first quarter year-over-year and grew 35 percent higher than in 2019.
NPD said the categories reaped the benefit of a growing sense of normalcy in the first quarter of 2022 following the pandemic.
“Many schools were still virtual and scholastic sports in limbo last spring due to the pandemic, but that’s changed in a big way this year,” said Matt Powell, senior sports industry advisor at NPD Group. “Kids are back on the field, which means parents are buying sports equipment. Leagues, limited during the pandemic, are also back in action, translating to more players buying equipment.”
Baseball and softball equipment sales revenue grew 19 percent in the first quarter. Sales of all product categories increased, including bats, balls, gloves and mitts, protective gear, and training aids.
Lacrosse equipment sales increased 72 percent, and lacrosse protective gear sales increased 114 percent. Soccer equipment sales grew 10 percent, propelled by ball sales.
The growth in racquet sports equipment was led by pickleball, and sales revenue from pickleball paddles and balls together grew 53 percent, as tennis racquet and ball sales declined. Pickleball gained popularity with Baby Boomers in the U.S., although the sport’s popularity is increasing among older Millennials, according to NPD Checkout data.
“While these results bode well for the sporting goods industry, we should anticipate that the trendlines will return to more typical rates as we move through the year and routines continue to fall back into place,” said Powell.