Economic and Sector Development


The global economy slowed down in 2019, with global gross domestic product (GDP) growing at 2.4%. Despite recent de-escalation, an overall increase in the level of tariffs and heightened policy uncertainty weakened both international trade and investment. Global manufacturing activity moderated, while monetary policy accommodation increased. Developed economies grew 1.6% in 2019, supported by robust labor markets and some remaining fiscal stimuli. Nevertheless, trade tensions and associated policy uncertainty such as the Brexit negotiations remained a political overhang and a drag on economic activity. Developing economies in aggregate grew 3.5%, as resilient consumption somewhat cushioned subdued productivity growth. Furthermore, growth in both commodity exporters and importers decelerated last year. Across the globe, risks of re-escalating geopolitical tensions, in particular around trade and tariffs, remain.

Regional GDP development1,2 in %

Regional GDP development (Barchart)

1 Real change in percent versus prior year; 2018 and 2017 figures restated compared to prior year.

2 Source: World Bank.

3 Includes Emerging Europe and Central Asia.

4 Includes East Asia and Pacific.


The global sporting goods industry continued to grow at robust rates in 2019. China outgrew the global industry again, while North America posted robust growth rates. Europe maintained its moderate pace of expansion. Most other markets also grew, driven by continued global trends such as increasing penetration of sportswear , increasing sports participation rates and rising awareness for health and wellness. Moreover, the evolution of digital offerings such as social fitness or membership programs with seamless personal experiences remained a predominant theme. Sustainability stayed in focus, as consumers showed increasing interest in sustainable companies and products. The e-commerce channel saw further expansion amid growing investments into consumer insights generation and brand building. From a category perspective, athletic footwear continued to be a significant growth driver for the industry in 2019, as various casual and running styles remained in high demand. Growth in athletic apparel remained robust, as consumers continued to purchase sports-inspired fashion. For the sporting goods industry, too, risks of re-escalating geopolitical tensions, in particular around trade and tariffs, remain.

1 Source: World Bank Global Economic Prospects.


The term is composed of the words athletic and leisure. It describes a fashion trend of sportswear no longer being just meant for training but increasingly shaping everyday clothing.

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