Economic and Sector Development

In 2021, adidas recorded strong operational and financial improvements. Revenues increased 16% on a currency-neutral basis, reflecting broad-based growth across all market segments and categories. The gross margin increased 0.7 percentage points to 50.7%. Other operating expenses as a percentage of sales were down 4.7 percentage points to 41.9%. The company’s operating margin increased 5.3 percentage points to 9.4%, reflecting both the gross margin increase and the decrease in other operating expenses as a percentage of sales. Net income from continuing operations increased 223% to € 1.492 billion. This translates into basic EPS from continuing operations of € 7.47, also representing an increase of 223% versus the prior year period.



The global economy recovered in 2021, with global gross domestic product (GDP) rebounding 5.5%. Increasing vaccination rates allowed international trade to pick up, while policymakers transitioned from strict lockdowns to less disruptive measures such as face mask obligations and capacity limits, leading to an increase in output, consumption, and trade. Advanced economies grew by 5.0% in 2021, mainly driven by the discontinuation of lockdown measures, which partially had to be revoked in the wake of new coronavirus variants emerging in the second half of the year. Developing economies in aggregate were up 6.3% in 2021 as production expanded. Overall, rising demand faced supply bottlenecks, which led to rising prices in advanced and developing countries alike. Globally, risks of new emerging coronavirus variants leading to a further delay in the pandemic recovery remain.


The global sporting goods industry expanded in 2021 while still facing steep challenges, such as increased freight costs and coronavirus-induced factory closures. Due to supply shocks in Southeast Asia, the industry could not always meet the increasing demand. Nevertheless, global demand was driven by the return of sports and large-scale sport events, such as the UEFA EURO 2020 or the Tokyo 2020 Olympics. Furthermore, existing global trends, such as the increased penetration of sportswear () as well as rising awareness for health and wellness, accelerated further. Moreover, sustainability remained an important theme for consumers. While physical retail recovered from the lockdown-related declines in the prior year, purchasing behavior continued to shift toward online channels. Ultimately, digital platforms, such as social fitness or membership programs, are evolving with growing interest of consumers. For the sporting goods industry, too, risks of a delayed pandemic recovery continue to exist.

1 Source: World Bank Global Economic Prospects.

Regional GDP development1, 2 in %

Regional GDP development (Barchart)

1 Real change in percent versus prior year; 2020 and 2019 figures restated compared to prior year.

2 Source: World Bank as of January 11, 2022.

3 Includes Emerging Europe and Central Asia.

4 Includes East Asia and Pacific.


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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