General Economic Conditions

The global economy weakened slightly in 2015 compared to the previous year. According to the winter forecast of the Kiel Institute for the World Economy (IfW), the increase in global gross domestic product (GDP) for 2015 will be 3.1%, the lowest growth since the crisis year of 2009. Global production rose by 3.4% in 2014.

The advanced economies continued to record a moderate performance overall, although there were significant differences between the individual countries and regions. For example, the United States (+2.5%) and the United Kingdom (+2.4%) again reported the strongest growth, while the Euro zone saw only a slight increase of 1.5% in its gross domestic product, and unemployment remained high. After contracting in the previous year (-0.1%), the Japanese economy returned to growth with a slight increase of 0.7%.

In the emerging markets, the economic expansion has recently been weak. While in China, indicators point to a dampening of growth (6.8% versus 7.4% in 2014), the recession worsened in Russia and Brazil. According to the IfW, the economies of these two countries will contract by 3.8% and 3.6%, respectively, in 2015.

The sporting goods industry benefited in the last financial year from rising disposable incomes and growing health consciousness in the general population. The trend towards more and more women being very active in sports contributed to this positive performance. Looking at the distribution channels, online retailers, which posted dynamic growth rates in the financial year 2015, made a solid contribution.

By contrast, volatile currencies and, in particular, the strong US dollar, which made products more expensive, had a dampening effect on earnings in the industry.