According to the winter forecast issued by the Kiel Institute for the World Economy (ifw Kiel) dated December 16, 2020, in the past financial year the global economy suffered a historic downturn due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The experts at ifw Kiel expect global gross domestic product (GDP) to decline by 3.8% overall in 2020, which is by far the strongest economic decline in the past 70 years. Following the drastic economic downturn caused by the COVID-19 pandemic in the spring, the global economy recovered strongly until the fall; however, growth weakened during the fourth quarter as a result of a further wave of infections and the measures to contain it. Nevertheless, with the exception of only a few countries, economic development remains on an upward trend, especially in Europe. This is due, not least, to the continued strong expansionary monetary policy pursued by central banks in industrialized countries. The majority of these banks have again extended the expansionary measures they introduced in the spring in response to the COVID-19 crisis, or have pushed back expectations for the timing of tightening measures. Interest rates in the emerging markets have also tended to fall further in recent months. Expansionary economic policies and an expectation of overcoming the pandemic, mainly due to success in the development of an effective vaccine against COVID-19, are already being reflected in the financial markets.
2020 was a very difficult year for the sporting goods industry. Wide-reaching lockdown measures and area-wide retail store closures aimed at containing the COVID-19 pandemic had a very negative impact on the sporting goods industry worldwide, particularly during the second quarter. Furthermore, this could only be partially offset by rising e-commerce sales. In addition, the sporting goods industry was further impacted by the cancellation or postponement of major sporting events, such as the European Football Championship and the Tokyo Olympic Games. However, as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, more exercise and physical activity, as well as an increasingly healthy and sustainable lifestyle, continued to gain in importance for an ever-increasing proportion of the world’s population. The “stay-at-home” situation has also resulted in the increased popularity of athletic footwear and leisure/athletic apparel as an integral part of everyday fashion (“athleisure”).