According to the winter forecast published by the Kiel Institute for the World Economy (IfW Kiel) on December 15, 2021, the global economic recovery has lost momentum since the middle of the year. In many parts of the world, renewed increases in the number of COVID-19 cases inhibited economic activity, supply bottlenecks hampered the upturn in industrial production, and growth in the Chinese economy appears to have slowed. Following the drastic economic slump caused by the COVID-19 pandemic in the previous year, experts at IfW Kiel expect global gross domestic product (GDP) to increase by 5.7% overall in 2021. Global industrial production recovered swiftly from the severe slump at the start of the pandemic and had already returned to pre-crisis levels by the fall of 2020. However, supply bottlenecks and capacity issues in logistics, especially in maritime transport, have played a more prominent role in slowing down global trade and industrial production since mid-2021. In terms of fiscal policy, economic development in developed economies—and to a lesser extent in many emerging economies—continued to be supported for the time being, and extensive additional spending and tax deferral approaches were adopted to mitigate the economic impact of the pandemic.
2021 was a challenging year for the sporting goods industry, with a variety of operational issues needing to be addressed. For example, the problematic situation in the freight sector throughout the year, with high freight rates, insufficient capacity and congested ports, as well as production downtime due to a COVID-19 lockdown in South Vietnam in the third quarter, contributed to limited product availability. Despite this, in 2021, the sporting goods industry recovered from the shock caused by the COVID-19 pandemic in the previous year and was able to build on the growth of previous financial years once again.
The resumption of amateur and professional sporting events and the staging of major sporting events in 2021, such as the European Football Championships and the Summer Olympics in Tokyo, had a positive impact on the sporting goods industry. Moreover, as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, more sporting activity and an increasingly healthy and sustainable lifestyle, continued to gain in importance for an ever-increasing proportion of the world's population. Among other things, this resulted in the increased popularity of athletic footwear and leisure/athletic apparel as an integral part of everyday fashion ("athleisure").