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An economic recession does not bode well for any leisure-goods market, since purchasing of these products can usually be postponed while consumers concentrate on the basics of existence. Sports equipment falls into this category. Many items of equipment have already been struggling to maintain their markets because consumers are shifting their exercise regimes away from traditional `equipped' sports (e.g. golf or tennis) and towards `pure' fitness activities (e.g. health-club membership or jogging).The UK sports-equipment market is extremely fragmented and difficult to define, but Key Note values it at £1.1bn in 2008. This represents only direct spending on personal equipment by consumers, not spending by clubs or leisure centres. Demand has essentially been static for 5 years: the market was worth a similar £1.12bn in 2004, although it peaked at £1.2bn in 2006. Domestic manufacturing of equipment is similarly static at around £300m per year, most of which is exported. Imports have a growing share of the UK market, with China having increased its share of UK imports from under 10% to more than 30% in the 2000s, overtaking the US as the leading supplier.A downturn in 2008 and 2009 was inevitable, given the depth of the recession and its impact on disposable income. However, generalisations are difficult because of the vast range of sports, outdoor activities and indoor games involved in the market. Golf is the outstanding sport for consumer spending on equipment, accounting for more than a third of the market. Home fitness equipment (e.g. domestic treadmills) has moved into second place, overtaking fishing equipment, but the market also includes dozens of small sectors, such as watersports, `extreme' sports and balls for team sports. There is even fragmentation within the equipment produced for each sport (for example, cricket requires bats, balls and protection, not counting the separate markets for appropriate footwear and cricketing `whites').Given this fragmentation, manufacturing of sports equipment offers few economies of scale. Only a handful of companies compete across several sports. The dominance of the golf sector means that its leading manufacturers are among the largest sports-equipment companies, major names in a competitive global market including Callaway, Titleist, Srixon and Wilson. The most intriguing operator in the UK at present is Sports Direct International, which has managed to `vertically integrate', owning the UK's largest chain of sports shops (Sports World) as well as acquiring famous equipment brands such as Slazenger, Dunlop and Karrimor.The immediate prospects for the market are not favourable, pending the return of consumer confidence. However, the major sporting events (e.g. the Olympics and Commonwealth Games) that are scheduled to take place in the UK should stimulate enough interest to restore growth. Key Note forecasts that the UK market for sports equipment will decline in value in 2009 and 2010 but will then return to growth between 2011 and 2013.