Press release

As a target group, women are gaining ground, but not in management positions

The international survey of ISPO Munich involving 833 exhibitors and visitors to ISPO Munich shows that a high share of sports products is specifically aimed at women – but there are still too few female managers. While the sports business increasingly focuses on women and their requirements as a target group, a lot of potential is not being exploited in the areas of marketing and product development.

Women in Sports Business
ISPO Munich for Women in Sports Business.
  • Women are becoming an increasingly important target group
  • But the majority of decision makers and marketers in the sports business are male
  • Women’s Lounge powered by Frauen Verbinden invites interested parties to discuss this situation

“Women choose their own equipment and are very careful in making sure that they have the right gear. Products and their properties are becoming increasingly important; appearance is no longer the central aspect. Women are becoming more and more relevant as a target group,” says Maria Elena Rizzieri, Woman Project Leader at Blizzard / Tecnica. Manufacturers are also responding to this trend. “The number of products specifically for the female target group is increasing. These include gender-specific products that correspond with anatomical and ergonomic demands,” adds Kim Scholze, Community Manager at ISPO Munich and responsible for the ISPO Initiative “Women in the Sports Business.”

833 manufacturers and retailers from the sporting goods industry took part in the survey with the focus on “women in leadership” and “women as a target group.” 79 percent of manufacturers said women are important to extremely important for their company’s sales. For 46 percent of the manufacturers, the significance of women as a target group has increased over the last two years. Retailers also reported the high degree of relevance in this regard: For a quarter of them, special women’s collections or products make up at least half of their entire range. For 35 percent, the share is between 25 and 49 percent.

In most cases, women have no input with regard to the manufacture of the products

In other words, women as a target group are increasingly important in the sports industry, but more than half of the manufacturing companies (53 percent) have no special campaign planning to address this target group. More than half (53 percent) of the retailers also admitted they have no separate, holistic concept for female customers. There is also some room for improvement when it comes to product development: For example, 94 percent of manufacturers that offer special collections for women say they involve women in product development. However, in only 22 percent of the companies it is predominantly women who make the final decision about these products. This is why advertising and marketing seem to be more male-focused and, in many cases, do not reflect the reality of life of the women the products are aimed at.

Still few women in management positions

77 percent of the companies (retailers and manufacturers) have less than half of their management roles filled by women. In fact, in almost half the companies that took part in the survey (48 percent) the share of female managers is less than 25 percent.

Women filled more than 50 percent of managerial positions in just 16 percent of the companies surveyed. Development plans for women could improve the situation, but 73 percent of the manufacturers and retailers do not offer special coaching, mentor programs, or similar. In addition, only 54 percent of the companies have the topic of work-life balance anchored in their company culture.

ISPO Munich for Women in the Sports Business

The survey is part of a large-scale initiative of ISPO Munich on the subject of “Women in the Sports Business” that was launched two years ago. “Our aim is to raise awareness in the industry and encourage discussion within society in order to drive change in the business. There are still too few female managers in the sporting goods industry. In addition, the industry does not yet adequately address the target group-specific approach of women; there is still a lot of potential here,” explains Kim Scholze. This concerns above all retailers. Women are largely the decision-makers on the family budget, so it's all the more important to meet their needs in the best possible way.

Kathrin Hagel
PR Manager