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SECTOR FOCUS Sport: Decathlon’s rapid pivot to omni-channel

Image courtesy of Decathlon

Decathlon is a family-owned sports retailer that specialises in equipment, apparel and footwear for outdoor pursuits. It boasts 2080 stores in 56 countries – 29 of them in the EEA – and considers itself unique in the sector as it sells not only a broad range of leading brands, but also creates and sells its own wide range of products, developed in its own studios and labs. As of 2022 it has 20 of its own brands. 

The retailer, while having a strong physical retail presence, has also been a pioneer in online sports retail, being at the forefront of using digital services to augment sales and drive both traffic and footfall.

As a result, the company has seen continued revenue growth across 2018 to 2021, with the pandemic seeing a plateau in sales in 2020, rather than a fall. In 2021, recovery was well underway, with the retailer hitting €4bn in revenues.

Traffic-wise, sales shifted online in 2020, with traffic growing 30% that year alone and taking it to a peak of 30 billion hits that year. This has dropped back by 27% in 2021, but online continues to be an important channel for the company as it sees the switch to using digital at least as part of the shopping journey, if not the purchase itself, as key to growth. 

In the UK, for example, 65% of shoppers arriving at the company’s site do so via mobile, with a growing number of them coming in through social media.

The retailers has also sought to bolster its sales by opening its own marketplace, allowing it to sell other third-party goods that complement its existing ranges and expand what it sells. This move is indicative of a trend sweeping retail, as well as testament to how Decathlon sees much of its future sales coming from online.

Read more in the RetailX European Sports Goods Sector report, which you can download here

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