As recently reported in STORES, one of the fastest growing retailers in the U.S. in 2017 was Bass Pro Shops (earned $7.8 billion in 2017 with the acquisition of Cabela’s). People are creating their own ‘experiences’ to go fishing, camping, hiking, kayaking, mountain biking and so much more. Consumers are spending more time in the great outdoors getting fit and healthy—and they are spending money in the process. In 2017, wholesale sales of sports & recreation equipment amounted to approximately $5.18 billion U.S. dollars and that doesn’t include the secondary market.

Here’s a quick snapshot of the Sports & Rec retail vertical:

  • Sports equipment: $64.8 billion (2015)
  • Fitness equipment: $3.76 billion (2017)
  • Fishing equipment: $671 million (2017)
  • Camping tents/shelters: $326.9 million (2017)

Buying brand new sports equipment can be pricey and kids outgrow it fast. Buying a brand new helmet, bat, glove and shoes can get expensive year after year. In a study that asked respondents if they prefer to buy New or Used equipment, 69% of 18 to 29 year olds said they prefer Used. That’s a large market share of consumers who don’t mind paying less money for slightly used equipment such as bicycles, skateboards or skis.

Due to this sentiment, the secondary market for used and returned sports & rec equipment is growing. Companies like Play It Again Sports specialize in paying customers for their used equipment and then reselling it. Owned by parent company Winmark, the retailer has 1,200 current and coming soon locations, and more than $1 billion in annual sales

Major sports & rec retailers can take advantage of the secondary market to make money from returned and overstock items. B-Stock provides a customized, online liquidation platform that directly connects retailers to SMB owners who operate clearance and liquidation stores.

Eventually, overstock merchandise will pile up in the warehouse costing retailers money. Remember: as online sales increase, so do returns. It’s important to have a recovery program in place to handle returned and overstock items.