Norway tops in sports gear sales

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No other country in the world can match Norway’s sales per capita of sports equipment, according to new figures from a sporting goods trade association. And the Norwegians aren’t just buying skis.

Skiing is a national pasttime in Norway, like at Skjennungen in Nordmarka, not far from the end of the Frognerseter metro line from downtown Oslo. But Norwegians buy a lot more sports gear than just skis. PHOTO: Views and News

Winter sports equipment, however, does make up a large portion of the dizzying amounts Norwegians spent last year in sporting goods stores. Sportsbransjen.no reported this week that no less than NOK 11.5 billion (USD 1.9 billion) in sales were generated by Norway’s 4.8 million residents.

The sales in 2010 were NOK 800 million higher than in 2009. With a growth rate of 7.5 percent, sales tallies showed that Norwegians have never spent so much on skis, bicycles and sportswear.

Analysts link the higher sales to the strong Norwegian economy, low unemployment and favourable weather conditions. The last two winters, for example, have seen heavy snowfall, boosting the interest in skiing beyond already high levels.

“When conditions for physical activity are good, most Norwegians also want to be more active,” Trond Evald Hansen of the trade association Sportsbransjen told newspaper Aftenposten. “The winters have been cold and the snow is lying thick over most of the country.”

Hansen said “folks have almost been hoarding down jackets, wool underwear and skis.” Studies show that some Norwegians have been buying several pair of skis, for use in varying conditions, while many sporting goods stores also have gone heavily into the clothing branch, with customers caving in to current sports fashions.

Sales have also been brisk for bicycles, cycling gear, kayaks and paddling gear. Many Norwegians are at least as active in the summer as they are in winter.

Views and News from Norway/Nina Berglund
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