From roots in California’s surfing culture, skateboarding has taken the world by storm as a creative and athletic sport. Today, skateboarding is much more than the ‘sidewalk surfing’ that sought to replicate the sensation of riding the waves on land in the 1950s. It’s even found a spot in the Olympic Games as a competitive sport.
Skateboarding is a pastime loved by many, whether you’re hanging out in the park on a Sunday or competing on an international stage, and this love has brought forth with it a whole culture of fashion, music, cinema, and even language. Read on for a review of the growth trends of skateboarding the world over and its impact here in the UK.
Revenue in the Skateboard Industry
In 2022, the global market size for skateboarding was valued at $3.22 billion (£2.55 billion) and forecast at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 3.5% in the period of 2023 to 2030. The share of this revenue attributed to just North America in 2022 was 41.2%.
Image source: grandviewresearch.com
It’s difficult to put an average price on a skateboard when there are so many different factors at play. Your deck, wheels, bearings, which skateboard brand you go for, which size you need — so many factors play into it. Are you planning to buy a complete skateboard or components to put together the ideal one for you?
But what if you have money to burn on a truly luxury skateboard? The most expensive skateboard ever sold was the Louis Vuitton X Supreme which went for $50,000 (£39,585) to Jeffree Star as a gift to his boyfriend. The deck snapped after a few tricks, so it might be worth saving your money and choosing a brand that specialises in skateboards, not luxury luggage.
Image source: artcurial.com
The second most expensive was the Supreme Mundi which sold on eBay for $20,000 (£15,834). You’d struggle to skate on this board though—more of an art piece than a functional board. The Supreme Mundi was created by Adrian Wilson as a reaction to ‘hyper culture’ in the world of art.
Image source: news.artnet.com
You probably already know who the richest skateboarder in the world is, even if you’re entirely new to the sport. It’s Tony Hawk, of course, with a net worth of $140 Million (£110 million). But how much do other skateboarders earn? Most pro skaters don’t earn a lot, and earnings vary wildly too, with the average thought to be between $1,000 (£791) and £10,000 (£7,917) per month.
Shoe brands are the highest-paying sponsors in skateboarding, so if you can get sponsored by a big shoe brand, you’ll be more likely to come in at the top of the range. Board sponsors are thought to pay between $1,500 (£1,187) and $2,500 (1,979) per month. Wheel brands pay upwards of $2,000 (£1,583) per month.
Growth of The Skateboard Market
We already know that the skateboarding market is set to grow 3.5% from 2023 to 2030, but what are the factors that drive this growth? Let’s look at them in detail.
The growth of the skateboarding market is driven by rising enthusiasm among younger individuals about a globally popular sport. Design and technological innovations have led to an enhancement of the skateboarding experience, such as the use of new materials, deck shapes and concaves, truck and wheel advancements, and the introduction of longboards.
Threats to the market are primarily driven by safety concerns, with individuals seeking safer sports, and the popularity of scooters, with younger individuals regularly choosing scooters over skateboards.
Brands’ efforts to gain popularity in the skateboarding world and gain market share are ever-evolving. Brands, including Nike, PEPSICO INC, and Mountain Dew, have all sponsored famous skateboarders at one time or another. Dior, at Paris Fashion Week, chose a neon skateboard ramp as its catwalk.
In skateboarding, we have street boards and longboards as the two main variations in the sport. In 2022, street boards (with an overall length of 33 inches and width of 7.5–8.75 inches) had the largest product segment, with a 44.4% overall share of revenue. However, longboards (with a length of 44 inches and a width of 22–26 inches) have a CAGR expected to grow 3.8% from 2023 to 2030.
What about revenue by age brackets of skateboard users? Teenagers represent the largest segment of consumers, with 38.4% of the overall revenue attributed to those between 12 and 17. Kids between the ages of zero and nine represented 4.1% of the revenue from skateboarding. With parents encouraging children to take up sports combined with skateboarding being essentially a free and non-licensed mode of transport, these stats aren’t a big surprise.
Image source: grandviewresearch.com
In Europe, the skateboarding market size represented $796.6 million (£630.7 million). The UK market growth rate is estimated at 3.7%, 4.2% in Pacific Asia, and 4.5% in China from 2023 to 2030.
Skateboarders in the UK and Worldwide
In a June 2020 survey, there were found to be 750,000 individuals participating in skateboarding in the UK. But there could be way more participants than that, with a 2023 skateboarding report numbering around 60,000 regular skateboarders and 300,000 casual skateboarders.
Skateboarding first came to the UK in the early 1960s with the first skateboards imported by Keith Slocombe’s Surfers Store in 1963 from California. The popularity of skateboarding in the UK began in the south of England, fuelled by the media coverage of California skateboarding, with city-dwellers taking to slalom-style skateboarding and following the trends of the US.
In the late 1980s, the popularity of skateboarding took a hit due to the economic turmoil under Margaret Thatcher’s conservative government. Unemployment reached unprecedented heights leading to a reduction in leisure activities and closure of many businesses. The value of the pound fell, and the country did not begin to recover from the economic devastation until 1995. From that point on, skateboarding began to recover.
Today, the UK has hundreds of thousands of amateur skateboarders, plus some celebrities in the world of skateboarding. UK skateboarders of note include Tom Penny, Mathew Pritchard, Geoff Rowley, Steve Douglas, Ryan Swain, and Ben Raemers. We can’t forget Sky Brown, who won the Olympic bronze medal and became the youngest UK summer Olympian ever at the age of 13. Skateboarding parks of note in the UK are Skate Plaza, The Works, The House, and Hyde Park Free Skate Park.
Southbank Skate Park is one of the most popular skate venues in Europe, bringing many pro skaters from overseas and fuelling the rise of local skate shops and brands rather than those imported from the US. Popular skateboarding shops and brands in the UK include Black Sheep Skateboard Shop, Route One London, and Slick Willies, of course.
With disposable income and popularity amongst teenagers rising, skateboarding continues to become a more prominent and popular sport, estimated to add $46.44 million (£36.77 million) to the UK market by 2028. Technical advancements such as the demand for electric skateboards are expected to be major drivers in the evolution of skateboarding, spurned on by a national interest in extreme sports. The teenage market is the most invested in skateboarding and also the most influenced by social media, where much of skateboard marketing resides.
Skateboarding Culture in Other Countries
In the US, the origin of skateboarding, participation was at 6.4 million in 2016 and rose to 8.75 million in 2021, according to market research on the sport. In popularity, skateboarding now ranks third after football and basketball—that’s a pretty good position when you consider all the sports out there! Flexibility, fitness, and socialising are big drivers for the popularity of skateboarding as a sport, propelled further by the popularisation of skating in music and media. A growth in interest in outdoor sporting events has also contributed.
Skateboarding has risen to an international competitive level thanks to its success in national and regional competitions. The inclusion of skateboarding in the Tokyo Summer Olympics 2020, Skate Philippines Summer Championship, the 31st Annual Skate Japan, and Skate Malaysia all provided skateboarders with the limelight and a boost to excel in their skills.
All over the world, skateboarding continues to hold a prominent position in the sports world. In Australia, the 2020 pandemic saw a rise in demand for skateboards and subsequent innovations in the market, such as a surge in interest in longboards. In Germany, skateboarding events such as SKTWK, SKATE Contest, and the European Freestyle Skateboarding Championships garnered serious attraction from pro and amateur skateboarders as well as spectators and representing growth in the market expected to reach 3.5% from 2023 to 2030.
In China, skateboarding has seen a significant shift from being a niche activity associated with counterculture to one of widespread recognition, assisted by its inclusion in the Olympics. Thanks to this popularity, the skateboard market in China has seen rapid expansion. For example, DBH, A Chinese brand known for its colourful decks, reported a 200% increase in sales from 2021 to 2022.
Key brands in the skateboarding industry internationally include Boardriders, Krown Skateboards, Sk8factory, Skate One, Absolute Board Co., Alien Workshop, Zero Skateboards, CONTROL SKATEBOARDS INC., Razor USA LLC, and Almost Skateboards. Key partnerships in the skateboarding market that strategically increase their market share have been made between Hot Wheels Skate with X Games and Tony Hawk's Vert Alert in June 2023 and Rovio Entertainment with Capsule Skateboards in September 2022.
The facts don’t lie. Skateboarding is as popular as ever, with no signs of stopping or slowing down. If you want to hop on the bandwagon and see what all the fuss is about. Get your first deck from a reliable retailer.