10 Facts About Decathlon, The Ikea Version of Sporting Goods

Image: Hafiz Soyuz / Shutterstock.com

If you haven’t already heard of Decathlon, I’m gonna do you a huge favour now.

So if you’re like me, you’re probably finding that things in Singapore are getting pretty expensive.

And it’s honestly quite hard to buy things like sports and fitness clothes when you’re on a budget.

Cuz let’s be honest ah, no matter how trendy Adidas, Nike, New Balance and whatever big brand hitting the scene is, they are never wallet-friendly (unless you’re a NSman who has lots of emart credits lah).

I’ll buy one thing from there and the next thing I know I’m broke as hell and eating kaya bread for the next month…

Not all of us have big paychecks right? 

And that’s where Decathlon comes in! When my mom told me about it, my mind was blown.

I can buy sports outfits for cheap?! And I don’t have to buy from pasar malam or Giant (also, there is nothing wrong with this)? Ummmm YES please?!

So here are 10 things about Decathlon that you should know about. While they’ve been in Singapore since 2016, the latest announcement about their upcoming flagship has put the brand into the spotlight – again.

1. It’s from France.

Image: Facebook/DecathlonCampus

If you thought that Decathlon is some warehouse with off-brand, fake, or replica sporting goods, you thought wrong.

It’s actually a French sporting goods retailer that opened in 1976 in Lille, France and has now become the largest sporting goods retailer in the whole world.

They have more than 11,000 outlets in 38 countries (this number is only growing), and make a revenue of over 10 billion dollars annually.

Yep, you heard me right.

10 BILLION. 

The world likes sports as much as I like food.

2. Aiya, it’s so cheap confirm everything Made in China, no?

This is a very common misconception that makes Decathlon quite sad.

Because the reason that they are able to keep their prices low is because they are a fully integrated business.

What does this mean?

They manage and own their designs, production, logistics and distribution, while also being industrial partners with their worldwide suppliers.

By being so hands on and completely cutting out any kind of middle man, they keep quality products cheap and pass on the savings to you! Kind of like IKEA, you know.

So even if there are items in Decathlon ‘Made in China’, they will be no different to your iPhone – every component is owned, designed, distributed and produced by Decathlon.

They just have suppliers all over the world to put it together.

I hope you know that practically every single component in your iPhone is ‘Made in China’ btw…

3. Decathlon Group is the THIRD biggest R&D facility in France.

Decathlon Group is huge.

They are the 3rd biggest R&D facility in France, with the upstream carrying out research to find out the needs of sports people.

And downstream, they check the technicalities between what the brand is offering with user expectation.

On average, they make over 40 patents a year and have more than 50 researchers working to make sure their stuff is legit.

I told you already…Decathlon blew my mind. 

Because not only is it cheap but it is also freakin legit.

4. If it’s all from the same brand, why do their things have different brand names on them?

Great question, I was wondering the same thing.

And when I asked my mom she was like why you must ask so many questions to buy things one ah, can you just go find what you need please. 

So of course, I went to the trusty Google.

And I found out something very cool. So apparently, Decathlon organises their sporting goods into different sections.

Meaning you have a section for running, hiking, swimming, golfing, kayaking, so on and so forth!

And each of these sections have a different tag – so for example ‘Kalenji‘ is for running, ‘Nabaiji‘ is for swimming, ‘Forclaz‘ is for trekking and so on.

I imagine this would make organising their things according to ‘type of sport’ easier. So don’t worry, every single one of these over 25 different name tags are still from Decathlon.

5. Decathlon had a big scandal in 2017.

The thing with being so big and prominent in any kind of industry, is that everyone is watching.

Which means you need to be extra careful not to screw up.

So in 2017, when Decathlon screwed up big time, it was a big deal. They apparently violated social laws and local laws in its Sri Lankan factories.

Their workers were forced to work long hours, past their official shift-end time, don’t receive any holidays and in violation of Sri Lankan laws, don’t receive paid sick days.

We can only hope that they have rectified this and are ensuring that working conditions are tip-top.

6. They are Sustainable.

Decathlon has been making the shift into sustainability and being an eco-friendly company.

Not just environmentally but on the human front as well.

They have aimed to address five key areas: team member happiness promoting equality and diversity; improving working conditions by subcontractors; fight against climate change; clean water and sanitisation; and responsible production and consumption.

Hopefully they keep it up, cuz I’m all about saving the earth and sustainable living.

And having cheap eco-friendly products will be a serious game-changer.

(Though the first thing to do is to start exercising)

7. Decathlon currently has 3 outlets in Singapore.

If you want to go get your Decathlon fix, well they currently have 3 outlets in Singapore.

One is in Joo Koon – this is the biggest outlet with over 4,000 square meters of sporting retail space.

The other two, also big but as massive as the one in Joo Koon, are located in Chai Chee Road, and City Square Mall.

Now, remember, they just came into Singapore in 2016. And here’s why it’s in our radar again…

8. They have plans to open an EVEN bigger Decathlon store next year (2019). 

Image: Decathlon/SportSingapore

Okay, if the Joo Koon one isn’t big enough, Decathlon will be opening the biggest of its kind in Singapore in Kallang next year.

It will span over 5,000 square metres of retail space. My colleague who has been to the one in City Square (supposedly so much smaller) has lost his way there. I can’t imagine what 5,000 square metres would do to him.

And it’s got some cool af features to boot! Customers can test their products via virtual simulations and augmented reality.

It will offer foot scans and mobile payment solutions too.

It will have sports clinics, fitness programmes and events, and also have free play areas outside the store.

This is all part of an arrangement with Sports Singapore to make sports accessible to all.

I seriously can’t wait, it’s gonna be awesome.

9. Decathlon vending machines.

Image: Twitter/Funky_Runner

If virtual reality isn’t cool enough, Decathlon with the help of Sports Singapore is really upping their game here in the local market.

Plans to have Decathlon vending machines rolling out in sports centres all over Singapore is already underway, making sure that basically everyone can buy sports equipment on the go!

I can imagine this would come really handy for a lot of athletes and fitness junkies out there. Easy access to cheap equipment is always a big PLUS.

10. Some of the cheapest things they have.

Image: JustRunLah

So we have established that Decathlon is cheap and good.

Their prices even beat out Mustafa.

So what are some of the cheapest and ‘most worth it‘ things you can find there?

You can get hammocks for under $20, tents for $30, winter jackets for $50, and high-quality trekking bags for like…18 bucks.

Similar products to these from ‘branded companies’ will set you back anywhere from 70 to 150 bucks MORE than what you would expect to pay at Decathlon!

Remember the colleague who got lost in City Square? After a visit to Decathlon, he vows never to visit Queensway anymore (wah, play so big).

So get your shopping buddy or fitness buddy and head down to any one of their outlets to get what you need.

Getting that sporty aesthetic (with all the awesome functionality and quality) has never been more affordable.

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Rachael Divya

Rachael Divya

Life is one big adventure, so you can find her on the next flight out. (But when flights are too expensive, you can find her in bed catching up on the twenty TV shows she’s decided to watch.) Food time is her favourite time of every day, and way too many things interest her so now she’s just a jumbled-up ball of curiosity navigating this messy, happy little world she has.
Rachael Divya