“Secrets” Revealed – How Can Decathlon Products Be So Cheap?!

“Wah, so cheap ah, are you sure it’s good?”

“So cheap, must be all made in China.”

“The prices so low, got catch or not?”

Ignorance is not bliss

The truth is, we cringe at the word “cheap” because it literally cheapens the value of our products and it hurts our feelings too. But of course, no one can be blamed if they’re ignorant of the truth. We’d love to tell you the truth about our business and how we can offer our sports products at these ridiculously low prices, without making you cringe in the process.

Value Buy Master.jpg

Fact 1: We are a fully integrated business

We’re not just a retail company, and this is THE real reason why we are able to streamline our costs and pass on the savings to you, our customer. We directly manage and own our design, production, logistics and distribution. We are also industrial partners with our suppliers worldwide.

Created in 1996, the Industrial Division consists of more than 500 people working at Decathlon Headquarters in villeneuve d’Ascq, and around 2,100 people working in different production countries.

In order to provide the brands with efficient components and production solutions, the Industrial Division is divided into industrial processes.

In our headquarters (France), more than 3,000 prototypes are made every year. Our prototype workshops are available for teams to observe the behaviour and test the components of finished products. They help speed up the design process and enable employees to play an active role in creating innovations at the best price/quality ratio.

Fact 2: We are the 3rd largest R&D facility in France

From the day our first researcher was hired in 1990 until today, the significant increase in investment in R&D clearly illustrates its importance to Decathlon. Upstream, Decathlon SportsLab carries out research programmes into the needs of sports people.

Downstream, it also checks the technical balance between the brands’ offer and the expectations of users. Decathlon SportsLab deploys considerable resources in order to properly carry out the 5 steps essential to any scientific approach (observe, understand, imagine, experiment and check):

  • more than 50 researchers
  • a worldwide network of scientific laboratories, research organisations, universities and industrial partners.

On average, this organisation enables our teams to register 40 patents per year.

Fact 3: We are big on sustainability (not just environmental but human resources too)

We are committed to:

  • Product design: eco-design actions, for instance our design teams select product materials with less of an environmental impact.
  • Production: environmental management of our suppliers, or the development of local sourcing, led by our production teams.
  • Product transportation: various actions are coordinated by our logistics teams, such as optimising sourcing patterns, using multimodal transport, and maximising lorry loads.
  • Travel: to reduce their impact, customers and teammates can opt to use soft transport methods: car-pooling, cycling, train, scooters, etc. Local schemes are encouraged. To limit its teammates’ commuting and work-related travel, Decathlon recommends they use video conferencing wherever possible.
  • Retail: local initiatives to choose construction materials for our sites are led by our construction teams. The same applies to improving the energy efficiency of our stores and warehouses, which is coordinated by local energy leaders.
  • Waste management: each store or warehouse team is responsible for sorting and recycling the waste generated by their activities.

We also believe strongly in people, at the heart of our growth. Speak to us to find out more about human management at Decathlon.

Fact 4: We invite customers to be part of the product creation and design process

Who better than sportspeople know what they need to improve their game? Fully aware that they have both expectations and innovative ideas, we provide them with decathloncreation.com, a website dedicated to the co-creation of new products. Anyone can put forward ideas and participate in projects submitted by members of the community. At each stage of the creative process –  from defining functions to selecting materials or colours and choosing a name and even the price – users can submit proposals, interact and give their opinion.

Of course, everyone’s actions will be taken into consideration.

Fact 5: We spend $0 on celebrity endorsements

For each celebrity we pay to endorse our products, we add $X into the price of our products to cover for those costs. In fact, YOU end up paying if we actually spent money on this. Let’s put it this way.

Decathlon: Cost of product + Margin + $0 = Retail Price ($Y)
Others: Cost of product + Margin + $X = $Y + $X

Perhaps this might seem a little too simple to be true, but the truth is, many consumers pay through their noses to obtain a X Brand product, when in reality, the items from X Brand and Decathlon both come from the same factory.

Sorry, but the truth has to hurt sometimes.

We hope that you’ve gained a better understanding our business and why we are able to offer you such awesome sports products and apparel at insanely low prices. Still not convinced? We’re happy to respond to any questions you might have about this topic. Drop us an email at support-singapore@decathlon.com 🙂


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