Like many other industries, the sporting goods online market contracted in 2020. However, due to new online shopping behaviours and the situation at that time, sporting goods quickly saw an uptick in sales in the second quarter. People sought new hobbies and activities to keep them entertained while in lockdown, encouraging sporting goods sales all around. Sportswear companies also significantly showed more resiliency during the pandemic than the rest of the apparel industry and continued to outperform, clearly showing consumer interest at that time.
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Sporting goods online market
By 2025, the global sporting goods market is estimated to grow to 395 billion. The sporting goods market includes sporting equipment, sportswear, and sports accessories. This multi-billion industry has seen major market shifts online in the last 2 years.
Thanks to more health-conscious consumers in 2022 and the wellness industry, plus the growing online sector, these factors are bolstering sales. From sports apparel to licensed merchandise, manufacturers are focusing on multi-channel fulfilment strategies with a core focus on the online sporting goods marketplace.
Sporting accessories and clothing increased as recreational activities soared, gaining more prominence in the fashion & health sectors. This was especially beneficial for many larger lifestyle brands with the likes of Nike, Under Armour, New Balance & Columbia.
The US sporting goods online market is the largest market currently at 45 billion a year. In the UK there was a 13.7% sales increase in home exercise equipment during 2020. A 2021 survey in the UK confirmed 33% of consumers bought sporting goods online, a major shift from the previous year. This trend is sure to increase in 2022.
“During the pandemic, digital was the only way to connect, now it is completely normal.”
-Caio Amato, brand leader, Oakley
Sporting equipment relates to sports, recreational, athletic and/or fitness related. Currently, the largest market segment in the world of sporting equipment includes ball games. The popularity of sports like cricket, baseball and football are what is driving popularity.
Sporting equipment list
Sticks, bats, and clubs
Wickets and bases
Balls and discs
Sports accessories are used in tandem for training and competing in sports. Europe is the leader in the sports accessory market. Many experts believe this is due to the considerable number of athletes in professional sports, as well as the high interest of fans in the region.
Sporting accessories list
Goggles and glasses
Sportswear clothing is divided into team sportswear, activewear or anything related to sport and physical exercise. Sport-specific clothing is worn for most sports and physical exercise, for practicality and comfort. Specific garments include tracksuits, shorts, t-shirts, shoes, and polo shirts. The largest global consumer market sportswear/activewear is the United States, expected to generate more than 95 billion USD a year.
Sporting clothing list
Shoes and boots
Sporting goods customer demographics
There are many advantages for customers shopping online rather than being in a store. There is no hassle from the sales staff, or walking around to find your item, and most importantly no waiting in line. Convenience is always king for customers, and with shopping online being more popular than ever, these behaviours are driving the industry. It’s important for companies to understand their target market and key trending data reshaping the industry.
For example, Gen Z is more health and fitness-oriented than boomers, while millennials are somewhere in the middle. Millennials and Gen Z are also more tech-minded and therefore tend to shop online more. These demographics that have new expectations around convenience and delivery are trending online sales today. An increased focus on these market demographics will ensure a consistent sales cycle for sporting goods online businesses.
Sporting goods trends 2022
Staying on top of the latest trends and evolving marketplace ensures brand resiliency and competitiveness in new business landscapes. The latest sporting goods trends revolve around buying changes, digitalisation, and influence.
Social channel influencers
Professional athletes are more popular on social channels than traditional clubs, leagues, and brands. Christiano Ronaldo for example, has 395 million followers on Instagram while his endorser Nike has 197 million. Still a substantial portion for Nike, but this emphasizes the personal relationship for consumers to personal sports icons, and brand identity. Social selling for brands comes better with the younger demographic on these channels.
54% of consumers use social media channels to research products. As you can see, social media keeps proving its effectiveness in digital ecosystems fostering more engagement and sales.
Sporting goods online
It is obvious that the future is in the digital marketplace. Even after stores reopened industry leaders were still shifting and improving their direct-to-consumer (DTC) models. The omnichannel approach is sensible as customers buy from stores, but also online. Plus, with the back and forth of random lockdowns, the state of brick n mortar presence is still in flux. Not having a strong online presence and not finding new DTC models is a major mistake.
This is why third-party logistics increased in record numbers since the start of the Covid crisis, strengthening the DTC approach for brands.
The definition of athleisurewear is activewear. From fitness pants to sports bras and shoes for specific physical activity, this industry is #winning. A True Fit Fashion Genome report confirms that athleisurewear saw an 84% increase since 2020 in the U.K. alone. From April 2020 to December 2020 women’s athleisurewear bottoms increased 5x! Even Target, the American retail outlet reached 1 billion USD for its activewear products in 2021.
Athleisurewear is not only comfortable to wear around the house, but it’s all-day wear whether you’re cooking or running. Customers always tend to choose brands that fit their lifestyle, and the wellness industry has clearly shown health and fitness are a top priority for more customers today. This is why athleisurewear in 2022 will be growing exponentially.
Sporting goods supply
There was a 7 –10x increase in shipping prices in 2021 due to demand and supply chain inefficiency. From declining production to the HGV driver shortage it’s been a shaky time for logistics and retail. The costs of raw materials also skyrocketed – forcing more businesses to start cutting operational costs to make up the difference. More companies are now using alternative means to improve their supply chains, from 3pl’s to manufacturers.
Being prepared for future volatility in supply chain affairs is a good way to future-proof your business. Using eCommerce warehouses and outsourcing fulfilment is one of the best ways to prevent losing future earnings and overcoming fluctuating prices.
Sporting goods returns
In the sporting goods industry, clothing is the largest segment for customer returns. According to Royal Mail last year, 61% of online shoppers returned clothing, and 35% returned footwear.” With more consumers exploring online shopping this is a natural occurrence bound to happen, especially in online retail clothing. This greatly impacts company profits, further exploiting the weakness in digital commerce.
Though most business owners say that dealing with returns negatively impacts their businesses daily, it’s actually an opportunity. A solid returns policy with no charge to the customer and added convenience will win future business. Returning online parcels doesn’t have to be a hassle for you or your customers.
Selazar for instance handles returns and does quality checks on all returned items, then adds back to the original stock for immediate resale. Their Return Robin integration even allows parcels to be returned online from home. This has implications to help medium and enterprise-level companies save thousands a year in storage and employee costs.
You can actually save money and increase customer retention, winning future business. Remember that 58% of customers want a hassle-free “no questions asked” return policy.
Higher fulfilment standards for sporting goods
Today’s consumer has new standards for everything, including fulfilment standards. Same day dispatch and next delivery are more preferred to today’s consumers. Only 32% of consumers are willing to wait 2 – 3 days for their deliveries nowadays.
This is a critical customer touchpoint as well as a competitive advantage. Speed matters to today’s consumers. If you’re not offering the best in online fulfilment solutions for B2C or B2B your competitors will gain an advantage over you. The Baymard Institute found that long shipping times account for 70% of abandoned carts online.
18 billion in eCommerce revenue is lost each year due to cart abandonment.
Lastly, as we recently discussed in our article on jewellery trends, ethical sustainability is a wide-ranging issue affecting every industry. Today’s buyer is more caring about climate change and ethical practices for brands. This means using more sustainable materials and ethical sourcing.
People’s awareness around this today is non-negotiable. 87% of consumers want brands to encourage future sustainability. Those industry leaders that are transparent in their practices will gain more market share while also fostering a more positive and caring environment for the planet.
Sporting goods market conclusion
There are many factors to successful online selling in the sporting goods market today. Authenticity counts now that people have greater access to brands. Cultivating a strong brand story with ethical practices using all digital channels available to you count. Make sure you have quick delivery and a strong return policy. The leaders who will thrive not only understand the customer journey, but the customer wants and lifestyles. Developing brand loyalty creates that long-term relationship and business prosperity.
Should you need any help automating quick delivery and eCommerce warehousing schedule a free call with us today. No hassle. Save money and save time. We would love to hear about your business goals today.