Sports Retailer Trends 2018

With close to half of US retail sales being digitally influenced1, sports retailers and brands are seeking innovative ways to create a unique digital CX. Business leaders face the challenge of adapting to meet the needs of this first truly digital generation, Millennials. In our latest white paper, explore the Millennial effect on the sports retail industry. Read about the latest best practices to effectively engage with this audience as you navigate your way to success.

Top Sport Retail Trends

In recent years, there has been a major shift in the apparel industry toward athleisure. The preference for yoga pants and other activewear are accepted by US consumers as attire living beyond the gym. Leading sports retailers market fashionable items with the rising athleisure trend. They also provide unique experiences through adventure sports. The concept of sportswear has expanded beyond traditional sports into a lifestyle.


Athleisure is currently the only area of fashion which is experience growth. According to Millennial Marketing, 60% of Millennials work out on a regular basis and 73% say physical appearance is important to them.² Alongside many aspirational role models online, wearing sports clothes outside of the gym allows them to identify themselves as part of this trend.

I’m often asked if the athleisure trend is going to fade away, and the answer is no” says Marshal Cohen, NPD’s chief advisor-retail.

Adventure sports

The growing popularity of adventure sports has become a key driver for sporting equipment retailers. With today’s modern lifestyle, consumers look for opportunities to escape with unique adventure experiences. Social media allows sports, and in particular, extreme sports to reach, engage and fascinate hard core sports enthusiasts and the general public. Adventure tourism is enjoying significant growth as Millennials seek authentic experiences. Most adventure sports enthusiasts research destinations online as they plan their trips. The research includes browsing social media sites to discover new experiences not previously promoted by any organization.

Learn about new approaches to engage adventure travelers by reading our white paper, Redefining Digital CX in Online Tourism.

Millennial impact on sports retail

Millennials are the first truly digital generation. They are taking an active lead in defining today’s trends. This is especially true for the sports retail industry. This sector has experienced major changes due to the two trends previously explained. These are trends promoted by millennials through social media.

Millennials are known for doing the majority of their shopping online. They spend longer periods of time researching the products they intend to purchase. While they desire more pre-sales knowledge, two out of three millennials use adblockers. This is a group that shuns traditional advertising channels in favor of more authentic forms of information. As such, they are increasingly turning to independent experts for advice.

For example, Australian fitness blogger and expert Kayla Itsines recently achieved 40% more post engagement than Adidas and Nike combined for the same period.

Sports retail brands must adapt. But how?

Sport retail brands are striving to keep up with new consumer needs and expectations. But so far, the online experience is not comparable with the physical store experience. Brands need to rethink how they can put digital at the heart of their strategy to remain relevant and competitive.

Millennials expect a personal and seamless customer experience (CX) within this per connected digital world. Consumers now decide what to pay attention to based on emotions and conversion.” James McQuivey, VP, Principal Analyst, Forrester Research. Watch our Forrester webinar here.

The type of connection that drives brand loyalty and CLTV is the human connection. Now is the time to make your sports retail brand stand out from the crowd by looking to independent experts. By doing so, you’ll create a key differentiator for your brand.

If you’re a marketing or digital expert looking to improve your CX and optimize your team’s performance, you won’t want to miss our new white paper, download our sports retail report here.


1Forrester Analytics: Digital-influenced retail sales forecasts, 2018 to 2023

²Mediakix, What Is A Millenial? Statistics, Demographics, Tips On How To Market To Them? demographics-statistics/#gs.7FsMQxg

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