In sporting goods and fitness, differentiation is more important than ever based on some eye-opening facts. Recent statistics show sporting goods sales are currently at $48 billion annually, which is a significant 2.3% growth rate in the last six years.
Based on these figures, competition is increasing and understanding opportunities for growth is key in marketing.
Trends in saturation, innovation, brand awareness, loyalty, and brand experience are all part of the biggest hurdles.
Take a look at the latest trends in sporting goods and fitness below.
A Saturated Market
Market Watch reported a sobering story last year about many sporting goods stores: Too many of them exist. As a result, there aren't enough customers to go around.
They cited Dick's Sporting Goods, a once successful U.S. brand perhaps nearing trouble because of an overly saturated market. Other sporting goods brands like Vestis Retail Group and Sports Authority filed for bankruptcy last year as well due to extreme competition.
For any sport and fitness business differentiation needs to be a top priority. Still, sporting goods stores like Hibbett Sports continue to grow thanks to specific brand difference. Their targeted brand strategy is in bringing convenience and availability.
Another key trend to explore is innovation and how the sporting goods industry manages to keep growing. With Hibbett Sports as a good example above, it's worth taking some advice from sporting goods marketing experts.
As noted by trends and innovation expert Jim Carroll, sporting goods innovation almost always comes from consumers. The latter frequently dictates the future on what happens. In the end, this occurs through redefining existing products.
For many recent cases, this means taking old standby sporting equipment and bringing a new twist. Tech innovations like chip-empowered products are good examples becoming more mainstream.
Building Awareness and Loyalty
How can a sporting goods and fitness company like yours stand out in a time of extreme saturation? The key to this is to completely understand your buying demographic and target them specifically.
Finding a niche isn't always easy in a busy market. Targeting a specific group ultimately makes all the difference for bringing in steady customers, as well as nurturing loyalty.
Many marketing analysts note, sporting goods businesses need to focus more on Millennials to maintain a loyal consumer base. Both Generation Y and Z have become more focused on fitness and health, bringing a valuable demographic to research.
Creating customer personas is one of the best approaches while analysing what Millennials truly want. You also want to know what they value so you can market products around their personalities and pain points.
Creating a Brand Experience
Another major trend you see in all fields today is creating brand experiences for consumers. In sporting goods and fitness, this is just as essential for another level toward differentiation.
Marketing analysts in this area note playing up product excellence just isn't enough anymore in an overly crowded market. Now it's all about the functional benefits of these products. In addition, millennials desire shared experiences in person or online.
Creating brand communities is fast becoming a stronger force. By creating these relationships, you'll shape your products as a way to reinforce consumer values. You can even assuage a buyer's need for self-expression through product symbolism.
In order to stand out in a changing industry, differentiate your sporting and fitness products through innovation and social engagement.