High street vital for sports and outdoor brands, shopper study reveals

Bricks and mortar stores are the lifeblood of sports and outdoor brands as shoppers seek to try before they buy, according to The Market Creative’s Sports and Outdoor Shopping Uncovered report.

The retail and brand consultancy asked around 1,000 home and leisure shoppers about how they prefer to shop and what influences them to buy.

It found nearly 66 per cent visit a store at some stage when purchasing sports, fitness and outdoor goods – more so than any other category.

They were also more likely to be brand driven.

Furthermore, while around 33 per cent of people prefer to buy online, 41 per cent solely shop in-store, 10 per cent higher than all home and leisure shoppers.

Age is a key discriminator in shopping preferences, according to the study.

Just over half of millennials visit a store at some point, compared with 69 per cent of baby boomers.

While getting a good price was important, shoppers buying sports and outdoor products were less likely to expect a sale or bargain, as they believe you get what you pay for.

Sue Benson, managing director of The Market Creative, says: “With desire to see and play with products before buying the most dominant force in this category, it’s clear to see why physical stores play such a big role.

“Successful brands must educate customers, give them an immersive and unique experience, while making it easy to try on and try out.

“As well as having a positive impact on the bottom line, this approach will help avoid the need for discounting.

“We’ve seen how great the rewards can be, with brands like Nike and adidas making waves not just in sportswear, but in retail as a whole as innovators and inspirational leaders on the high street.”

The Sports and Outdoor Shopping Uncovered report is available to download at

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