by Richa Naidu
LONDON (Reuters) – Weekly sales of women’s football gear have tripled since the start of the women’s European Championship, which ended on Sunday with a historic victory for England, according to retailer Fanatics Inc, which sold official merchandise for the tournament.
The increase in sales demonstrates the growing appeal of the women’s sportswear market as social barriers are broken down and participation levels increase. The England senior team’s previous success was for the men’s team to win the World Cup in 1966, at a time when women’s football was banned in the country.
An extra-time goal from England’s Chloe Kelly secured a 2-1 victory over Germany at London’s Wembley Stadium on Sunday in front of nearly 90,000 fans, an attendance record for any UEFA tournament, including the men’s matches. The final also had a peak television viewership of 17.4 million people on the BBC, the highest ratings in the UK for a women’s match.
In the four hours after England won the game, online sales of women’s merchandise – from shirts to scarves to mugs – rose by about 640%, Fanatics told Reuters. The company, which is the world’s largest licensed sporting goods retailer, operates England’s official online store and works with brands such as Nike and Adidas.
“More women’s merchandise was sold in just four hours after the final whistle than in the seven days leading up to the final,” Jack Boyle, co-director of global direct-to-consumer sales at Fanatics, told Reuters.
GRAPHIC: Sales of Women’s Football Merchandise Soar in Euro Final (https://graphics.reuters.com/RETAIL-SPORTS/FOOTBALL/akvezkqqjpr/chart.png)
Sports brands and retailers, such as Nike and Adidas, and US chain Dick’s Sporting Goods, are making more space in their inventories and aisles for women’s gear and merchandise.
Adidas’ head of global brands Brian Grevy counts “women’s business sales growth” among his personal bonus criteria, according to the company’s 2021 annual report. The company is trying to increase currency-neutral net sales for its women’s business at an average percentage rate of teenagers each year, on average, between 2021-2025.
“In the last two or three years, we’ve seen more investment from Nike and Adidas, especially in women’s football – so as they are putting their dollars into the sport, it benefits them,” said Jessica Ramirez, an analyst. at brokerage J Hali and Associates.
The women’s sportswear market in 2018 alone was valued at $26.8 billion, according to data from Euromonitor International, compared to $80.1 billion for the total sportswear market. Euromonitor did not have more recent figures.
“It might be worth four or five times what it is today, but I hate to put a limit because I think it’s limitless,” Boyle said. Last year, Fanatics’ global sales of women’s athletic products increased by 28%. “I think we’re in the right place to seize the moment,” she added.
(Reporting by Richa Naidu. Editing by Matt Scuffham, Ros Russell and Emelia Sithole-Matarise)