We’re almost halfway through 2024, and it’s clear that the sports ecommerce sector is evolving at a rapid pace.

Internet Retailing recently released their Global Sports Goods Report 2024 and it’s clear that a number of key trends are reshaping the industry, creating more and more opportunities for sports ecommerce brands to dominate in an sector previously reliant on the in-store experience.

Let’s take a look at some of the trends that sports retailers need to be aware of in 2024 and beyond.

The lines are blurring between between sports and fashion

Sports consumers’ growing willingness to buy online can be, in part, credited to the growing overlap between the sports and fashion sectors. Athleisure has been a big fashion trend over the past few years, spurred by the pandemic in 2020, and this means that many fashion consumers are buying from sports brands for their everyday attire. Since athleisure is more akin to fashion, there’s naturally more willingness to buy online, and these purchases are likely viewed as less risky when compared to specialist sporting equipment, for example.

Actionable tips: review your product offerings and collections. If you don’t have relevant athleisure collections on site, create them where possible to start targeting the younger, fashion-conscious consumer, and capitalise on search volume around these trends.

Convenience is a priority for many sportswear consumers

The biggest driver of consumers shopping for sports goods online (ironically) lies in it being less effort. In fact, 24% of shoppers globally say that they choose to shop online for the convenience and 24/7 availability.

Actionable tips: Review your website’s user experience, in particular the checkout process, to make sure it’s as quick and seamless as possible for customers to find what they’re looking for and complete a purchase.

Subscriptions are on the rise

With a growing desire for convenience, it’s no surprise that sports consumers are in favour of subscriptions. In 2024, 18% of sports goods shoppers buy their sporting materials through subscriptions – a figure comparable to the level of subscriptions seen in fashion and cosmetics. To put things into perspective, this is only 11% behind groceries, where subscriptions have long been a natural fit.

There are two main reasons why sports consumers opt for subscription services. The first is that sports shoppers often buy the same products on repeat, such as running shoes, tennis balls or water bottles, and need regular replacements according to their sports regime. The second reason is that they are driven by cheap (or free) and fast delivery, which drives them towards subscription services. 18% of global sports shoppers say that free delivery is the reason they subscribe.

Actionable tips: Offer a subscription-based buying model to your customers for products that need to be bought on repeat. If you’re a Shopify user, the process is pretty painless, as there are a number of subscription apps available which integrate with your online store.

Sports consumers are driven by discounts

No surprises here – sports consumers love a bargain, with 30% of consumers opting for online shopping in order to bag discounts and special offers. Sports goods tend to be high ticket items, and as such, savvy shoppers are on the lookout for savings.

Actionable tips: Sports ecommerce brands should use email marketing to capitalise on consumers’ desire for discounts. Welcome offers, abandoned basket automations and personalised discounts will help sports brands to drive online sales and build a loyal customer base.

Hybrid retail is still king

While more and more sports goods shoppers have embraced ecommerce in recent years (80% of sports consumers say they buy online at least some of the time), the sports sector still has the highest levels of hybrid retail of any sector.

Sportswear and sporting equipment has long been a ‘try before you buy’ industry, due to higher price points and the right comfort/fit being absolutely vital. It’s also an industry that sees a huge amount of brand loyalty. Take running shoes for example. In order to run marathons, your shoes have to be the perfect fit – once you find a product you know does the job, you may be keen to stick with that brand and style when the time comes to buy a replacement. The first purchase will likely be made in store, allowing you to try on the shoes, with like-for-like replacements repeated online.

Actionable tips: If you’re running a brick-and-mortar store alongside an ecommerce website, you should ensure that you’re operating a hybrid shopping model. Areas you can implement this include click-and-collect, virtual try-ons powered by AR, and loyalty programs to integrate online and offline purchases.

Sports consumers prefer mobile

We already know that sports consumers are shopping online, but the device they’re using to do so is just as important. Currently, 70% of sports shoppers around the world are using smartphones to buy sports goods either some or all of the time, behind only fashion and cosmetics.

Actionable tips: If your website isn’t mobile-friendly, you need to make sure it’s optimised for mobile and tablet devices as soon as possible. Check that your layout or theme is mobile responsive, your site speeds are under three seconds, and your font is readable on smaller screens.

Is your website hindering conversions? Not sure how to start selling subscriptions? We’ve built award-winning ecommerce websites for sports brands like yours – send us a message to get started.