• Fashion United / Marjorie van Elven | Thursday

Women’s sports rise in popularity and fashion retail follows the trend

There may still be a long way for women’s sports to get all the attention they deserve, but things are certainly moving forward, considering how much fashion brands and retailers have expanded their offering of women’s sports apparel in recent months.

Fifa effect

Retail analytics firm Edited has noticed a “Fifa effect” following the USA gold medal win at the 2019 Fifa Women’s World Cup earlier this year. While last year saw only 35 new arrivals in women’s soccer-related apparel items, this year retailers stocked over 500 new products in this category, with T-shirts and jerseys as the most stocked items. Kohl’s, for instance, offered just one product for the previous women’s Fifa World Cup in 2015, compared to 13 products this year.

Nike was the brand which benefited the most from women’s soccer increased popularity. Nike’s women’s soccer items had a sellout rate of 38 percent between January and August 2019, with 25 percent of the products replenished. Alex Morgan jerseys were the most successful item.

Many fashion brands mentioned the world cup win in their newsletters, taking the opportunity to champion women’s empowerment. Even retailers which are not best known for sports apparel joined in the bandwagon, such as Ted Baker, which showed support to the USA team by giving customers an additional 15 percent discount off sale items with the coupon code ‘USA15’.

WNBA apparel grows 261 percent in the US

Women’s basketball is also enjoying a surge in popularity. According to Edited, WNBA apparel stocked across the market was up 261 percent year-over-year. Walmart more than doubled down on its investment with an increase of 108 percent year-on-year. Additionally, the average full price commanded for WNBA products has risen dramatically while discounts have declined, which is an evidence of its accessibility for fans and how it consistently sells well for retailers who invest.

"Fresh off Team USA's gold medal win for the 2019 FIFA Women's World Cup, the female impact on the male-dominated world of sports is undeniable. Transcending TV viewership into retail trends and product offerings, consumers are finally waking up and giving women's athletics the attention it deserves," said Edited’s retail analyst Krista Corrigan in an email to FashionUnited.

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