Summer of sport: eBay reveals opportunity for brands


As the Tour de France stages start falling across the channel and London prepares for the Athletics World Championships, new data from eBay reveals the huge spikes in consumer spending that are triggered by high profile sporting events.


eBay has analysed user behaviour on its platform over the last year, and can demonstrate that a range of different sports – from cycling and athletics to golf and rugby – have a significant impact on the nation’s purchasing habits.

Top line stats include:

  • On the day Chris Froome rode one of the brand’s models to victory in last year’s Tour de France, there was:

    • 62% rise in searches for “Pinarello”

    • 71% rise in searches for “road bike”

    • 132% uplift in searches for “yellow jersey”

  • During the Rio Olympics last year there was:

    • 66% increase in searches for "running shoes"

    • 113% rise in searches for “running watch”

  • During last year’s Open Championship, searches for “golf bag,” “golf club” and “golf shoes” were up by 46%, 43% and 45%, respectively.

For example, on the final day of the Tour de France last year, searches for “Pinarello” – the bike brands that Chris Froome rode to victory – rose by a huge 62% on, demonstrating that watching a win on screen has a direct impact on shopping trends.

On the same day, searches for “cycling shorts” and “road bike” increased by 46% and 71%, respectively, and searches for “yellow jersey” were up by 132%, as shoppers were inspired to hit the road in their own kit.

Lorna Dunne, Head of Fashion and Sport Vertical, eBay, commented: “Olympic years are usually seen to be the most lucrative for sports companies, but with the right data and a nimble strategy, brands and sellers can tap into the UK’s love of a good competition every summer.”

The athletics effect

August will see London host a major athletics event for the first time since 2012 and eBay’s insights show that it’s likely to encourage spectators to give sports a go themselves.

During the two weeks that the Rio Olympic Games ran, searches for “sports equipment” on eBay UK increased by a quarter (25%) and searches for “running shoes” rose by two thirds (66%). Interest in running watches also jumped by a huge 113%, suggesting viewers were inspired to take their fitness regime to the next level.

On the day following Usain Bolt’s victory in the Olympic 100m final at the Rio Olympics, searches for athletic-specific item “track spikes”, jumped by 69%. Meanwhile on the day of the relay 4 x 100m relay final, searches for “starting blocks” were up by 166%.

An Open opportunity

As we approach the 146th Open Championship later this month, eBay can reveal that golf events have a significant impact on consumer spending. During the three days of last year’s Open Championship, interest in golf-related items rose significantly: searches for “golf bag,” “golf club” and “golf shoes” rose by 46%, 43% and 45%, respectively.

Finally, when the Six Nations arrived on our TV screens earlier this year, eBay insight demonstrates it sparked an increased interest in the sport. On the first day of the tournament, searches for “rugby ball” increased by 79% and searches for “rugby boots” rose by 39%.

Tech uptick   

Of course, sport is not just about the taking part – it’s also about the spectating and supporting. And Brits are more than happy to upgrade their home entertainment systems for the occasion. During the Olympics last year, for instance, searches for “sound bar” and “TV bracket” increased by 54% and 81% respectively, proving that brands and sellers from all categories can claim a piece of the action.

Dunne concluded: “Our insights demonstrate the breadth of sporting activities that inspire shoppers to start searching and spending – amplified by the prevalence of dual screening. It also shows that brands looking to get ahead need to be quick off the mark to tap into the soaring interest triggered around specific tournaments.”

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