LONDON (Reuters) – Weekly sales of women’s soccer apparel have tripled since the start of the European Women’s Championship that ended on Sunday with a historic victory over England, according to retailer Fanatics Inc, which sold official tournament merchandise.
The sudden rise in sales demonstrates the growing attractiveness of the women’s sportswear market, as social barriers are being broken down and participation levels increased. An earlier success for England’s first team was the men’s team winning 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 netted a 2-1 victory over Germany at Wembley Stadium in London on Sunday in front of nearly 90,000 fans, a record for any UEFA competition, including men’s matches. The final also had a peak television audience of 17.4 million people on the BBC, the UK’s highest viewership for a women’s match.
Fanatics told Reuters that in the hour after England won the match, sales of merchandise – from T-shirts to scarves and mugs – rose nearly 17%. The company, which is the world’s largest retailer of licensed sporting goods, operates the official England 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 before the final,” Jack Boyle, global co-head of direct-to-consumer sales for Fanatics, told Reuters.
Sports brands and retailers from Nike and Adidas to US chain Dick’s Sporting Goods are actively working to make more space in their inventory and aisles for women’s gear and merchandise.
Brian Griffey, Adidas Global Head of Brands, counts “women’s business sales growth” among his personal reward criteria, according to the company’s 2021 annual report. The company attempts to grow currency-neutral net sales for its women’s businesses at a percentage rate of mid-teens each year on average. Between 2021-2025.
said Jessica Ramirez, a brokerage analyst at J Hali and Associates.
The women’s sportswear market alone in 2018 was worth $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 could be four or five times what it is today, but I’d hate to put a cap on it because I think it’s infinite,” Boyle said. Last year, global sales of women’s sports fanatics merchandise rose 28%. “I think we are in the right place to take advantage of the momentum,” he added.
(Additional reporting by Richa Naidoo; Editing by Matt Skovham and Rose Russell)