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Ecommerce in Sport - Thematic Intelligence

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  • 21 Pages
  • May 2023
  • Region: Global
  • GlobalData
  • ID: 5807491
An analysis of the how the ecommerce industry intersects with sport, and its trajectory in the coming years

The growth of the internet has, for obvious reasons, seen an enormous rise in the financial power of the sector. Online shopping has become popular due to its convenience and ease, with people not even needing to leave their house to purchase goods. Improved delivery speeds have also led to more people adopting these services, with Amazon's Prime one-day delivery proving highly popular among consumers.

Both Nike and Adidas are well clear of the rest of their competitors, including Puma and New Balance. The two leaders generate billions in revenue each year, and their sales have been bolstered by the ease and accessibility of their online platforms. Despite their strength in the market, both have come under fire for ethical reasons, specifically Nike, whose usage of sweatshops has seen the brand come under multiple investigations for poor working conditions.

Brands like Nike, Adidas, Puma, and New Balance have built up their brands by securing endorsement deals with some of the world's biggest athletes. Michael Jordan's deal with Nike has been one of the biggest sponsorship deals in history, giving Jordan his own brand of trainers under the Nike umbrella. While this is a rare example due to the size and scope of the deal, it highlights just how much an athlete and a brand can grow their profiles in collaboration with one another.

Amazon is the only example of an ecommerce company successfully breaking into the area of sports streaming. Its enormous wealth has afforded it the ability to acquire valuable sports rights for sizable sums to boost traffic and subscriber count to its streaming platform. Leagues that have partnered with Amazon include the NFL and the Premier League, both of which signed multi-year deals.

Who Should Buy

Investors who are attempting to understand the current power dynamics within the sporting apparel industry, and how this came to be.

Sports industry professionals who want a detailed analysis on how sports business has been affected by the growth of ecommerce.

Sports industry workers who are keen to understand how ecommerce platforms have begun intersecting with sport in sponsorship and endorsement deals, merchandise sales and even media broadcasting.

Key Highlights

Platforms such as Nike and Adidas have grown their brands in recent decades to become some of the biggest names in the business. They are among the largest providers of sporting goods and equipment for consumers, with Nike being the world's largest supplier of athletic shoes, while Adidas is the largest sportswear manufacturer in Europe, only trailing Nike globally. In 2021 alone, Nike made a profit of $44.5 billion while Adidas generated revenues of $25 billion, which dwarfs any other company in the market by a very significant margin. Adidas comfortably dwarfs the smaller to medium-sized companies in the market but is subsequently dwarfed by Nike, which can spend money that no other company in the space can.

Amazon made another significant breakthrough in the streaming business by securing the UEFA Champions League in the UK and will share coverage with BT Sport. From the 2024/25 season onwards, Amazon will broadcast the major Tuesday night games all the way through to the semi-finals, which will account for around 20 games in total. BT, which has held the rights since 2015, will continue broadcasting the rest of the competition's games, as well as the other European club competitions including the UEFA Europa League and the UEFA Conference League. The move highlights Amazon's growing strength in the streaming market, especially given that it has secured rights to the most prestigious club competition in European soccer.

The ecommerce market is expected to grow to a market value of $20.7 trillion by 2025, due to factors including increased smartphone usage and accessibility to online shopping. Faster browsing speeds due to increased connectivity, as well as the ongoing development of 4G/5G, will aid the increasing number of smartphone users in different markets looking to do more online shopping. The number of businesses and startups in smaller markets (including India and South Africa) is also likely to drive financial growth.

Online shopping is a desirable option for a business due to less expenditure on infrastructure while allowing a greater reach due to the globality of the internet. This global exposure allows for an increase in the global profile of the business, which naturally increases the number of consumers. Additionally, there are now more online marketing tools than ever due to the nature of online ads, as well as companies such as Google and Facebook tailoring their ads to users' search histories.

More than 50% of Amazon's sales come from independent sellers who pay a commission on each sale. However, before Nike's agreement with Amazon, most Nike products being sold on Amazon were counterfeit or ‘gray-market' goods. The latter refers to products that are made by the official brand but sold through unofficial channels. While the agreement was made based on the idea of fighting the counterfeit market, as well as eliminating third-party sellers to reroute more funds to Nike, the brand learned that this market is almost impossible to stop or regulate in any kind of stringent fashion. The network of online counterfeit sellers is too significant and complex for one company to be able to stop. Even when unsanctioned sellers were banned and taken down, they reappeared under different names. Additionally, Nike's pages struggled to gain more favorable reviews from consumers due to price points, so official Nike products were harder to find than the unofficial versions.


  • This report provides an overview of the history of ecommerce in sport, and how the industry has developed in the previous decades
  • It identifies the key trends within the ecommerce industry, and the challenges that the sector faces going forward
  • A look at the dominance of Nike and Adidas within the sector, and how they have established so much success in the sportswear apparel industry
  • A detailed look at the ecommerce in sport value chain, and who the dominant leaders are within the sector

Reasons to Buy

  • For those wanting an in-depth analysis of current state of play in sporting ecommerce industry
  • Discusses the way ecommerce has grown in stature, and has interwoven itself into larger societal issues such as social justice
  • The publisher's thematic research ecosystem is a single, integrated global research platform that provides an easy-to-use framework for tracking all themes across all companies in all sectors. It has a proven track record of identifying the important themes early, enabling companies to make the right investments ahead of the competition, and secure that all-important competitive advantage.

Table of Contents

1. Executive Summary

2. Players

3. Thematic briefing

4. Trends

5. Industry Analysis
5.1 Market size and growth forecasts
5.2 Timeline

6. Value chain

7. Companies

8. Further reading

9. Our thematic research methodology

10. About the Publisher

11. Contact the Publisher

Companies Mentioned (Partial List)

A selection of companies mentioned in this report includes, but is not limited to:

  • Adidas
  • Amazon
  • Alibaba
  • New Balance
  • Nike
  • Puma
  • NBA
  • NFL
  • IOC