The sports apparel market can be divided into segments, each with its own needs and wants. The key to successful marketing is understanding these different segments and targeting them with the right products.
One of the most popular methods for performing market segmentation uses demographic factors like age, gender and income.
Other methods use psychographic factors like lifestyle, motivations, values, likes and dislikes as well as behavioral factors like purchasing habits, how someone intends to use a product or service, how often they will use it, the benefits they seek, or brand preference that they have.
In this article, we will perform sports apparel market segmentation using the following 10 variables: type of sports apparel, price range, style, color, material, lifestyle, the occasion of use, brand, gender, and age.
But first, let’s start by understanding why sports apparel market segmentation is important.
The Importance of Segmentation of the Sports Apparel Market
The segmentation of the sports apparel market is essential because it allows sports apparel manufacturers and retailers to target specific groups of consumers with laser precision.
By understanding the needs and wants of different segments, businesses can create products that are more likely to appeal to them and retailers can stock sporting clothes that their customers are most likely to buy.
The market for sports apparel ranges from those looking for a practical everyday pair of running shoes to those searching for a specialty item like a UV-resistant rash guard for surfing.
By dividing the sports apparel market into segments, we can better understand the different needs of each group and how to best to serve them.
Variables for Sports Apparel Market Segmentation
Sports apparel market segmentation can be performed along the following 10 axes:
type of sports apparel, price range, style, color, material, lifestyle, the occasion of use, brand, gender, and age.
Different people have different needs, wants and motivations for purchasing a product or service
And so most sports apparel manufacturers do not cater to all buyers. Instead, they focus on those segments of the market that are most likely to buy their products.
With market segmentation, they can target specific groups of consumers with tailor-made products or services that satisfy their needs.
It is therefore essential that businesses decide which segments they want to target and then design their products, marketing, and sales strategy accordingly.
Let’s now look in detail at each of the 10 variables used in sports apparel market segmentation.
#1. Segmentation Based on Type of Sports Apparel
The type of sports apparel is the most important variable in segmenting the sports apparel market.
The main types of sports apparel are:
- athletic footwear
- sports equipment
Each type of sports apparel purchaser has its own unique needs and wants.
For example, those who purchase athletic footwear are looking for comfort and performance, while those who buy activewear are looking for products that are stylish and fashionable.
Sports equipment buyers, on the other hand, are looking for durability and functionality.
Businesses need to understand the needs of each group in order to create products that they will want to purchase.
They also need to stock the types of sports apparel that their target market is most likely to buy.
For example, a sports equipment store that caters to professional athletes is not going to stock the same products as a fashion retailer that targets teenage girls.
Different types of sports apparel stores will therefore segment the market differently.
Athletic footwear stores, for example, will segment the market based on the type of sports that their customers play. They will stock different products for running, basketball, football, etc.
Activewear stores will segment the market based on lifestyle and occasions. They will stock different products for going to the gym, running errands, going to work, etc.
Sports equipment stores will segment the market based on the type of sports that their customers play. They will stock different products for baseball, golf, hockey, etc.
#2. Segmentation Based on Price range
Sports apparel exists in all price ranges, from the very cheap to the very expensive.
Not all sports apparel buyers are willing or able to spend a lot of money on their purchase. Some look for a bargain, while others are willing to pay any price for the right product.
Businesses need to segment the market based on price in order to target those consumers who are willing to pay the prices they are asking.
They also need to be aware of the competition and what price ranges they are targeting.
#3. Segmentation Based on Style
When it comes to sports apparel style matters as much as functionality.
Some sports apparel is designed to be worn during actual sports activity, while other sports apparel is designed to be worn as casual wear or streetwear.
Still other sports apparel is designed to be worn as formal wear.
Businesses need to segment the market based on style to target those consumers who are looking for the type of sports apparel they offer.
They also need to be aware of the competition and what styles they are targeting.
Different sports apparel stores will segment the market differently.
Some stores, such as sporting goods stores, will segment the market based on the type of sports that their customers play.
Other stores, such as fashion retailers, will segment the market based on lifestyle and occasions.
#4. Segmentation Based on Material
Sports apparel products are made with different types of materials including natural fibers like cotton and synthetic fibers like polyester and blends of both.
Segmentation based on the type of material used in sportswear is important because different materials have different properties that make them more or less suitable for different sports and activities.
Natural fibers like cotton are usually more breathable and comfortable to wear, while synthetic fibers like polyester are usually more durable and provide more support.
Sports apparel buyers use this factor in their purchase decision.
#6. Segmentation Based on Lifestyle
Sports apparel is not just for athletes anymore. An active lifestyle is no longer just for sports enthusiasts.
Nowadays, people of all ages and lifestyles are looking for sports apparel that they can wear during their everyday activities.
This has created a new segment in the sports apparel market, which is segmented based on lifestyle rather than sport.
For instance, there are now sports apparel products designed for people who lead sedentary lifestyles, such as office workers, and for people who lead active lifestyles, such as hikers and cyclists.
This segmentation is important because it allows businesses to target those consumers who are most likely to purchase their products.
#7. Segmentation Based on Occasion of Use
The occasion when sports apparel will be used is also an important variable in sports apparel market segmentation. This is important because different sports apparel is designed for different occasions.
For instance, sports bras are designed to be worn during physical activity, while tank tops and t-shirts are designed to be worn as casual wear.
Track pants and sweatshirts are usually designed to be worn as athleisure wear, while sports coats and suits are usually designed to be worn as formal wear.
#8. Segmentation Based on Brand
Brands are a powerful purchase driver in the sports apparel market.
Many sports apparel buyers are extremely loyal to a particular brand, and will never switch for any reason.
This is because different sports apparel brands are associated with different images and values.
For instance, some sports apparel brands are associated with luxury and high-end fashion, while others are associated with affordability and value.
Some sports apparel brands are also associated with specific sports or athletes.
#9. Segmentation Based on Gender
Sports apparel is designed differently for men and women.
Women’s apparel is often designed to be attractive while retaining its functionality while men’s apparel concentrates more on functionality than aesthetics.
The colors used in sports apparel for men and women are also usually different, with women’s apparel often being more colorful and brighter than men’s apparel.
Some apparel products are also shaped differently depending on whether they are made for men or women. For example, women’s sweatshirts often have a more fitted shape than men’s.
#10. Segmentation Based on Age
Age is a factor in sports apparel market segmentation in two ways.
First, sports apparel brands often target specific age groups with their marketing and advertising.
For instance, many sports apparel brands target young adults aged 18-34 with their marketing because this age group is most likely to be active and participate in sports.
Second, sports apparel is often designed specifically for different age groups.
For instance, there are sports apparel products specifically designed for children, teenagers, and adults.
This is because different age groups have different needs when it comes to sports apparel.
For instance, children need sports apparel that is designed to be comfortable and easy to move in, while adults need sports apparel that is more durable and stylish.
As you can see, the market for sports apparel can be segmented using many variables and can be analyzed from different angles.
In this article, we performed sports apparel market segmentation following these 10 factors: type of sports apparel, price range, style, color, material, lifestyle, the occasion of use, brand, gender, and age.
Sports Apparel manufacturers and retailers often use market segmentation to better understand their customers and figure out how to appeal to them.
With sports apparel market segmentation, they can better understand which of their products are likely to sell well and can target their audiences more effectively.