Do sports brands make the best fashiontech?


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Sports brands are fashion giants; the segment is growing by the year. The estimated value of activewear is to reach $288 billion by the end of 2017, whereas in 2007 it amounted to $214 billion (Morgan Stanley 2016). Writing an article on the future of fashion (you can read it here in Viva.pl in Polish), I noticed that sports brands are doing great at fashiontech. In certain aspects, they are a notch above other fashion brands. I decided to explore the subject and see how it really is and what causes it.

I initiated a discussion on GeekGoesChic Facebook Group, a place for fashion industry professionals to exchange ideas. Here are the replies:

  • it is easier to build an online communication about sport, as it is an easy subject;
  • sports brands have larger budgets than other brands;
  • sports brands customers are more open-minded – they are oriented at progress and at overcoming barriers;
  • professional athletes have to achieve the best results possible, which is why brands are working on supporting them – the better results athletes wearing clothes of a given brand achieve, the better it is for the popularity of the brand;
  • there are fewer Chanel customers than those of sports brands – sport can be practised by anybody, and anyone can like activewear.

I am also going to add emotions to that list – sport arouses many of those; therefore, in order to heighten them, sports brands have to keep becoming more and more innovative. Even the best commercials and advertisements are presented during sports events (such as SuperBowl – coincidence?).

Activewear in the Social Media

Then, I did some small research in the social media in order to verify my hypotheses, and it turned out that:

  • 6 out of 10 most popular brands on Instagram concern sport (not including Victoria’s Secret’s Instagram, which is also partly dedicated to sportswear) – November 2017;
  • there is only one fashion brand among the top 10 brand pages on Facebook – Nike (+ Nike Football). There are also 2 technology brands (Samsung Mobile and Microsoft Lumia). And 2 retail (Amazon.com and Walmart);
  • 5 out of the 15 most popular fashion brands on Instagram are sports brands (including Nike twice), 6 are luxury brands, 4 are fast fashion (including Victoria’s Secret);
  • among the most popular #hashtags on Instagram, ‘fashion’ is ranked 5th, and ‘fitness’ is ranked 31st;
  • among the 10 most popular brands on Twitter, there is no sports one, but there are Chanel, Victoria’s Secret, Mark Jacobs and H&M; on Twitter, the 10 most popular non-sports fashion brands have +13 million followers, whereas sports ones have +7 million.

Thus, the initial hypothesis stating that sports brands are the most involved in the social media proved to be only partly true. Activewear brands are very popular on Instagram, but luxury brands are also doing great (better on YouTube and Twitter). Having analysed the profiles of those brands, I concluded that when it comes to fashion in the social media, one thing prevails – the same one that keeps inspiring us to purchase traditional fashion magazines: mythologisation. Both luxury and sports brands present archetypes of people whom we wish we were – on one hand, wealthy and finely-dressed, straight out of the front pages of magazines; and athletic demigods overcoming the boundaries of human capabilities on the other. Luxury and sports brands do it best. The unattainable is the most enticing. Therefore, although every brand should have its own brand persona, creating it is easier for some, as certain values are more important to us than others. In spite of their high activity in the social media, only 68% have implemented ‘Shop now’ on their fb page and only 25% use Like2buy or its equivalent (L2 Digital IQ Index).

Sport in Wearables

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