Insight into a Sport-Goods-Customer Purchase Journey

Insight into a Sport-Goods-Customer Purchase Journey

The B2B sports industry is quite huge and all the operations from manufacturing to shipping are carried out with a customer-centric approach. However, regardless of the type of business, there is only one key to success – a satisfied customer. Other than quality and pricing many other factors contribute to customer satisfaction and those can only be determined by having a deep insight into consumer behavior and their purchase journey.

A study named “Shopper Playbook: Insights into the Sporting Goods Shopper,” was currently published with fruitful insights based on extensive research. It was released by the National Association of Sporting Goods Retailers and the information provided is no less than a treat for anyone dealing with sporting goods or Sports Goods Manufacturers.

The report mentions that regardless of your role in serving the ‘generate more growth’ objective, whether you’re receiving or giving end, understanding the buyer’s purchase journey is crucial to discover growth opportunities.

The NSGA’s study is grounded on research carried out on the attitudes and behaviors of 1600 different sporting goods shoppers and added 3600 in-store observations. Here’s a quick review of the study’s key findings.

A sport shopper’s journey starts with purchase decisions which are planned at times, but unplanned as well. A planned purchase cycle looks something like this:

  • Planning – Recognizing the need and deciding on goods to purchase.
  • Shopping – Sneaking out for available options.
  • Purchase – Buying the product.
  • Post-purchase perceptions – Play into potential purchases in the near future.


Consumer purchase behavior is categorized into 3 major types:

  1. Planned: Customers specifically visit stores with a plan in their heads to make certain purchases.
  2. Functional/Unplanned: The purchase is not planned; sudden exposure to the product reminds them of their need or want.
  3. Impulse: A purchase the customer never intended to make but realized the need/want after seeing the product.


The study highlights another important factor – How sports shoppers review purchase options early in their purchase journey. Whether it be planned or functional unplanned purchases up to 63% of customers opt for research before purchasing.

It was further categorized and the research revealed that 67% of athletic equipment shoppers perform research prior to purchasing, followed by footwear shoppers at 59%. Apparel is searched the least at 45%.

Another variable that the study included associated with online research prior to purchase is the addition of age and price factors. According to it, products costing over $100 are searched by 78% of consumers prior to purchase and 72% of buyers aged under 35 years perform pre-purchase sports product research.

For research and information, no dominant source is determined. However, Amazon and other online stores tend to be the most used influential resources.

Moving forward towards numbers study reports that customers who choose to visit physical stores visit two outlets on average, whereas customers who do their research online, navigate around four websites on average. Sports footwear purchase has the highest number of stores and websites visited prior to purchase – four websites and four outlets. On the contrary, apparel purchases have the least pre-purchase research score – two websites and barely one to two stores.

The final takeaway associated with the planning phase is price. Whether the product is purchased or not, price is the most sought piece of information by sports goods shoppers.


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