While “America’s Pastime” now ranks well behind football in terms of nationwide popularity, Major League Baseball’s opening day is perhaps the most celebrated “kickoff” of any sports league.
Seen as the unofficial start of spring, MLB’s Opening Day has a long and rich history across the United States. Opening Day is so important to baseball fans that Hall of Fame Shortstop Ozzie Smith has been trying to make Opening Day an official national holiday.
Always eager to dive into data, we wanted to investigate the impact of Opening Day even further. Specifically, we wanted to see how Opening Day 2021 impacted consumer behavior, if Opening Day drives fans to buy more gear than the World Series, and how Opening Day this year compares to last year’s COVID-delayed event.
To find out, our data science team analyzed 2020 and 2021 market demand for MLB team merchandise to learn when consumer demand is highest and which teams have the broadest support when it comes to buying gear for their team.
We started by examining demand on Amazon for all MLB teams combined, starting in January of 2020 all the way through February 2022.
The short answer is: yes, the start of a new season does, indeed, increase market demand for MLB team gear. The week of Opening Day 2021 (March 28 through April 3) saw demand rise by 50% compared to the week before.
Here’s a weekly view of consumer demand for MLB team gear:
As you can see, the beginning of a new MLB season brings a clear surge in consumer demand for team gear. But, interestingly, the biggest week of the past two years fell in mid-June, thanks to Amazon Prime Day.
Also evident in this chart is the impact of COVID-19 had on consumer demand last year. Demand quickly plummeted as lockdowns began and the 2020 season was postponed.
Consumer demand then jumped when the 2020 season resumed the week of its new Opening Day, July 24th, 2020, but it’s clear that fans were much more engaged last year in the face of a more “normal” season.
Opening Day 2021 also brought an increase in demand for MLB’s most popular team gear item: baseball hats.
Demand for MLB team hats experienced a similar drop in demand after the 2020 season was postponed, but on the week of Opening Day 2021, demand for MLB team hats was up 45% compared to the week just one month prior.
Once again, demand was up far more during the 2021 season than the pandemic-disrupted 2020 season, and as with team gear it was Amazon Prime Day that was responsible for the largest week of the entire year.
Next we wanted to see which MLB teams experienced the most demand on Opening Day. To do this, we stuck with examining demand for hats for the 20 most popular teams in our analysis for the week of Opening Day.
It should come as no surprise that the New York Yankees, the biggest team in baseball, experienced by far the highest demand out of any team in our analysis.
Perennially popular teams, the Red Sox, Dodgers, Cubs, and White Sox rounded out the top five.
So that next got us wondering, which teams got the biggest Opening Day boost this year? Or, in other words, which team's fans were the most excited about the season ahead?
To find that out, we examined average daily demand during the week of Opening Day and compared it to the average week over the past two years.
Most of the top teams in our analysis experienced a sizable boost in demand for team hats during the week of Opening Day.
The Tampa Bay Rays, after their 2020 World Series appearance, saw the biggest opening day boost last year, with a whopping 404% increase compared to the average week over the past two years.
Does the World Series affect demand? This one’s pretty straightforward. The answer is yes. A lot.
To illustrate, here’s weekly demand for hats for last year’s World Series runner up, the Houston Astros:
During the week of October 24th, as the Houston Astros entered the World Series, demand shot up by 246% as compared to the overall average.
As you’d expect, the team that ultimately won the world series, the Atlanta Braves, also experienced a tremendous surge in demand:
Unlike the Astros, which saw demand drop immediately the week after the World Series ended, the Braves saw demand surge by 344% vs the overall weekly average after winning the whole thing.
Our analysis shows the excitement that comes with Opening Day drives an in demand for MLB team gear as fans look to express their passion and excitement, but success in the playoffs, and even a big shopping event like Amazon Prime Day can drive huge demand for team gear.
Understanding the factors that influence consumer behavior can help brands better understand how to forecast demand for their products on online marketplaces, and even inform product design and marketing strategy.
To stay up to date on consumer behavior and ecommerce news, info, and trend analyses, be sure to subscribe to Pattern Insights on the right.
And, if you’d like to learn more about how you can best leverage our data to help your brand win online, holiday or not, schedule a demo today.
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Entering the ecommerce landscape is a huge undertaking for any brand—it usually requires a large investment in resources and expertise to really be successful. Any brand can quickly get in over their heads trying to navigate the nuances of SEO, fulfillment and logistics, distribution control, listing optimization, and meeting the numerous other requirements and administrative tasks to show up well on marketplaces.
Unfortunately, because it’s so easy for third party, gray market, and unauthorized sellers to obtain and sell products online, many brands find themselves pressured to execute an ecommerce plan without the right resources to succeed on marketplaces and their other channels.
So, for brands looking to enter the ecommerce space or improve their current and future performance, it makes sense to partner with an ecommerce consultant.
Pattern’s global presence and proven success with hundreds of brands has allowed us to develop highly effective ecommerce consulting services. We can guide your brand to navigate issues both large and small in marketplaces worldwide. To maximize your ecommerce efforts, you’ll need to understand what an ecommerce consultant does and how to select one who drives the right value for your brand and products.
An ecommerce consultant is a specialist in the ecommerce space who can give you personalized guidance on how to market your products and grow their presence on digital marketplaces.
An ecommerce consultant should be able to analyze your brand, audience, category, opportunity, and current roadblocks and help you understand how to utilize your resources (or what resources are missing) to be most effective in capturing your opportunities in the ecommerce space.
Not sure how to evaluate a consultant? Here are 4 key attributes to look for as you make your choice.
At Pattern, we prioritize brand obsession for a reason—we know that a brand-centered mindset makes a crucial difference in the outcomes and results our partners achieve. So in our experience, when you begin your search for an ecommerce consultant, it’s important to look for a partner who is specialized in ecommerce, invested in the product, and passionate about helping brands build and improve their strategies. Typically, this means finding someone that consults exclusively for ecommerce marketplaces, rather than choosing a consultant who offers many different services.
It’s also important to avoid choosing a consulting partner who can’t deliver the right experience for your brand. The best indication of whether your potential consultant can do that is to review their history, data, and results with other brands. Ask if they’ve helped others in your selling category, if they’ve solved specific issues your brand is facing, and why they feel you are a good fit. The key is to leave the conversation feeling confident that you understand your consultants’ capabilities and whether or not they match up with your needs.
It’s best to pick a consultant who knows how to guide a brand onto and through multiple marketplaces worldwide. You’ll want to take a look at your long-term strategy and think about the regions and platforms you’re currently on and where you might want to take your brand in the future. If your consultant is truly great at what they do, they’ll be able to help you perform well enough with your current product roadmap that it’ll be a no-brainer to expand your presence at the right time.
The most effective partnership with an ecommerce consultant will be able to give you both recommendations and point you to solutions for making those changes in your planning, processes, and execution. Your time and money is valuable, so you want to make sure that you’re spending it as efficiently as possible as you follow your consultant’s advice. So, before you commit to an ecommerce consultant, ask about the resources and concrete solutions they typically recommend to the brands they work with.
Finding an ecommerce consultant that checks the boxes can be a difficult task. At Pattern, our entire focus and drive centers around giving brands the tools and resources they need to succeed on domestic and international ecommerce marketplaces.
With over 100 global ecommerce consultants across 10 global offices, we have the right tools to partner with brands across the world to achieve better ecommerce success. We give specialized advice, then make sure our partners have all the adequate SEO, social media, CRM, Amazon multi-channel fulfillment services, and ecommerce outsourcing services they need.
Interested in ecommerce consulting services? Set up a call here to learn what Pattern can do for your brand on global marketplaces.
If you’re interested in expanding your brand internationally, you’re probably familiar with Tmall. Tmall is Asia-Pacific’s (APAC) largest marketplace, and indisputably the biggest ecommerce powerhouse in the world. It represents a huge opportunity for many brands, but entering the space is also a big challenge to take on.
At Pattern, we recommend brands looking to enter international markets should first focus on dialing in their domestic presence. Once you’re satisfied that your brand is well-represented and optimized locally, you’re ready to think about tackling new regions, like APAC, and launching on marketplaces like Tmall. Our top advice for entering Tmall is to understand and strategize around its three most important metrics: service, delivery, and content.
Service, delivery, and content ratings are the three elements that make up Tmall’s Detailed Seller Rating (DSR) score. Each component is scored on a scale of 1-5 that is displayed publicly on your brand’s Tmall flagship store page. This is meant to help consumers decide whether or not to purchase your products.
DSR scores are important because they’re highly influential in driving conversions—customers see DSRs as a way to quickly understand if a brand is trustworthy and worth buying from. They also matter quite a bit to Tmall itself—they monitor these scores and will take action to close flagship stores with low scores.
Let’s go over each element of the DSR score and some steps you’ll need to take to achieve high ratings.
Service is a huge ecommerce component in APAC marketplaces. In most other regions, product listings are static, and consumers use content and reviews to make a decision about what to purchase. On Tmall, consumers want to interact with your brand and test its validity before buying—each transaction takes at least one human interaction to convert.
So, to get a great service rating, you’ll need to have a large, established customer service team dedicated to Tmall sales that can offer real, human touchpoints and very fast response times. To get an idea of the speed your agents should be capable of producing, in our Tmall benchmarking exercise, 92.5% of brands’ customer service agents replied to queries via live chat within 30 seconds, 5% replied within one minute and the remaining 2.5% of brands took longer than a minute. So, look for a Trade Partner (TP) that has enough resources to compete with those numbers, support your sales, and maintain a good DSR score.
Another thing you’ll really want to focus on is a high-quality delivery experience for consumers. As in other regions around the world, Tmall consumers have high expectations for their delivery experience. In our Chinese consumer polling report that targeted consumers buying from Tmall Global, we found that 6% expected same-day delivery, 15% expected next-day delivery, and 46% expected 2-5 day delivery.They want to receive their products fast and they want the products to be undamaged and pristine upon arrival.
So, to achieve a high score for your delivery capabilities, we highly recommend partnering with a TP or ecommerce accelerator like Pattern (which serves as a TP) who has the ability to facilitate your distribution. Make sure your TP has the right infrastructure in place to support high-quality logistics experiences for all of your consumers—they should have an established, well-oiled delivery process in place and the capability to fluidly add you to their current fulfillment system.
As in every digital marketplace, content is a huge component of the decision-making process for consumers on Tmall—they can’t touch your product with their hands or see it in person before buying, so it’s important they’re empowered to make a good decision on whether or not to purchase based on the videos, images, and copy.
The goal is to make all of the content and relevant information on your flagship site easily-accessible—consumers should be able to visit your page and make a decision about whether or not to buy without navigating to a new site/page and taking their conversions with them. Images with text and extensive product details are a great way to do this, as well as making sure your service team can speak to all aspects of your product with any consumers (via text or chat).
As the world’s foremost brand partner for ecommerce acceleration, Pattern truly understands the significance of international expansion. With regional offices around the world, Pattern knows how to successfully launch and grow brands on Tmall and other marketplaces, with the data, insights, and marketplace intelligence to build the metrics that matter.
It’s important to have a fantastic brand presence, a knowledgeable guide, and a clear go-forward strategy for your best chance at success. With our in-country resources, expert teams, and extensive experience in growing brands around the globe, Pattern can help you get there.
Set up a call to get your international expansion strategy in motion.