How Global Soccer Scores with U.S. Shoppers

Pattern Data Science

September 29, 2022

How Soccer Leagues & FIFA World Cup Influence U.S. Consumer Demand

In this analysis, Pattern evaluates changes in U.S. consumer demand for soccer products. This report will help uncover:

  • When are soccer products in highest demand in the U.S.?
    • Major League Soccer vs. English Premier League
    • Does the FIFA Club World Cup influence consumer demand?
    • Do FIFA World Cup group announcements impact consumer demand?
  • Which soccer player jerseys are the most popular among U.S. consumers?
    • North American players
    • South American players
    • European players
  • How ecommerce retailers can prepare for the World Cup and more

The FIFA World Cup is hosted every four years, and the next tournament will kick off on November 20, 2022. With soccer top-of-mind for many consumers, we thought it would be a great opportunity to evaluate how consumer demand is impacted by soccer events in the U.S., Europe, and globally. To help ecommerce retailers and social media strategists better meet their consumers’ preferences, we also analyzed which player jerseys were the most popular among U.S. Amazon shoppers.

When are Soccer Products in Highest Demand in the U.S.?

Unsurprisingly, consumer demand for soccer products appears to be highest when league-specific events are in play. What is interesting to note, however, is which leagues have the strongest influence on consumer demand. Despite what one may believe, it isn’t North American activity that drives the most demand for U.S. shoppers.

Major League Soccer vs. English Premier League

In the U.S., Major League Soccer is the official league for soccer players. Similarly, the English Premier League is the highest level of men’s English football in the United Kingdom.

When comparing change in U.S. consumer demand month over month from 2019 – 2022, we found some noteworthy behaviors. As can be seen in the 2019, 2020, and 2021 charts below, there are moderate increases in consumer demand for soccer balls and jerseys when the Major League Soccer season starts across all years:

At the start of the Major League Soccer season in 2019, demand for soccer cleats rose by 43%, demand for soccer balls rose by 38%, and demand for soccer jerseys rose by 28% compared to the month prior.

Again, at the beginning of the Major League Soccer season in 2020, demand for soccer balls rose by 28%. During this same period, however, interest in soccer cleats and soccer jerseys fell by 46% and 38%, respectively. This is likely due to the fact that the Major League Soccer season’s 2020 start date nearly coincided with the formal announcement of the COVID-19 pandemic.

In 2021, the start of the Major League Soccer season in the U.S. saw a 46% increase in demand for soccer balls and 16% increase in demand for soccer jerseys. However, demand for soccer cleats fell by 24% during this same period.

While moderate changes can be observed each year at the start of the Major League Soccer season, even more significant increases can be seen when the English Premier League season commences. Here’s how consumer demand was impacted across all three years at the start of the English Premier League season:

  • 2019: 47% increase in demand for soccer cleats; 0% increase in demand for soccer balls; 10% decrease in demand for soccer jerseys
  • 2020: 54% increase in demand for soccer cleats; 47% increase in demand for soccer balls; 19% increase in demand for soccer jerseys
  • 2021: 66% increase in demand for soccer cleats; 38% increase in demand for soccer balls; 40% increase in demand for soccer jerseys

Except for 2019, consumer demand for soccer products in all three categories was higher at the start of the English Premier League season than at the beginning of the Major League Soccer season. This suggests consumers are more closely following the English soccer season than the American league.

Does the FIFA Club World Cup Influence Consumer Demand?

As aforementioned, the FIFA World Cup occurs once every four years. However, the FIFA Club World Cup is held every year. In 2020, the FIFA Club World Cup was originally planned for December; however, this got postponed until February 2021. As we can observe in the graph below, demand across all three soccer product categories reached their peak for the year during this time:

This same trend was not observed during the 2019 FIFA Club World Cup tournament. During the timeframe of the tournament from December 11 – 21, 2019, demand across all three soccer product categories was relatively low:

Several factors could explain why consumer demand increased coinciding with the 2021 FIFA Club World Cup compared to the 2019 tournament, including:

  • Pandemic Worries: While the global pandemic was not officially announced until March 11, 2020, initial reports on the coronavirus outbreak began in December 2019. Consumers may have been less interested in recreational activities and more focused on the emerging updates coming out of Wuhan, China.
  • Tournament Planning: The 2019 FIFA Club World Cup was formally announced on September 30, 2019 (only about two months from the tournament start date). By contrast, the 2021 tournament was announced in September 2020, originally slated for December 2020, and finally postponed until February 2021. The added anticipation and game delay could have contributed to more buzz around the tournament.
  • Seasonality: Since December marks the height of the basketball season in the U.S., consumers were likely more focused on basketball-related events than on soccer. This could also explain why more consumers were interested in soccer products during the FIFA Club World Cup in 2021 than in 2019.

Do FIFA World Cup Group Announcements Impact Consumer Demand?

We were able to take a look at how U.S. consumer demand changed following the 2022 FIFA World Cup group announcement. As it turns out, U.S. consumers actually experienced decreased demand following the announcement on April 1, 2022:

Since the FIFA World Cup announcement coincided with the end of March Madness and the start of the 2022 National Basketball Association playoffs, this could explain the decreased demand in soccer products among U.S. consumers.

Which Soccer Player Jerseys are the Most Popular?

Our team wanted to see which soccer player jerseys were most popular among U.S. consumers. To find this, we compiled a list of the most searched-for players in North America, South America, and Europe. From there, we tallied up all the searches in each category for all players from 2019 – 2022. Then, we compared the total searches for each individual player to the total for all players in their category.

North American Players

When it comes to soccer player preference for North American players, U.S. consumers have a clear favorite. According to our data, 95% of all searches for North American player-specific soccer jerseys between 2019 – 2022 were for American soccer player, Christian Pulisic.

While Pulisic is an attacking midfielder/winger for the United States national team, he currently plays for the Premier League club Chelsea in the United Kingdom. Since U.S. consumer demand for soccer jerseys is highest at the start of the English Premier League season, this could explain Pulisic’s extreme popularity among U.S. shoppers.

South American Players

Consumer preference for South American players is a little less cut-and-dry; however, there is still a clear winner in the category. It turns out that most U.S. consumers (49%) prefer to support Lionel Andrés Messi of Argentina when it comes to South American soccer jerseys. Since many of these players also play in Europe, it makes sense that U.S. shoppers would be more interested in their jerseys than in U.S.-based players:

European Players

When observing the top searched-for European players, we were surprised to see that no players from the English Premier League appeared at the top. However, there was a clear favorite again in this category for U.S. consumers: Kylian Mbappé. With 88% of total searches for European players, Mbappé’s popularity among U.S. consumers is undeniable:

How Ecommerce Retailers Can Prepare for the World Cup & More

Understanding how U.S. consumers follow and respond to soccer leagues, both nationally and internationally, is essential for ecommerce retailers to anticipate and satisfy changes in demand.

Using this data, online sporting retailers now understand the relationship between higher consumer demand for soccer products and gear to the start of the English Premier League season. Empowered with this information, they can plan their supply chain and marketing calendars more effectively, ensuring all inventory, advertising, and customer support needs are met.

Here are the top takeaways ecommerce retailers should prepare for based on our knowledge:

  • While demand is higher during the English Premier League season start than the Major League Soccer season start, demand for soccer products is higher than the seasonal average at both times, so prepare accordingly.
  • The top three most popular soccer player jerseys among U.S. consumers are for Christian Pulisic, Kylian Mbappé, and Lionel Andrés Messi.
  • The FIFA Club World Cup may also have an impact on soccer product sales, so it’s a good idea to ensure products are well-stocked during this time each year.

If you’re interested in uncovering more data like this to empower your ecommerce strategy, request a demo from Pattern today!

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Important Holidays to Prepare for on Marketplaces in China
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Important Holidays to Prepare for on Marketplaces in China

Brands selling their product throughout the Asia-Pacific region may wonder how to keep up with the fast market and make plans for next year. The good news is that in China, and the surrounding areas, there are many ecommerce holidays year-round for brands to prepare for and increase their sales. As brands plan for 2023, here are some important holidays brands should prepare for in China:

Q1 (January-March)

  1. Chinese New Year: (usually late Jan.–mid-Feb.) Spring Festival—also known as Chinese New Year—is a week-long holiday that is quickly becoming an incredible growing opportunity for brands.

  2. Valentine’s Day: (Feb. 14) Despite being an inherently Western holiday, Valentine’s Day on 14th February is another major event that has been wholeheartedly adopted in China, especially among younger demographics. 

  3. International Women’s Day: (Mar. 8) The global holiday, which is celebrated annually, is not only focused on women in particular, but in China also the sale of items related to the needs of women. 

Q2 (April-June)

  1. 520 Festival: (May 20) The Chinese pronunciation for the numbers “5-2-0” sounds similar to “I love you”, hence “520 Festival”. May 20th gives Chinese lovers another chance to showcase their affection to one another through gift giving–China’s version of Valentine’s Day.

  2. 6/18 - founding anniversary of JD.com: (Jun. 18) This is the founding anniversary of JD.com, one of the most prominent ecommerce companies in China. The event,  colloquially known as 618, is celebrated annually for 18 days leading up to June 18th. 

Q3 (July-September)

  1. Qixi Festival: (7th day of 7th month of Chinese Lunar Calendar, Aug. 22 in 2023) Qixi Festival signals the annual meeting of the cowherd and weaver girl in Chinese mythology, creating China’s Valentine’s Day and a huge retail event.

  2. Mid-autumn festival: (Sept. 29) Also known as the Moon or Mooncake Festival, this traditional festival is celebrated in many Asian countries. The mid-autumn festival is a very popular time to give gifts to friends and relatives. 

Q4 (October-December)

  1. Golden Week: (1st week in Oct.) This week-long public holiday in China is not necessarily an ecommerce holiday, but everyone takes work off for the week and it could have a direct impact on your ecommerce business. Being aware of public closures in the Asia-Pacific regions will help you plan ahead in inventory levels and necessary communication.

  2. Singles’ Day: (Nov. 11) Singles’ Day, or Double 11 festival, is the biggest 24-hour online shopping festival in the world and originated in China. Singles’ Day is a type of “anti-Valentine’s day”, originally created for those with a single relationship status, due to the symbolism of the number 1 (11/11). The shopping event has broken sales figure records each year since its birth and is often likened to Black Friday in the US.

  3. Double 12: (Dec. 12) Double 12, or Couples’ Day, is another massively popular shopping event in China that was originally established for smaller businesses that might have missed out on the benefits of Singles Day. 

How to Prepare For These Ecommerce Holidays in 2023

Now that you’re aware of the ecommerce holidays in 2023 that could benefit your brand, it’s important you prepare well and can use them to your brand’s best advantage. Here are four things to keep in mind when preparing:

1. Make sure you have a good trade partner. 

All brands expanding to or selling in China on any marketplace need a trade partner they can trust. A good trade partner should have experience, transparency, a data-driven mindset, brand obsession, and the right tools and resources to help you succeed.  

2. Stay ahead of the logistics. 

A good trade partner will help your brand understand various regional consumer demands and give you marketplace-specific logistics to help you to stay in stock. Every marketplace demands various amounts of stock, mostly depending on the consumer demand in that region, but also the upcoming holidays celebrated in those regions.

3. Prepare your customer-service teams for the holidays.

If you are planning to participate and sell your products during the holidays mentioned above, it’s important your customer-service teams are aware and know how to handle the influx of consumers during those times. 

 4. Be aware of local and regional holidays that may affect your business.

Knowing which holidays can directly affect and improve your business is key to selling across marketplaces in the Asia-Pacific region. Although not all holidays may be obviously relevant to your brand, it’s worth looking into and elevating an opportunity for increased sales.

Accelerate on Chinese Marketplaces with Pattern

The opportunity for your brand to increase traffic and conversion during holidays in China is exponential.  As the world’s foremost ecommerce accelerator, Pattern can handle your end-to-end strategy to grow your brand both domestically and internationally. 

Pattern is an option to be your brand's trading partner since we know local languages, customs, and cultural nuances to clearly communicate your brand as we plan, strategize, and execute your products’ success in China. We make your success our business, dedicating expert teams, years of experience, and proprietary technology to find the best ways to take your products to consumers throughout the world.

Discover how you can grow your brand internationally. Contact us

One Amazon Live Event Wins Owlet the Best Seller Rank in Two Categories
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One Amazon Live Event Wins Owlet the Best Seller Rank in Two Categories

Owlet is dedicated to providing innovative baby monitor products that can track a baby's vital signs, giving parents peace of mind. With such a compelling product solution, Owlet wanted to raise brand and product awareness.  

Working with Pattern as its 3P partner on Amazon, Pattern decided to host an Amazon Live event to feature Owlet products in use. That way, Owlet could demonstrate the efficacy of their baby monitoring products dispelling any consumer doubt, skepticism, and addressing all questions.

Download the one-page case study here.

Amazon Live Kicks Off Owlet Sale Event

Pattern produced and executed an Amazon Live to kick off a sale with Owlet. Pattern’s creative team set up a studio at our global headquarters complete with a baby crib, Owlet products, and two charismatic hosts who acted as brand advocates. After the event, Pattern's digital marketing experts measured the impact to overall sales.

Read more about Owlet's Amazon Live event.

During and After Amazon Live, Owlet Sales Spike

During the event, Owlet traffic, defined by Amazon page views and sessions, spiked. The event’s attention to product detail, compelling video, and host engagement improved conversions too. Owlet's sales increased by over 10% during the week of their Amazon Live event and sale. 

But the success didn’t stop there–the event improved Owlet's Best Seller Ranking as well.  Their sock monitor went up ~70% and their camera by ~69% during that week. 

Owlet Traffic, Conversion, and Rank Skyrocket 

  • Owlet sales, page views, and sessions all spiked during the Amazon Live event.

  • Owlet increased sales by approximately 9-16% throughout the whole week of the Live event and sale.

  • Owlet’s Best Seller Ranking Jumped:

    • Sock monitor improved by 70% during the week of their Amazon Live event and sale.

    • Camera improved by 69% during the week of their Amazon Live event and sale.

Pattern’s Amazon Expertise 

As the world’s top ecommerce accelerator and Amazon 3P partner, Pattern knows how to take advantage of the various advertising channels on Amazon and other marketplaces to build your brand.  Pattern’s strategy is grounded in data-driven trends and consumer shopper behavior on Amazon, which is applied to our ecommerce equation.

How can we increase traffic and conversion to your brand? Contact us today.

“Partnering with Pattern has expanded our ability to capitalize on sales-driving opportunities that we wouldn't be able to tackle on our own. ”

– Jared Anderson, Owlet VP of Sales


Catch a behind the scenes moment from the Amazon Live Event:

5 Crucial Considerations When Building Your Global Marketplace Strategy
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5 Crucial Considerations When Building Your Global Marketplace Strategy

As a brand creates revenue and gains momentum on domestic marketplaces, executives may start to wonder if they should grow their brand internationally. Expanding to international marketplaces is complicated, can be overwhelming, but building a solid strategy before expanding internationally will streamline the process. 

At Pattern, we’ve helped countless brands build their international strategy with our proprietary data, global marketplace experience, and local expertise in established and emerging regions. 

Building an international strategy must be calculated and methodical, and here are five considerations at the core of going global: 

1. Distribution by Country/Region

First, it should be no surprise that the methods and strategies companies use to transport products from the distribution centers to customers can vary by country or region. Handling order fulfillments may look different from shipping and packaging options, to delivery and transportation. Although the basic steps of global distribution may remain the same, the nuances of regional distribution may vary. 

If your brand already has a high-level distribution strategy in place in the areas you are currently selling, then it’s possible to modify and use it to go global.  

2. Consumer Demand

Before expanding to a specific country, marketplace, or entire region (across multiple marketplaces), it’s important you thoroughly research and understand the consumer demand for your product. Do you have data to show that your expansion market(s) has a need for your product? 

Beyond product-market fit, additional parts of consumer demand analysis include: consumer behavior, awareness of differences in cultural norms, and the beliefs and values of international buyers. Having access to data-driven insights and analysis on traffic and conversion, like Pattern’s reporting, is key to understand consumer demand in certain regions. 

3. Product Registration and Regulatory

Countries around the world set up regulations and processes to protect their consumers from any hazardous imports. Because of that, it only makes sense that these countries may have different product registration requirements and standards. Before expanding to new regions, a brand should make sure their products are registered with the appropriate government institutions and follow all production best practices to prevent any roadblocks.

At Pattern, our regional experts have the resources to manage marketplace setup and understand administrative requirements necessary to help scale global growth for your brand. 

4. Localized Pricing

When it comes to localized pricing, international ecommerce retailers should keep in mind two things–currency conversion and customer perception of price. As brands look to expand internationally, thorough research should be done to understand the currency conversions at each stage of the product life cycle in order to figure out the optimal localized pricing, while still retaining a net profit.

Remember, because of cultural differences, final pricing may be perceived differently by customers on international marketplaces. For example, in the western countries, it’s common for prices to end in a 9, but in other countries, it may be best to use a round number instead. High market saturation of certain products may also affect consumers’ perception of pricing, making them more likely to pay a higher price for the product than in a low-saturation market. 

5. Localized Labeling

Different countries and regions may have unique requirements for product labeling. Awareness and understanding of these requirements is key to a successful international strategy. For example, labeling may need to be in a certain language, and some countries may require brands to include certain product information. 

Your domestic team may not be equipped to handle all translations and regulatory conversations, so having the resources in place before attempting to expand globally will help prepare you for expansion. As a global ecommerce partner, Pattern has a team of regional experts and end-to-end resources to ease the pain of complying with local product labeling requirements.   

Build a Successful International Marketplace Strategy With Pattern

Moving into global markets requires a significant amount of research and planning–that usually starts with these 5 considerations. Having a solid strategy in place before your brand starts expanding to international marketplaces will make the overall process much smoother, easier to manage, and with a higher likelihood for success.. 

Going global can be intimidating, costly, and overwhelming to grow revenue, but with Pattern as your 3P trade partner, you’ll have the experience, resources, and data to successfully expand your business internationally. Our global expertise and footprint makes international growth on marketplaces frictionless and profitable. 

Is your brand considering global marketplaces? Contact us


Want to learn more about how Pattern helps brands go global? Watch this message from our co-founder and CEO, Dave Wright.