Why Baseball Product Brands Get Two Big Sales Swings Each Year

Pattern Data Science

April 13, 2022

Spring fever is officially here and for millions of Americans that means one thing, and one thing only: it’s time to grab your mitt, your bat, and play some ball.

There’s no question that springtime is the biggest time of year for baseball and softball brands, and now that the days are getting longer and the trees are sprouting blossoms, we naturally wanted to learn more about the shopping trends surrounding America’s Pastime.

Do Americans buy their baseball and softball gear and equipment during the Spring or do other times of the year actually drive more demand? Which types of baseball gear and equipment see the most demand, and when? When should your brand start preparing for the next peak season?

We dove deep into our data to find out the answer to these questions and more.

When is demand highest for baseball gear and equipment?

Let’s start by taking a look back at 2021 to see if springtime was, indeed, the most popular time of year to buy new baseball gear and equipment.

Demand is at its absolute lowest to start the year, but picks up quickly, rising to 4% over the annual average during the month of March. It then climbs steadily in April and peaks in May, when demand is up by 15% compared to the annual average.

Demand then drops during the summer months before rebounding to slightly above average levels during the back to school season and fall ball season and ending the year on a high note during the holiday shopping season.

So if we’re ranking the times of the year that drive the most demand for baseball and softball gear, it’s spring at number one with a bullet, holiday shopping at number two, and fall ball season at a distant third.

Which types of baseball gear and equipment are the most popular?

Now that we’ve confirmed that spring is king when it comes to online sales of baseball gear and equipment, let’s dive a little bit deeper into our data. For this analysis, we pulled over 40 different baseball gear and equipment terms and categories. Here are the ones that saw the most demand last year.

Unsurprisingly, the two broadest categories saw by far the most demand. Baseball equipment just barely edged out softball equipment for the top spot, but the two sports experienced nearly identical levels of demand.

Outside of the all encompassing “equipment” categories, clothing and apparel dominate the rest of the top of the chart, with the broad term “baseball clothing” coming in at a strong #3 and men’s baseball and softball apparel rounding out the top five.

Women’s softball apparel and baseball clothing weren’t far behind their male counterparts, falling just outside of the top five.

Specific types of equipment that cracked our list of top 20 terms and categories include: protective gear, baseballs, bats, batting tees, and mitts.

When is demand highest for different types of baseball gear and equipment?

Now let’s drill a little deeper into some of these specific terms to see if they experience the same kind of spring-heavy trend that we saw among the combined category view from earlier in this article.

We’ll start by comparing the two largest categories: baseball equipment and softball equipment.

As you’d expect, the trendlines were basically identical for the two sports, but interestingly, the springtime was the second biggest time of year for these categories. The holiday shopping season brought slightly larger increases to monthly demand for baseball and softball equipment alike.

Let’s now examine some of our popular baseball and softball clothing categories:

Men’s baseball and softball clothing got by far the largest springtime bump with monthly demand for both of those categories jumping by 19% in May. Interestingly, women’s baseball and softball clothing actually experienced below average demand in the spring, and instead saw demand climb in early fall and peak during the holiday shopping season.

Out of the top categories it’s only men’s clothing and apparel that has seen May come through as the biggest time of the year, so which types of gear are driving the bulk of the high level springtime surge?

Men’s baseball and softball shoes easily got the biggest springtime boost, with demand surging by 164% during the month of May compared to the annual average. Batting weights were a strong #2 with a 127% increase in demand.

The rest of the list is full of exactly the kind of specialty gear you’d expect to top a list of popular baseball equipment. Let’s compare the annual monthly view for a handful of terms from this list.

Here’s where we can clearly see that these types of baseball gear and equipment experience the vast majority of their annual demand during the spring months.

Batting helmets saw an earlier surge than any of the other items in this view, with a 122% increase in demand in March, which crested at 150% in April.

Most of the remaining items saw modest increases in March, while batting weights and baseball shoes both saw lower than average demand during that month.

April, meanwhile, was a positive month for every single item on this list, and May represented the top month of the entire year for each item except for catcher’s helmets and the aforementioned batters helmets.

June saw each demand fall for each item, although to levels that were mostly still well above the annual average. From then we see mostly diminishing returns through the rest of the year, with the holiday shopping season clearly being far less important for these types of specialty gear.

What does this mean for your brand?

From our data, it’s clear that springtime drives huge demand for all types of baseball and softball gear. In particular, specialty gear like bats, helmets, and gloves all heavily rely on big sales during the months of April and May. Broader gear like clothing and apparel still receive healthy bumps in demand in the spring, but also see a longer tail that includes big sales over the holiday shopping season.

What will 2022 have in store? Early indicators suggest it might be an even bigger year than 2021, so if you make or sell anything from specialty baseball gear and equipment to clothing and accessories, you’ll want to make sure you’re ready for the next peak going into fall.

If you’d like to learn more about how Pattern can help your brand win in top Amazon categories like Baseball or Softball equipment, schedule a demo today.

And, if you’d like to receive all the latest news, info, and analysis on what’s trending in ecommerce, be sure to subscribe to Pattern Insights on the right.

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Improve Your Amazon Advertising Strategy With One Simple Metric: True RoAS
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Improve Your Amazon Advertising Strategy With One Simple Metric: True RoAS

The purpose of advertising on Amazon is simple: increase traffic and conversions. But the approach to get those conversions is not always so simple. Your Amazon advertising strategy is based on current ad data and performance results such as your return on ad spend (RoAS). 

At a minimum, your RoAS number tells you how well you’re maximizing your ad spend. The problem is the RoAS you’re getting from Amazon or an advertising agency isn’t always accurate. 

As a top 3P seller on Amazon, Pattern helps brands improve their Amazon advertising strategy and results by providing them with one simple metric: true RoAS.

Understanding True RoAS

To understand why true RoAS is helpful to brands, you need to understand how Amazon and other agencies calculate and present your RoAS.

The key to growing your brand and maximizing your ad spend is to drive incremental traffic, rather than cannibalizing what has already taken place. For example, if you are selling probiotics, and paying for sponsored ads to win the keyword “probiotics for women”, but also organically ranked in the top results with the same keyword, that’s cannibalization. The RoAS score you would receive from Amazon includes that level of cannibalism, which inflates the number, causing you to pay more on ad spend. The best ads drive incremental growth instead of cannibalizing organic sales. 

At Pattern, we’ve created the acceleration software to make sure brands are getting their “true RoAS”. Pattern’s patented tool applies artificial intelligence to advertising to maximize incremental growth or true return on investment. 

Our software helps brands optimize their efforts by providing live and updated information on where your brand is not organically ranking, and what you should be paying for. If your ranking improves in one area, the ad spend will automatically decrease for those words or phrases until the software detects a drop in ranking, signaling that your ad spend should go up again. This dynamic monitoring of ad spend will help you maximize incremental growth and improve your RoAS.

Improve Your Amazon Ad Strategy with Pattern

Knowing your true RoAS is key to improving your Amazon performance. Advertising agencies and marketplace account managers often give you an inaccurate RoAS ratio or value, which only incentivizes you to spend more on advertising, ultimately increasing revenue for the agencies and/or marketplaces.

At Pattern, a 3P partner on Amazon and other marketplaces, we view our brands just as that: a partnership. When you win, we win. You succeed on Amazon by maximizing your ad spend and we have the data and resources to help you do just that. Accurate, transparent data and reporting will help improve your advertising strategy to drive more traffic to and conversions on your products. 

Ready to finally get your true RoAS? Contact us.   

Slowing Inflation is Music to Consumers’ Ears
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Slowing Inflation is Music to Consumers’ Ears

**Instrument Pricing Changes Tune Amid Record Inflation** Compared to 2022, consumers should expect to pay more for musical instruments, but the rate of inflation shows signs of slowing. **The backstory:** America’s most popular musical instruments saw a notable price increase in 2022 compared to 2021, but the rate of inflation eased in Q4 ’22. **Why it matters:** Slowing inflation within this product category could indicate economic pressures like increased demand, rising labor costs, and supply chain disruptions are easing across the consumer landscape. **What we’re seeing:** The average cost of musical instruments increased 7.5% from 2021 – 2022; however, when analyzing individual increases year over year, some instruments saw price increases as high as 21%. <iframe title="YOY Price Change for Instruments — 2022 vs. 2021" aria-label="Bar Chart" id="datawrapper-chart-02Lwk" src="https://datawrapper.dwcdn.net/02Lwk/2/" scrolling="no" frameborder="0" style="width: 0; min-width: 100% !important; border: none;" height="379" data-external="1"></iframe><script type="text/javascript">!function(){"use strict";window.addEventListener("message",(function(e){if(void 0!==e.data["datawrapper-height"]){var t=document.querySelectorAll("iframe");for(var a in e.data["datawrapper-height"])for(var r=0;r<t.length;r++){if(t[r].contentWindow===e.source)t[r].style.height=e.data["datawrapper-height"][a]+"px"}}}))}(); </script> * Trombones experienced a 21.73% increase compared to 2021 * Trumpets +20.08% * Flutes +18.6% * Recorders +16.13% * Saxophones +13.63% * Clarinets +10.55% * Drums +5.41% * Ukuleles +5.17% **However:** Inflation among these same instruments was significantly less in Q4 ’22 compared to Q4 ’21. In some cases, prices decreased from Q4 ’21 – Q4 ‘22: <iframe title="Price Change for Instruments — Q4 2022 vs. Q4 2021" aria-label="Bar Chart" id="datawrapper-chart-6X6GZ" src="https://datawrapper.dwcdn.net/6X6GZ/2/" scrolling="no" frameborder="0" style="width: 0; min-width: 100% !important; border: none;" height="379" data-external="1"></iframe><script type="text/javascript">!function(){"use strict";window.addEventListener("message",(function(e){if(void 0!==e.data["datawrapper-height"]){var t=document.querySelectorAll("iframe");for(var a in e.data["datawrapper-height"])for(var r=0;r<t.length;r++){if(t[r].contentWindow===e.source)t[r].style.height=e.data["datawrapper-height"][a]+"px"}}}))}(); </script> * Trombones +11.23% * Flutes +10.41% * Saxophones +5.94% * Clarinets +5.59% * Trumpets +3.10% * Recorders +2.85% * Drums -2.59% * Ukuleles -8.46% **Moreover:** Certain instruments saw inflation reverse in 2022. On average, prices for melodicas, guitars, and violas saw their prices decrease by 4.41%, 3.19%, and 0.97%, respectively. <iframe title="YOY Price Change for Instruments — 2022 vs. 2021" aria-label="Bar Chart" id="datawrapper-chart-0Tefk" src="https://datawrapper.dwcdn.net/0Tefk/3/" scrolling="no" frameborder="0" style="width: 0; min-width: 100% !important; border: none;" height="259" data-external="1"></iframe><script type="text/javascript">!function(){"use strict";window.addEventListener("message",(function(e){if(void 0!==e.data["datawrapper-height"]){var t=document.querySelectorAll("iframe");for(var a in e.data["datawrapper-height"])for(var r=0;r<t.length;r++){if(t[r].contentWindow===e.source)t[r].style.height=e.data["datawrapper-height"][a]+"px"}}}))}(); </script> **Diving Deeper:** Inflation was more significant when comparing Q4 ’21 to Q4 ’20 than when comparing Q4 ’22 to Q4 ’21, indicating a slowing down of price increases for consumers. <iframe title="YOY Q4 Price Change for Instruments — 2020 – 2022" aria-label="Stacked Bars" id="datawrapper-chart-p6iqt" src="https://datawrapper.dwcdn.net/p6iqt/1/" scrolling="no" frameborder="0" style="width: 0; min-width: 100% !important; border: none;" height="206" data-external="1"></iframe><script type="text/javascript">!function(){"use strict";window.addEventListener("message",(function(e){if(void 0!==e.data["datawrapper-height"]){var t=document.querySelectorAll("iframe");for(var a in e.data["datawrapper-height"])for(var r=0;r<t.length;r++){if(t[r].contentWindow===e.source)t[r].style.height=e.data["datawrapper-height"][a]+"px"}}}))}(); </script> * In Q4 ’21, average prices for all instruments were up 8.89% compared to Q4 ’20. * When comparing Q4 ’22 to Q4 ’21, the average price for all instruments only increased by 2.65%. **The takeaway:** While consumers should expect to pay higher prices for instruments this year, overall inflation impact within this product category appears to be slowing down. With National Ukulele Day coming up on February 2, now is a great time for ecommerce brands to take advantage of slowing economic worries and reach new consumers. * Want Pattern’s data science team to power your brand with consumer insights like these? Contact us to [request more information](https://pattern.com/contact-us/) today.

Slowing Inflation? What Musical Instrument Pricing Tells Us
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Slowing Inflation? What Musical Instrument Pricing Tells Us

It’s safe to say consumers and brands alike are eager for a change to the pattern of rising inflation, steadily increasing in many ecommerce categories . Pattern’s internal team’s data scientists analysis of instrument pricing shows a glimmer of hope that inflation may be slowing, which would be great news for brands selling online.

At Pattern, we’re interested in and monitoring trends and news related to pricing since price is a key factor in a brand’s profitability (as explained in the Ecommerce Equation). When brands are able to optimize their price, conversions, and traffic, they can optimize their profitability. And profitability leads to better allocation of resources, better brand control, and gives leaders the ability to expand their presence to new markets worldwide.

YoY Instrument Pricing Increased at a Slower Pace

When analyzing the pricing changes of instruments from 2021 to 2022, our teams found that prices increased, but at a slower rate than from 2020 to 2021.

As shown below, the year over year Q4 changes show quite a lower rate of increase.

Inflation Improvements Raise Profitability

Because inflation impacts online shopping behaviors, lower inflation can lead to better overall profitability for brands. This idea, of course, is nuanced, but Pattern’s Ecommerce Equation can help illustrate the general principle.

When inflation rises, consumers change their spending habits. Shoppers spend more time researching products, forego premium, higher-priced brands, and buy more in bulk. Brands tend to see a loss of loyalty as they’re forced to raise prices.

Price is a key variable in the Ecommerce Equation: price x conversion x traffic = profitability. As inflation lowers, brands can expect better performance in all of these areas—more traffic as spending habits return to normal, higher conversion from returning customers, and price that better fits consumer demand. As inflation lowers and these variables stabilize, brands will see profitability increase.

Raise Your Profitability with Pattern

As an ecommerce accelerator, Pattern is obsessed with gathering data that helps our brand partners succeed. We’ve created best-in-class technology, models, and analytics to understand changes on the horizon and inform our decisions. With an incredible team of data obsessed Pattern employees, we see what makes the difference in truly great ecommerce performance and apply those learnings for brand partners. 

Ready to improve your profitability? Contact us here.