America’s Post-Pandemic Spike in Online Demand for Running Gear

It’s time to lace up a new pair of running shoes and start stretching for Global Running Day! On the first Wednesday in June, Global Running Day is meant to inspire everyone from seasoned marathoners to casual walkers to get moving.

As the leader in global ecommerce acceleration, we’re constantly curious about the forces impacting shifts in consumer behavior. So, to celebrate Global Running Day, we decided to do a deep dive into the online sales for running gear to answer a few burning questions:

Key Questions about Running Gear Online Sales

  • When do running gear sales spike?
  • Which types of running gear and supplies see the most online demand?
  • Has COVID-19 impacted, positively or negatively, the demand for running supplies and gear?

To answer these questions, our data science team analyzed market demand for a range of running gear and supplies on Amazon over the past three years. A few of our key findings at a high level:

Topline Data and Insights

  • Demand for running clothing and accessories is highest during the holiday shopping season through the New Year
  • Running footwear experiences the highest demand during spring and early summer
  • COVID-19 has had a mixed impact on demand for running gear and equipment
    • Demand for clothing and accessories shot up in first weeks of lockdown in 2020
    • Demand for running shoes didn’t increase until 2021
  • Women’s running shoes and gear have experienced far larger increases in demand post-pandemic than men’s
    • Demand for women’s running shorts was up 305% in 2021 vs 2019
      • Demand for men’s was up 159%
    • Demand for women’s trail running shoes was up 262% in 2021 vs 2019
      • Demand for men’s down -9%

Let’s dig into the data.

When Does Demand for Running Gear Peak?

To start out, we wanted to see when Americans are shopping for new running gear like running shoes, clothes, GPS watches, hydration vests, and more. So we examined weekly demand for all related running categories and items in 2021 and the first few months of 2022.

To support New Year resolutions, demand starts the year somewhat high then dips in the early spring before climbing back up at the end of the year. January 2022 actually saw an all-time high for running gear, with even more people running into resolutions season

Running gear can consist of everything from new shoes, to shorts, to a shiny new running watch, so does all running gear experience the same seasonal demand? Let’s dig a little deeper.

Demand for Running Gear by Category

First, here’s a breakdown of which categories in our combined view held the most weight:

In 2021, running clothing saw the most demand of any running-related category in our analysis, with “running equipment” falling not far behind. Men’s running clothing and women’s running clothing also saw a ton of demand, so it’s likely the trendline in our first graph is primarily showing us when demand is highest for running clothing in particular.

We then determine whether some of these items are impacted by seasonal demand.

Demand for Running Gear–By Type

Let’s start by comparing changes in demand for different types of running gear and equipment:

Running shoes saw demand surge in early 2021, spiking in early spring and topping out in mid-April. So far 2022 has seen far less demand for running shoes overall, something we will investigate in a long term analysis later in this article.

Running clothing and running equipment see remarkably similar trends that, as we expected, match our combined view chart–demand increasing during holiday shopping and peaking in New Year’s resolution season.

Due to warmer temperatures and greater access to outdoor runs, as you might expect, hydration belts see demand peak during the early summer and drop significantly over the winter.

The priciest item in our analysis, running GPS watches and units, relied heavily on two promotional events–Amazon Prime Day, when demand surged by 71%, and Black Friday, which brought a 35% increase.

Running Gear Demand by Gender

Of course, as we saw in our analysis above, running gear is often split between men’s gear and women’s gear. So let’s take an even closer look by comparing some popular Men’s and Women’s categories, starting with types of clothing:

“Running clothing” as a general category for women and men alike both saw demand peak during the holiday shopping season through early January 2022. But when we drill into specific types of clothing we see clear seasonal differences.

Running shirts for men and women both see their highest demand levels in March and April. As for shorts, men’s shorts experience most of their demand over the early summer months, while weekly demand for women’s shorts has shot up to well over double the typical weekly average in spring of 2022.

Running Footwear Demand

Now let’s take a closer look at footwear:

Running shoes and socks of all varieties see very similar trends, with demand climbing steadily through the spring and into early summer before dropping to around average levels in the fall and continuing to drop over the winter.

Now that we have a general sense as to when different types of running gear experience the most demand, let’s look back even further to see what kind of impact the pandemic has had on demand for running gear.

Impact of COVID-19 on Demand for Running Gear

It’s clear there are significant seasonal trends when it comes to running gear, but one thing we noticed in many of the graphs above is that spring 2022 had a slower start than the same time in 2021.

That led us to wonder if 2021 was a particularly big year for running, and if that was something the pandemic might have driven?

Let’s start by examining the weekly demand once more, but this time starting in January 2020, starting with a view of all types of running clothing:

Demand absolutely skyrocketed shortly after the early lockdowns in 2020, increasing by 86% from the week of March 22nd to the week of March 29th.

Footwear didn’t experience the same type of surge, so it seems that most people who were looking to do more running in the early weeks of the pandemic felt they didn’t need a brand new pair of shoes to do so.

2021 catapulted demand for running shoes to new heights, perhaps driven by all the new runners who picked up the habit during the first year of the pandemic.

To get an even better understanding of COVID’s impact on running gear, let’s finish our analysis by looking back even further.

Impact of COVID-19 on Running Gear–By Type

Taking a monthly view allows us to go back even further, so here’s how each month compares starting back in 2019:

Here we see compelling evidence that the pandemic has driven long-term increases in demand for running clothing. The surge that came in April of 2020 bucked previous seasonal trends, and we’ve seen monthly demand stay above pre-pandemic levels for every month of each year since.

Running footwear, meanwhile, saw demand actually drop below pre-pandemic levels in 2020, then surge to all-time highs in spring of 2021. This gives further weight to our hypothesis that the early pandemic saw a lot of people stock up on running clothes and head out in an older pair of shoes. Then, in the following spring, enough of the new runners had stuck to it enough to invest in new running shoes.

2022 has seen demand remain behind 2021 levels, so it will be interesting to keep an eye on this trend as we enter late summer and early fall.

Naturally, we wanted to see if different types of running gear experienced different pandemic-related changes in demand.

Impact of COVID-19 on Running Gear–By Gender

Women’s running tights saw the biggest increase in year-over-year demand from 2019 to 2020. Women’s and men’s clothing accessories as well as women’s trail running shoes all saw demand more than double.

Again, not all types of running gear had a huge 2020, with women’s running skirts and shorts, mens running shoes and trail running shoes, and men’s running shorts all seeing annual demand drop significantly compared to pre-pandemic levels.

Next up, here’s the same look at annual demand during year two of the pandemic compared to pre-pandemic averages.

Demand for women’s running gear was up significantly in 2021, with demand for shorts up over 300% compared to 2019, while women’s tights and trail running shoes all saw demand up by over 200%.

While some men’s gear was also up (men’s running clothing and accessories in particular), our analysis suggests that women were far more likely to have picked up running during the first couple of years of the pandemic.

For a clearer picture, let’s wrap up with a closer year-over-year view of some of these categories.

Here we see just how much demand has surged for women’s running shorts over the past few years. 2021 brought big increases across the board, and 2022 has seen demand absolutely skyrocket to new heights.

Men’s running shorts also experienced a huge 2021 compared to 2019 and 2020. 2022 has also started strong for men’s shorts, and even though it’s nothing compared to the surge in women's shorts, it’s clear there are still plenty of new runners hitting the streets and trails this year.

And when we take the same look at men’s and women’s running shoes, we again see that women’s running gear has seen a much larger pandemic-driven boost than men’s.

Women’s running shoes saw demand in 2020 lag behind pre-pandemic levels, then 2021 brought a massive spring surge.

Women’s trail running shoes enjoyed even larger surges in demand, both in 2020 and especially in 2021. 2022 has also started the year strong suggesting this trend isn’t going anywhere.

This isn’t what we see for men’s shoes, though.

2020 saw demand for men’s running shoes drop in the beginning of the pandemic, and they’ve stayed there every month since, with 2022 bringing new lows.

Trail running shoes did see demand surge in 2021 after a particularly slow 2019, but only at levels that were around what we saw pre-pandemic. And once again 2022 has seen demand drop to new lows.

Finally let’s close with a look at the most expensive item in our analysis, GPS running watches:

2020 saw demand start the year off remarkably strong, then drop significantly in early spring and remain well below pre-pandemic levels throughout most of 2020 only surpassing pre-pandemic levels in October likely thanks to Amazon Prime Day being postponed to that month.

2021 also saw demand lag well behind pre-pandemic levels, and while Prime Day did bring a boost in June, it fell far behind the spike during 2019’s Prime Day in July.

Key Takeaways for Brands

Our data tells a complicated story when it comes to the impact of COVID-19 on running gear. It’s clear that many Americans stocked up on clothing in the early days of the pandemic. Demand for running shoes, meanwhile, didn’t really pick up until the following year, with women being far more likely to buy a new pair than men.

There’s also clear evidence that people weren’t really looking to invest in pricier running gear, for instance choosing to rely on older GPS watches, even though it’s clear that more people than ever are choosing to hit the roads and trails.

Understanding the factors that influence consumer behavior can help brands better understand how seasonality (weather and behavioral) and promotional periods (such as holidays) impact demand for their products on online marketplaces. Drilling into the details like location, gender, and price points provide specific action items for marketing and creative strategy.

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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Sept 27, 2022

Global Ecommerce Weekly News: 27th September 2022

Get up to date with this week's ecommerce headlines from around the globe. --- Amazon News --- Amazon drives renewable energy push with 71 new projects Amazon is planning to add 2.7 gigawatts of clean energy capacity through a couple of new projects as the company attempts to use 100% renewable energy by 2025. The ecommerce business will soon have a total of 329 renewable energy projects, generating 50,000 gigawatt hours of clean energy, which is equivalent to powering 4.6 million US homes every year. [Read more on Reuters]( Amazon launches Prime Early Access Sale Amazon is launching a new 2-day shopping event for its Prime members only, beginning on the 11th of October. Across 15 countries, Prime customers will have access to the shopping event, with thousands of deals on offer globall, ranging from fashion to electronics to essentials. The event has the purpose of giving Prime users the chance to spread the cost of items over the winter months, 6 weeks ahead of Black Friday. [Read more on Charged Retail]( --- Other Marketplace News --- Shopify unveils new localisation tool Shopify is launching a new localisation tool, called Translate & Adapt, which works with Shopify Markets to offer localisation for sellers who are looking to expand into new markets. The tool translates a user’s online store into different languages, including product pages and information pages. Merchants are also able to create different shipping terms for each market using the new tool, which allows international expansion and offers a more localised consumer experience, unveiling new potential. [Read more on Ecommerce News]( Etsy is set to invest hundreds of millions into its marketing platform Etsy CEO claims that the company is on route to spend more than $570 million USD on marketing this year. Even during a time of macroeconomic pressure, inflation and rising interest rates, the company is preparing itself and its sellers for the upcoming holiday season and is focused on retaining interest from buyers. [Read more on Yahoo News]( --- Other Ecommerce News --- Meta looks to cut costs by 10% in the coming months Meta employees are facing job redundancies as the company plans to cut its costs by 10% over the next few months. Meta reported a 22% YoY increase in costs and expenses, totalling over $20 billion USD. The cuts are expected to come in the form of job redundancies as a result of department reorganisations rather than formal layoffs. [Read more on Charged Retail]( DHL teams up with Quadient to offer smart locker deliveries in the UK DHL and tech company, Quadient, have partnered to offer smart lockers parcel pick-up throughout the UK. The new contactless, secure locker stations will give recipients more choice and flexibility to receive their parcels at a time and location best suited to them. The partnership plans to install 500 locker stations across the country by the end of 2022. [Read more on Charged Retail]( The online fashion market is set to be worth nearly $170 billion USD in 2025 The European online fashion retail market is set to grow 50% by 2025, with an online turnover of $170 billion USD, which is 33% of the retail branch’s total. Cross-border marketplaces prove to be the largest drivers of this growth, with online websites and apps like Vinted largely pushing the market’s online growth. Zalando recently became the largest cross-border fashion retailer/marketplace, responsible for 11.7% of the online market’s share. [Read more on Ecommerce News](
Sept 22, 2022

How an Amazon SEO Agency Should Be Serving Your Brand

If you’re in the global ecommerce space, you are most likely aware of Amazon, and probably selling your products on the marketplace. With over $470 billion in sales in 2021 alone, Amazon stands as the third largest company in the world based on revenue. The ecommerce giant is a household name in the U.S. and working hard to grow its market share across five continents worldwide.

Having your products available on Amazon and being competitive there, though, are definitely two different things. If you want to really succeed on Amazon, you’ll need specialized insight into how Amazon works and how to make it work for you. So, for many brands, it’s a great idea to work with an Amazon Search Engine Optimization (SEO) agency.

At Pattern, Amazon SEO optimization service is one of our key competencies. We understand that technology, data-driven insights and expertise  are the most important tools brands can leverage to win top listing spots on digital marketplaces. With expert teams and years of experience, we help brands conquer the Profitability Death Spiral as they compete with other products and sellers online. We offer Amazon SEO agency services as a core solution to brands that need more resources to get ahead. 

What is an Amazon SEO Agency?

An Amazon SEO agency serves brands by improving their products’ rank and listing performance on Amazon. They make strategic decisions about ad spending and placement that lead to higher traffic, conversions, and revenue for ecommerce brands.

A great Amazon SEO Agency partner will:

Prioritize Your Success

Unfortunately, many Amazon SEO agencies profit in unfair ways from your brands’ perceived success based on the ROAS numbers they provide. This is done through including branded search terms in ROAS reports, which naturally skew listing performance

Let’s say, for instance, your brand is called “Annie’s” and you sell lollipops. Your brand has a very high likelihood of winning the top listing spots on Amazon for lollipop search terms that are paired with “Annie’s,” your brand name. So, SEO agencies will spend your ad money on those terms and report a very high ROAS. 

To avoid scenarios like these, it’s best to look for an agency that either calculates their profits on metrics other than your ROAS scores or weighs branded search terms differently in the performance metrics reports. Regardless of your Amazon SEO agency’s cost structure, you should align onbranded search terms before committing to a scope of work.

Provide Detailed Competitive Insight

A great indicator of a high-quality Amazon SEO agency is the level of insight they can provide into your competitors’ listing positioning and how it compares to yours. Data fanaticism is so important at Pattern that we’ve developed proprietary technology to display this exact information with precise detail for every brand we work with. In fact, you can find our free version here to see how you compare to some of your top competitors based on ASIN.

It’s certainly possible to improve your Amazon search performance with blind spending strategies. But a truly great solution will help you to know where your dollars are at their most powerful and competitive.

Reduce Your Ad Spend Over Time

Amazon’s A10 algorithm prioritizes customer satisfaction—it wants to show consumers the best products that align with their search intent to improve conversions and sales. So, the best way to gain momentum on Amazon is to work on incremental wins. 

Improving your performance on more obscure search terms that align with your customers’ search intent is a great way to increase ROAS for the long term. A10 will reward your success with better rankings on higher-volume search terms and the virtuous cycle can help you conquer your most-coveted listing spots. And the best part? This process of gaining momentum, if done right, will naturally decrease your ad spend over time as Amazon recognizes your value and works with you to keep your products at the top of consumers’ search results.

Amazon SEO Optimization and More

As an Amazon SEO specialist, Pattern knows how to help your brand win better success for long-term profitability on Amazon. With our data-driven tools and brilliant teams of ecommerce experts, we help brands with listing management, content optimization, Amazon ad strategies, and more.

Contact us to learn more about our SEO optimization services.

Sept 20, 2022

4 Ecommerce Marketplace Consultant Must-Haves

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. 

What is an Ecommerce Consultant?

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.

1. Brand Obsession/Specialization/Passion

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. 

2. Proven Results

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.

3. Wide Range of Marketplace Expertise

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.

4. Network of Resources

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.

Achieve Your Ecommerce Goals With Pattern

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.