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.