Consumer Brand Demographics Vary Even Within the Same Product Category

Charts 1-3, focused on running/jogging shoes, illustrate the importance of examining demographic profiles of individual brands. The significance of this lies in the fact that, when teams and media programmers solicit sponsors, it can be most helpful if they are aware of brand profiles for various brands within a product category. For example, a west coast team seeking sponsors may find a product isn’t popular nationally but it is very popular in their region. Or the team may find a product that isn’t popular overall, but very popular within a particular age group that is similar to their team’s fan base.

How To Access Athletic Footwear Brand Demographics

To analyze the demographics of leading brands of cross training/fitness, running/jogging, soccer, tennis and walking shoes, click on “Footwear” on the home page navigation bar, then click on the appropriate footwear category. The page that appears will include individual brand demographics together with all other information for the selected footwear category.

You may also access these brand tables by inserting the appropriate url in your browser (when you are logged in to SBRnet):


The charts below reflect demographics for running shoe buyers on a national basis, as well as for different age groups, gender and geographic region.

Chart 1 below shows brand share of the market (based on consumer brand identification in nationwide survey) for running shoe brands in 2014. The green bar reflects the brand’s share of the total U.S. market, whereas the other bars represent the brand’s share of market in the specific age group. Some interesting patterns emerge. As shown in the chart, Nike’s brand share is highest among younger buyers, scaling down to lowest among the oldest buyers. New Balance’s brand share follows the opposite pattern... from lowest among young buyers to highest among the oldest buyers. Asics’ pattern differs from Nike and New Balance, with brand share peaking among buyers in the 35-44-year-old age group.

Chart 2 below shows brand share of the market for running shoe brands by gender in 2014. The interesting pattern here is that market share is relatively equal for all brands with the exception of Adidas, which is more popular. Another interesting pattern appears here... except for New Balance, brand share for all the other brands is generally comparable between men and women. The New Balance brand, however, is more appealing to men (14.7%) than to women (9.9%).

Chart 3 below shows brand share of the market for running shoe brands by geographic region in 2014. On a regional basis, there are also some interesting patterns. For example, New Balance market share is considerably higher in the Northeast and South (the eastern half of the country) than in the Midwest and Western regions. Brooks and Saucony are considerably stronger in the all regions compared with very low percentages in the Western region. The latter could be because of Nike’s strength in the Western region, but more analysis would be needed to uncover the reason.

In summary

Sponsorship decisions can materially affect the success of consumer products. A successful sponsorship…one which best meets the sponsor’s objectives... represents many opportunities for sports teams and leagues.

However, sponsorship’s growing importance is accompanied by the need for more and more systematic evaluation of alternative sponsorship opportunities. While ROI is important, ROI only measures the effectiveness of a sponsorship once it is implemented. This imposes a burden on the sponsor to devote more and more energy to make the right decision about what teams or leagues to sponsor and how much money to invest in sponsorships altogether.

In this environment, sports teams and organizations and their agencies offering sponsorships need to be more informed (products and marketing profiles) than ever about products they are considering for sponsorship. The data presented above shows how important it is for teams and leagues seeking sponsors to not only have good information about a brand’s national significance, but they need to know a great deal more, including specifics about a brand’s demographics and customer loyalty base.

Questions for the Classroom

The questions below reflect the kind of issues you would be dealing with if you were the marketing director for a running shoe manufacturer.

  • Why do you think New Balance has much more success among older runners than among younger runners?
  • Why do you think New Balance has a significantly lower market share among women than among men, whereas shares for other brands are relatively equal among men and women?
  • Why do Brooks and Saucony have such low market shares in the Western region of the country compared with their market shares in other geographic regions?
  • Why is Saucony the only brand whose market share is highest among runners ages 35-44?
Posted: 9/11/2015 11:43:51 AM

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