Reports & Insights

Take a sales hike – how retail sales insight can support the outdoor sports industry

Take a sales hike – how retail sales insight can support the outdoor sports industry

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Reports & Insights

Market research and insight can usher in a new era of growth for the European Outdoor Sports Industry, according to a presentation given by SMS director Richard Payne to the European Outdoor Group (EOG).


Specifically, Payne argued, it is retail sales and stock data that is a major opportunity for businesses catering to the millions of people in Europe who take part in outdoor activities from hiking to wild camping. Wholesale data is already monitored by the EOG’s State of the Trade report, which segments trade sales into market by country / region and value and volume, and allows for annual comparisons going back several years. Possible extensions to the State of Trade programme include brand level reporting, which would allow data suppliers to benchmark their own sales against an aggregated average of other brands and would remain 100% secure and confidential. Even more beneficial would be a full sell-through market data service based on Electronic Point of Sale (EPOS) data collected by retailers and those brands and distributors selling direct-to-consumer.


EOG delegates listening to Payne’s presentation got a glimpse of the level of data capture and taxonomic categorisation of products possible using SMS’ data capture, storage and management solutions.


These solutions are the product of SMS’ long heritage producing sports retail audits. Currently SMS operates the Bicycle Association Market data service in the UK, a monthly sales tracker that monitors an estimated 70% of the total cycling sales in the UK market, capturing more than 850,000 individual products. In the USA, SMS also operates market data services in Tennis, Running and Surf & Skate. Each of these programmes is a valuable tool for businesses within the industry, providing near real-time feedback on the market and a chance to optimise sales, distribution and product development. Research has also been used by businesses considering entering a particular sports market to secure investment or plan and launch a successful strategy. The insights also provide a powerful advocacy platform, enabling bodies like the EOG to successfully lobby for local and national support and funding for their industries. For example, the Bicycle Association (BA) UK Cycling Market Data Service, powered by SMS, has been used in parliamentary debate, and, along with other BA efforts and evidence, contributed to advocacy that successfully exempted cycling retailers from forced closure during lockdown, as well as the securing of a government voucher repair system.


Reflecting on the webinar and the next stages of the process, Pauline Shepherd, Head of Market Research for the EOG, commented:


“The European Outdoor Group are pleased to be working with SMS to develop the existing measure of retail sales of outdoor products. Working with SMS we aim to strengthen the UK market coverage of the sales in the outdoor sector and allow for more robust and real time data.


As well as reporting online and offline sales as the coverage improves, we will also be able to report the different sales channels such as outdoor specialists and pure online players. We will also look to include key sustainability metrics, such as rate of returns.


Next Steps 

In terms of next steps we would like to invite all interested in the outdoor sector to join a pilot discussion – so if you are a brand, retailer, agent or distributer please join one of the meetings to find out more about the timelines and each stage of the pilot and how you can be part of the pilot. Four dates are available w/c  24 May or w/c 31 May. They have been designed to hopefully best meet your varied time zones and schedules.”




Or if you would prefer a one to one meeting, please email Richard direct at


Sports Marketing Surveys is the sports specialist insight company helping businesses understand the players, fans, trade and stakeholders who matter. For more information, please contact or visit


The EOG is the voice of the European outdoor sector. It represents over 100 member organisations, including brands, retailers, events, and federations across the industry. For more information, please visit

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