Market Data

Retail Audits

Market Data Services / Retail Audits

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In 2022, making good commercial, marketing, and investment decisions relies on access to good data. In the fast-moving world of sports consumer goods, it’s essential for businesses to understand, in detail and in as close to real time as possible, what’s selling. Only with accurate data can you optimise sales, relationships, and profits.


Retailers get confidence that what they are stocking is wanted by their target customers, and manufacturers can evolve their product design and product development strategies to produce the sports equipment the consumers want.


Retail audits give that accurate data and act as an ongoing health check for your brand or store. A retail audit provides a monthly measurement, to brand and model level, of sales volume, value and stock in the market.


Retail audits are an invaluable tool for manufacturers and retailers , supporting sales, marketing, buying, selling, forecasting, and product development teams to…

  • Put your performance in context
  • Monitor new product launches or marketing campaigns
  • Identify new niches / product categories
  • Negotiate better (with brands, retailers or distributors)
  • Tailor pricing strategies
  • Secure investment with independent, robust data
  • Make better business decisions

Retail audits benefit everyone involved in a sport. The near real-time  information helps brands to design and market products better, ultimately producing better products that retailers find easier to sell at higher prices.

“I can state without hesitation that SMS produces the industry’s most accurate and timely reporting, in addition to being the easiest to digest and use.”

Terry Schalow, Executive Director, Running Industry Association

Our retail audit services operate on an aggregated model that preserves 100% data confidentiality for participating sellers. While brands do not see any individual retailer’s sales, a participating retailer will see their own sales and can compare these against the overall market. Depending on the sports category, analysis will be possible by type of retailer, from bricks-&-mortar or online; and by channel; splitting speciality retailers from generalist sports or lifestyle retailers.

The data is shared each month from retailers’ electronic point of sale (EPOS) systems. It is then cleaned and checked by SMS’ dedicated retail audit team, and combined with data from other providers.


Detailed product categorisation takes place at model level using proprietary code and machine learning technology.


Participating brands and retailers receive access to an interactive dashboard reporting system. Updated monthly, the dashboard has been designed to ensure that you can get information fast, easily and reliably. It also lets you export the data to run your own additional analysis or incorporate the data into reports and presentations.


The dashboard will show, at brand and model level, units sold, £/€ value of sales, average selling price, stock level, and stock turn (days’ of stock of product in the market).

Proven Expertise

SMS has a long and successful history of operating retail audits for the sports industry.


It launched and currently manages the Bicycle Association Market Data Service in the UK, which now tracks over 1 million individual products and covers more than 70% of the total cycling market.


In the USA, SMS operates market data services on tennis racquets and running shoes, and SMS business ActionWatch offers a full service audit of the core surf and skate industry, across both hard goods and soft goods in the USA and Australia.


SMS also operated a European Golf Market Data service in the UK, France, Germany and Sweden for many years and has had long experience of processing data confidentially and working closely with retailers and manufacturers.

The running retail audit is supported by the Running Industry Alliance.


The outdoor retail audit is operated in partnership with the European Outdoor Group and supported by the Outdoor Industry Association.


In cycling, the Bicycle Association Market Data Service, powered by SMS, is supported by some of the biggest brands and retailers in the UK, including Amazon, Wiggle, Decathlon, Go Outdoors and Halfords.

“When it comes to a deep understanding of actual consumer buying behaviour, live EPOS data anonymously streamed to a central point and curated by professional data handlers and market researchers is delivering stunning clarity and insight. It’s night and day – like going from navigation by compass, to using a GPS”

Steve Garidis – Chief Executive – Bicycle Association


At the moment, we are in the process of establishing the running and outdoor retail audits. Working groups have been set up to support the set up and launch of the running and outdoor retail audits. What we need most is your support, either as a brand buying the service, or as a retailer supplying sales data.

To find out more information, and to join the programme, please contact Carolyn Barnes using the details below:

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Why should I trust SMS?

SMS has worked with some of the biggest brands, retailers, events and federations in sport since 1984. Keeping your data secure is absolutely paramount to our business. We employ cutting edge data protection techniques to make sure your data is 100% safe.

What if I don't have time to share data?

Sharing data takes less than 10 minutes per month. The data you get back will repay that small time investment many times over.

Do I have to pay?

Independent retailers supplying monthly data to the service receive access to the dashboard free of charge.

For manufacturers, distributors, federations, major chain retailers and other types of businesses, charges apply. For more information on charges, please contact

What if I don't have an electronic point of sale (EPOS) system?

Unfortunately, at this stage, both the outdoor and running retail audits require data suppliers to use an electronic till system in order to take part. Doing this helps us to keep costs down for buyers of the service and ensure that reporting is as timely and accurate as possible.

When do I get results?

Dependent on the support of the retailers in the turn-around and supply of their monthly sales data, the plan will be to supply aggregated and cleaned data to users by the end of the following month after the sales month in question. This is in keeping with our performance in established international sports audits.


So, for example, January’s data will be visible by the end of February

Do I qualify to provide data?

Probably yes!

The outdoor retail audit covers both the specialty and generalist markets. So if you sell outdoor goods and are interested in taking part, please contact us.

The running retail audit is currently focusing on the specialist channel – that is those retailers for whom running is the major focus of their business. If this isn’t quite you, it’s still worth reaching out as we may expand to include more generalist sellers in future.

If selling running or outdoor products to end consumers is your store’s specialty, and you have an electronic point of sale system and are willing to share data with us every month, you can sign up immediately.

If you do not sell running or outdoor products to end consumers, you can take part in the service as a buyer. Please refer to the above costs or contact us for more information.

What if I’m interested in multiple sport audits?

You are welcome to take part in as many of SMS’ sport retail audits as you’d like. To take part as a data provider, you’ll need to fit the criteria outlined in the above question, but you are free to buy in as a brand to various audits.




What if I’m interested in multiple sport audits?

You are welcome to take part in as many of SMS’ sport retail audits as you’d like. To take part as a data provider, you’ll need to fit the criteria outlined in the above question, but you are free to buy in as a brand to various audits.




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