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Sales of sports goods up 30% in January, but customers seeking deals

Data from the leading eCommerce provider Visualsoft, shows just how much of a health kick the UK is on.

Revenue across sports, outdoor and recreation retailers increased by 30% in January 2024, compared to the monthly average in 2023. This marks an increase of 15% year on year (2024 vs 2023), a healthy recovery from the peak Covid years when it dropped by 12.5% in 2023 compared to 2022.

The growth is ahead of inflation rates, pointing to an enthusiasm to get fit and healthy in January – and spend to do so.

Health, Beauty & Cosmetics Grow 16%

A similar picture emerges in the health, beauty & cosmetics sector where January saw a growth of 16% compared to 2023 averages, although comparing January YOY there was a dip of 0.8%.

However, the Average Order Value for sports decreased by 9%, and by 13% for the health category, demonstrating that consumers are still looking for deals as many face pressures on their wallets, exacerbated by the Christmas spending spree.

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Discounts Highest Converting

The highest converting campaigns were those that focused on discounts, although there was also a high click-through rate with experimentation into not displaying prices. The peak trading day in sports was 15 January, seeing a huge 83% higher revenue than average.

Antony Hoyland, VP of Business Development at Visualsoft commented: “In a time when people are feeling the pinch, and January can feel like a long month with many companies offering earlier pay dates in December, it’s good these sites show improvement. It does show that the health kick in January is one quite well ingrained in people and that people are willing to spend into it. However whilst sales of sports goods are high we can also see that health, beauty and cosmetics have seen a decline (-1%) at a time when campaigns are often targeting health and wellness. It looks like currently, people are favouring sport and activity as part of their new year goals.”

Read more: Different Discount Ideas to Encourage Customer Loyalty

Searches Increased Post-Christmas

Traffic peaked on December 26th, suggesting that before the turkey has even settled people are considering their new year goals, whilst conversion rates were highest on January 2nd, as the January health kick mantras kick on.

There were 57 times more searches for the term ‘gym’ and 13 times more for the word ‘fitness’ than there were for ‘weight loss’, a positive indicator that people are embracing holistic health for physical benefits that go beyond their clothes size.

Read more: Rethinking Retail: Adapting to Digital Demands for Sales Growth

Sarah Adams, Head of Social Strategy at Visualsoft says: “There’s some controversy around pushing the concept of ‘New Year New You’ on social media. Typically if a client wants to lean into it, we look to focus more on wellbeing and self-care rather than complete change, as we know that this can have a negative impact on mental health. This year we had huge success with a client that took the approach to focus on ‘starting the new year on the right foot’ ‘investing in yourself’ and ‘treating yourself after treating everyone else at Christmas’. They achieved an average Return on Spend of £15.”