A report compiled by broadband sports network Premium TV has revealed that Christmas 2003 saw bumper sales for football clubs’ online stores.

During the Christmas period the 15 online club shops that Premium TV manages, using Microsoft commerce server 2002 technology, generated more than £1 million in sales, which is up from £350,000 in 2002 – an increase of almost 300%.

Of the 92 clubs in the FA Premier League and Nationwide Football League, 89 have an online club shop. Premium TV is now the biggest provider of online shop technology to the football market with 15 club shop solutions live and a further 10 clubs already scheduled to launch in 2004.

HIGHLIGHTS FROM THE REPORT:

Football fans join in Christmas spending Last Christmas English football fans followed the general trend in online
shopping and spent heavily in their clubs’ official online shops.

During the Christmas 2003 period the 15 online club shops that Premium TV manages generated more than £1 million in sales, which is up from £350,000 in 2002 – an increase of almost 300%.

Online shop sales account for over 10% Online club shop sales have grown steadily and on average now account for
over 10% of all football club merchandise sales. This figure is estimated to grow to 25% by the end of 2005.

Online set to outperform traditional mail order channel
By end of 2004 online club shop sales could overtake the traditional football club mail order telesales and catalogue sales businesses. Today, online sales represent around 35% of clubs’ overall mail-order business.

Top sellers
The top sellers last Christmas were:
1. Home Shirt (40% of sales)
2. Away Shirt (25%)
3. Training Wear (10%)
4. Ladieswear (5%)
5. Gifts/Souvenirs (5%)
6. Other (15%)

Average shopping basket value increased by 55%
Fans are spending more online than ever before. In 2004 the average online football club basket value was £70, up 55%, from £45 in 2003.

Growth is coming from ladies wear
With a boom in women of all ages watching and playing football, sales of women’s football merchandise grew rapidly in 2003 and reached approximately £100,000. Sales are set to grow even further in 2004 thanks to the European
Championships.

Premium TV View
Oliver Slipper, commercial director of Premium TV, said: ‘Club merchandise retailing changed this Christmas with many new customers discovering the convenience of 24/7 online shopping combined with reliable home delivery. We
believe that many more fans will now choose to shop this way regularly and not just to avoid the Christmas or match day rush.’

‘Generally speaking, football clubs have been slow to capitalise on the huge growth in online shopping over the past two years and these figures will resonate around club boardrooms and reinforce the importance of having an
effective e-commerce strategy. The majority of clubs are still underplaying the revenue-generating potential of online shopping as well as the huge cost savings an online shop can deliver. This report demonstrates there is already large, fast-growing customer demand, which represents a key
potential revenue growth area for clubs across all divisions.’

‘There is no going back for the millions of consumers who have now experienced for themselves that the Internet provides a better way to shop for many products and services.’

Football club quotes
Richard Gould, commercial director at Bristol City FC said: ‘Sales have soared since the introduction of the new site, which offers supporters an attractive and easy to operate shopping experience. Our old online shop provided only a small percentage of total sales, but the new site is now fast becoming a major source of income, with much of it being new business.’

Mike Pink, retail manager of Queens Park Rangers, said: ‘Since using the Premium TV club shop solution, we have seen a major improvement in online shop sales. Its not only down to the team doing so well this season, our
increased product range and excellent shop user interface are driving the sales. The feedback from our supporters has been very complimentary and this has been reflected in our turnover online, especially during November and December 2003.’

Graham Fordy, head of commercial at Middlesborough FC said:’ Middlesborough FC is delighted to have had its best ever Christmas trading period for online shopping. We have worked hard with Premium TV to improve our shop as well as increasing the range of products available. We are delighted with the general progress of online shopping.’

The Market View
Online football merchandise sales have a long way to go to catch up with the total ‘e-tail’ market, which, according to the Interactive Retail in Media Group (IMRG), was estimated to be worth in excess of £2.5 billion for Christmas 2003.

Britain’s online shoppers spent a total of £1.324 billion in December 2003, up 70 per cent on December 2002. Combined with November’s figures, a total of £2.5 billion was spent via the Internet in the run up to Christmas 2003.
Source: The online retailing industry body IMRG.

For more information contact Mark Terry on 01452 760 147 or 07740 432 112.