E-commerce of Sport Equipment in Brazil

The segment of sports equipment presents significant opportunities for online stores in Brazil. In this article we will describe the characteristics of the e-commerces of sports equipment in Brazil.

The segment of sports equipment presents significant opportunities for online stores in Brazil. In this article we will describe the characteristics of the e-commerces of sports equipment in Brazil.

Growth and Current Status

Although the most relevant players in e-commerce in Brazil remain department stores, in the last few years the number of specialised e-commerces has increased substantially, with some of these stores earning an increasing market share over more renowned competitors. Among the most successful segments of online retailers, which range from fashion, cosmetics, furniture, electronics and toys, perhaps the one that is the most representative of the opportunities for specialised outlets is the one of sports equipment, considering that is where some of the overall largest online stores in Brazil can be found.

Most of the major e-commerces of sports equipment in Brazil started their business offering a limited variety of products. For many of these stores, the first products to grab the attention of consumers were the categories of footwear such as trainers and running shoes, which by the time of their launch, in the middle of the 2000’s, could rarely be found at competitive prices from major e-commerces in the country.

Following years of aggressive marketing campaigns and pricing strategies, sports equipment retailers were able to gather a sizable consumer base, and consequently received contributions from national and foreign investors. After several years, e-commerces of sports equipment have expanded to the point of becoming one of the most important segments of online retail in Brazil. According to reports from market analyst E-bit, the segment of sports items was the 9th highest selling in the country during the first semester of 2015, and also the 8th highest grossing during the same period.

Part of the successful strategies adopted by these stores was the expansion of their product catalogues to a wide variety of items, ranging from clothing, apparel, technological equipment and even food supplements. It is actually not uncommon for the leaders in this segment to offer over 50 product categories, which allows them to target a potential consumer audience much wider than the one solely interested in sports goods.

Companies that intend to explore this highly competitive segment are advised to look into the common practices adopted by the most successful outlets, such as Netshoes and Centauro, in terms of product selection and delivery options, in order to be acquainted with the expectations of the Brazilian consumer audience for sports equipment.

Product Variety Strategies

As mentioned previously, one of the most defining characteristic of leading Brazilian e-commerces of sports equipment is their high diversification of products offered. In opposition to what the name of this category might suggest, some of these stores offer products that have little to do with the realisation of sports activities, like fashion accessories, video games and consumer electronics.

These varied products serve as complementary offerings to the leading categories sold by these retailers. By far the most popular products from sports equipment e-commerces are trainers and running shoes, followed by clothing and fashion items of various categories. Their popularity can be related to the cultural trait of Brazilians not heavily investing in the consumption of sports goods themselves, while showing an increased interest in the purchase of sports-related lines of clothing and footwear.

As a result of this diversification strategy, most of the largest e-commerce of sports equipment in Brazil end up in direct competition with retailers of clothing and fashion items. Some of the largest players in this segment like store Centauro have also established partnerships with major soccer teams to offer branded products such as shirts and caps, and in some cases allow for consumers to customise them in ways like printing their own names prior to delivery. In most cases, these partnerships represent an effort to generate more conversions from the audience for clothing items.

Equipment Types

In terms of actual sports equipment, items related to sports such as soccer and volleyball, including balls and footwear, are among the most featured in specialised e-commerces in Brazil, along with extreme sports products such as surfboards, bikes and skateboards. Some of the product categories that have also presented significant potential in the country are the ones related to gym fitness training, as this is one of the most commonly practiced health and sports activities in the country. Specialised online stores offer a wide range of items in this category, such as special clothing and food supplements.

Aside from products for these popular categories, there are a number of sports niches that are catered for by Brazilian e-commerces. These include tennis, swimming, martial arts and even fishing and horseback riding equipment. Over the last few years, a number of sports categories such as card games like poker and team games like rugby have also increased their popularity in Brazil to the point of having their equipment featured in local e-commerces. It is common for the largest stores to offer discounted bundles for consumers of specific sports, such as helmets and skateboards kits and packs of fitness clothing.

Delivery Options and Return Policies

Due to the increased amount of product returns and exchanges in the categories of fashion items and footwear, online stores in the segment of sports equipment institute a number of practices with the goal of offering more convenience to customers. It is a general practice for these stores to allow for products to be returned up to 30 days after delivery and even allow for products to be exchanged free of charge for a single time following their purchase.

Some of the e-commerces that operate physical store chains apply omnichannel policies such as allowing for products to be delivered with free shipping to those shops, and also for consumers to exchange items bought via online channels with the ones sold at brick and mortar retailers of the same brand.

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