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Football Crazy – shopping and the world cup

Posted on 10th June 2014

With the start of the 2014 FIFA World Cup imminent, the so called beautiful game is likely to have implications for retail in not only the 32 countries having a team in the competition, but also more widely across the globe.  Sadly the Danes (my first team) did not qualify this time so I will have to support England instead.  According to FIFA there are some 270 million people (or some 4% of the world’s population) who are actively involved in the game of football (actually playing the game). This is before adding in increasing match attendances and TV audiences, particularly around major tournaments.

The Brazilian Institute of Tourism estimates that over half a million tourists will visit the country to attend the World Cup. In addition around three million Brazilians are forecast to attend. However, the economic benefits of hosting a World Cup are necessarily apparent, and there are some who would argue that such events can deter non-fans from visiting the country, plus with the protests in some Brazilian cities and negative press coverage, some may be deterred from travelling.

Depending on the time zone compared to match kick-offs, there will be a suspension of normal behaviour with work and family time taking a bit of a back seat for the next month. Shopping habits are likely to change with increased spending on certain categories such as food and drink whether for consumption at home, BBQs, partying with friends and family while celebrating or drowning their sorrows. Supermarkets are already gearing up for increased sales over the next month.

The need to get a better view or perspective on the match could result in an increase in televisions and other means of watching the big matches, whether in England, Colombia, South Korea or Australia.  Manufacturers have already shipped 3.3 million flat screen TVs to Brazil alone, up 57% from the same period last year (NPD Group).

Major brands are ramping up their national and international marketing activities, with adidas an official sponsor.  No great surprise that sporting goods retailers have prepared for increased demand for this soccer fest, with football accessories and World Cup memorabilia likely to be high on the shopping list for many fans, whether travelling to Brazil or not.

Body image football - web

Spending on the out of home food and beverage sector will increase as supporters congregate to share the experience together of their teams winning or losing, even the carnival atmosphere the World Cup may generate, particularly given the host nation.

Even face or grease paint and other fan-props will certainly see an increase in sales as fans soak up the atmosphere whether in Brazil or for most at home.

In those markets and sectors with a developed online market, it is highly likely that they will see an increase in sales as people prefer the convenience of delivery to their armchairs and sofas.

And for those less interested in football, then at least the shops are likely to be quieter, and the World Cup ‘widows and widowers’ wanting to enjoy a meal out or watch a film in peace and quiet may find it easier. On the other hand though in some electrical and all sportswear stores there may not actually be any escape or respite!

If all goes well, Brazil could enjoy a long-term boost to its domestic tourism industry and see demand for some of its exports grow. Meanwhile, from Tokyo to Buenos Aires and London to Sydney via Tehran, late nights, overindulgence, spending, outbursts of rejoicing or despair are likely to be the order of the day to varying degrees.  If you can’t beat them join them!


Dr Yvonne Court , Partner, Cross Border Retail, Cushman & Wakefield, London, United Kingdom


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