Do Americans Like Soccer? World Cup E-Commerce Data Is Revealing

July 11, 2014 Tim Callan

Americans have a love-hate relationship with soccer. Just look at the headlines this week:

  • :) “The Debate is Over, Americans Love Soccer” (article3),
  • :( “America’s Favorite National Pastime: Hating Soccer” (Ann Coulter),
  • :) “World Cup Gives Soccer Momentum” (SFGate),
  • :( “Future of Soccer: Bright for Our Team, Not the Sport” (CBS),

Because SLI works with 800+ e-commerce vendors globally and can study consumer search behavior online, we are in the unique position to put this debate to rest and learn how the World Cup really affected interest in soccer. Forget opinions and gut feeling, the data don’t lie.

So what did we find? Well, the 2014 World Cup kicked up more than just a sea of Tim Howard fans in the U.S. Increasingly more consumers appear to be interested in soccer and soccer gear. SLI studied consumer search behavior between March 2 and July 9, 2014 and found that for the month of June, soccer-related searches increased by 280% compared to May.

soccer-related_e-commerce_searches_in_the_us

The study was conducted across eight leading international sporting goods and apparel retailers with combined monthly revenue of approximately $500M and analyzed more than 341 million consumer searches to track interest in soccer-related products. The interests of U.S.-based consumers were clear: there were more than 2.2 million soccer related product searches from just these eight e-commerce sites alone.

And that’s not all. Soccer is played year-round in the U.S., but recreational soccer gear tends to be purchased before the fall and spring seasons. We found a boost in online shopping behavior during June for products ranging from soccer cleats, balls, shin guards, gloves and other equipment, demonstrating the country’s increased interest in actually playing the sport.

Additional findings from the study include:

  • June 16th was the peak day for soccer-related shopping in the U.S., the day the U.S. played Ghana.
  • In the U.S., the international teams with most consumer interest are Brazil, followed by Germany, Argentina, and the Netherlands.
    • The most popular search terms, in order, for the U.S. were:
      • Soccer
      • USA Soccer
      • FIFA
      • Nike Soccer

It’s clear that The World Cup U.S. fanfare will continue long after Sunday’s final game. Writer Alan Black of SFGate put it best, “File soccer under American.”

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