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#ConsumerCorner: the summer of sport begins

Summer of Sport
By Joanna Kent
11 June 2024
Consumer Industries
Food & Drink/FMCG
Consumer Campaigns & B2B

With the first Euros match kicking off on Friday, high street operators will be hoping the first post-pandemic summer of sport can bring a much-needed boost to their sales.

Many in the industry will remember the dark days of the 2021 Euros and Olympics, which took place either behind closed doors or with Covid restrictions in place.

They may also be nursing resentments that the last World Cup was held in winter when venues struggled to capitalise above and beyond the traditional festive bookings.

But this summer is expected to be different, and retailers and hospitality venues have their eyes firmly set on the sales prize on offer, as a staggering 35.4m people are expected to tune in to watch the Euros and the Olympics in Germany and France respectively.

Some avid sports fans will be keen to get down the pub to see their favourite team play on the big screen which will provide a much-needed boost to the hospitality sector.

Predictions suggest 14.4m Brits will watch at least one match at a pub, bar or restaurant – a significant 115% increase from the 2022 World Cup.

But with 30.7m consumers expected to watch at least one match from the comfort of their home, retailers are also in a strong position to cater for the seasonal sales opportunity, especially in the convenience sector.

There really is the opportunity for winners in all areas.

But in order to capitalise on this – especially at a time when the cost of living is still impacting households – success will be in the ability of businesses to react quickly to demand.

The weather is also expected to play its part, with the UK experiencing the hottest May on record – hard to believe, I know. But conversely, it has also been the wettest May since 1986.

With the Great British weather providing anything but certainty of what it will be like on match day, the ability to quickly adapt will be key, especially for those venues that have big outdoor screens.

On the high street, the convenience sector is expected to perform well.

From dynamic displays and promotions of the day to entice shoppers in, through to the steady flow of footfall generated via the key top up mission, convenience retailers are in a great position to capitalise.

Whether it’s stocking up at the wholesaler that morning on ice creams, beers and burgers for the chiller on a hot day, or brollies to tackle the wet weather, savvy convenience retailers have the flexibility to shift their focus (and fast) to tap into the shopping needs of the moment.

Brands can also provide great support by offering advice to retailers on what to stock, how much of it, when and where – helping them take their slice of the impressive £1.14bn retail spend expected during the Euro group stages.

As tightened purse strings may result in many consumers staying in to enjoy their match day celebrations, or commiserations, in the comfort of their own home, convenience retailers will be well-placed to switch their seasonal stock as quickly as the UK weather to their advantage.

Overall, this summer aims to provide a strong platform for growth in the consumer space.

Shoppers are willing to spend, but they want to do so carefully and smartly. The businesses that adapt to those needs and perform impressively will be the big winners, even if the athletes and footballers are not.