Google recently launched the Google Sports Study report, which unravels the relationship between Brazilians and sports in 2020. The study was based on data from the platform’s own search engine and from YouTube, from Sports Track and Google Consumer Survey surveys, and Trends in behavior and retail, via WGSN & Stylus.
The first big insight in the report that we will analyze throughout this blog post investigates the growth of new sports and the various opportunities that follow this trend.
Football is still a highlight, both as a favorite sport and as one of the most practiced sports. However, volleyball, basketball and swimming have grown in number of fans over the past year. It is also worth noting that non-traditional sports, such as American Football, have also evolved over the years, becoming a relevant product for Brazilians. Talking about sports practice, activities such as walking, running and weight training share the attention with the main sports in the country.
Giving more attention to Google’s search engine, the report shows that basketball was very prominent in 2020. There were 200 million searches for basketball on the platform, versus 100 million for running and 50 million for volleyball. Considering specific topics such as NBA, Lakers, champion of the season, and LeBron James, outstanding athlete, the growth in the average of searches per month reached 350%, in comparison with the previous year.
A big part of this success came from the creation of the NBA bubble. Created in July 2020, the initiative brought the teams together in a structure in Orlando, at the ESPN Wide World of Sports complex. In addition to the matches themselves, the NBA bet heavily on creating content at the time, especially on social media. The league’s profile on Instagram focused on the Brazilian market, surpassed the mark of 1 million followers, with a significant growth also on TikTok.
Returning to individual sports, the pandemic brought new practices to Brazilians: 39% off the public that answered the survey started a new sport that they had not practiced in previous years. With social distance measures hindering the practice of team sports, modalities such as walking, running and cycling showed great progress in the last year.
Cycling was the highlight when we related daily habits to the consumption behavior of individuals. The term grew 70% in searches in the Google bar, considering the period between January and November of the last four years. When the survey was directed to the shopping area, cycling was the most prominent sport, with an increase of 439% in the number of clicks. Two other sports that grew a lot in the period were squash and yoga / pilates, growing 244% and 194%, respectively.
These new habits brought some opportunities, mainly related to the trade of products. The sports segment was the first in direct-to-consumer online sales, that is, with sales being made through channels of the brands themselves. The creation of such direct channels with the consumer can be a lesson for all areas, as it also favors access to consumer data, to subsequently build strategies based on their preferences.
Within product trade, the fastest growing trend is the transformation of sports into a lifestyle for many Brazilians. If before some clothes were used only for physical activities, the style became part of people’s daily routine. According to the survey, one in four Brazilians use sports products daily, not just for training. This behavior has advanced to the fashion industry, with the creation of athleisure, a style that brings the comfort of sports materials to the daily lives of consumers.