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Sports Licensing and Tailgate Show
Day 2


‘Why They Buy’ Panelists May Ask More of Retailers, But Will Continue Purchasing Licensed Products in Trying Times
January 22, 2009

More than 100 buyers, retailers and manufacturers joined a group of fans Thursday for the “Why They Buy” luncheon presentation at the Sports Licensing & Tailgate Show. Jack Smith served as moderator, noting at the opening of the panel discussion that more than 400 thousand Brett Favre jerseys were sold after Favre joined the Jets in 2008. The growth in the sporting goods business, Smith said, will be in licensed products.

According to the six panelists—made up of four men and two women—that will depend on how retailers chase their business in the coming years. They agreed that stores needed to be more user-friendly and concentrate on customer service. Now more than ever, a trained staff, human beings answering the phones, and a better use of websites and emails will determine where they shop and what they pay.

On the subject of buying knockoffs versus officially licensed products the panel was unanimous: just say no. Interestingly it wasn’t a question of supporting and protecting leagues, teams and players. It came down to quality. Why buy a knockoff that falls apart in two weeks when you can get the real deal that lasts forever?

Asked what they would change about the licensed sports marketplace, the panelists offered a range of answers. One said that it was difficult to find good quality licensed apparel that is conservatively styled. Another suggested starting a “gift registry” for ardent fans so people would know what to buy them. Vintage products, most everyone agreed, were too expensive—and yet they all wanted to see more of these items, as they reflect the rising age and tastes of mainstream sports consumers.

When asked what percentage of their licensed sports purchases are impulse buys versus planned purchases, everyone admitted that they are basically impulse buyers. Still, they put great thought into their purchases, and will do so even more as the economy tightens.

What are their buying plans over the next 12 months? Surprisingly, not a single panelist thought about pulling back significantly.
They will continue buying licensed products for kids, babies and pets, and keep buying team-identified gifts for friends, colleagues and co-workers. As for their own purchases, they may lean more toward logoed everyday wear as opposed to authentic jerseys. And they all will be looking harder at the relationship between price and value, particularly on items that are more than $25 or $30.

 

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