This paper is going to speculate on how the sportswear industry is gaining more popularity in diversity and the development and development of economies. This market segment recently has been classified currently as the most price-competitive, this follows the research authenticated in the US and UK, the figures which these market segment total apparel turnover in the US accounted for 41% and in Europe 38% of the total turnover of the sporting apparel. Over the previous 5 years, there has been recorded a change in the buying of sportswear by women in the UK and these have been recorded to the spending of women by 70% and 45% in appreciation by women on the branded clothing (Aruvian, 2009). This makes 76% of the population of Europe under the age of 35 buying sportswear clothing and footwear.
Also, this continent has been recorded as the highest children’s wear consumer in the whole world raking about 1.4 billion pounds in children’s sportswear and footwear. This market segment although highly anticipated and competitive has had a high global growth rate, this in the previous years has made it to become a very lucrative and attractive industry for investment. NEXT Plc although a renowned brand in these regions which hold high esteem and good reputation and is distinguished from apparel retailers in the United Kingdom, forward-looking approach and the strong brand name and championing of the brand will elevate this brand in the market scale of other competitive and renowned brands like Puma, Adidas, and Nike.
Market area analyzed & why is attractive
This market which in recent years has been assumed to be the most lucrative kind of investment though it’s very competitive with very big brands which have been in the market from time memorial. The changing of trends has seen a drastic change in the sportswear markets segment as before people ha harbored this myth that most of the sportswear was for athletes only, the acceptance even by women who have recorded the least buyers of theses apparel, has changed the face of the market for sportswear and footwear (Mullins & Walker, 2009).
The recognition by women and acceptance by children as they have the most consumer buying power reported by annual market reports and most advertisement agency for they target the youngsters in the most advertisement. The sportswear market is globally and there is a need for more brands so if the champion brand managers of NEXT Plc could allocate more marketing strategies in the markets then this firm would come out of the wood and be a recognized brand all over the world, at the moment the market segment is in the aged, middle-aged and youths. This has been attributed to the fact that most people are opting to wear sports clothing’s as casuals.
The market segment of sportswear is growing at a very rapid rate and statistics show that because people are now appreciating sportswear and are replacing other casual wear with these wears and it the recent has been associated with certain youthful cultures. These have made the market of sportswear locally boom. International markets are influenced by the way most of these brands are signing in common sports and other idols from different entertainment genres (Kotler and Keller, 2008). This has brought about an increment in the sales of this sportswear locally and internationally. The most influencing aspects are the way historically the sportswear market was considered for athletics and elderly outfit due to the comfortability found in the apparel. There has been replaced by even the women accepting these outfits and also acknowledging them as casual outfits,
In the UK sportswear market, there are three sports multiples giants, the most leading one is the Sport direct, followed by JD Sports and JJB sports. These are followed by other competitors, the competition dynamic relies on the sports multiples and other retailers of sporting/leisure products is similar concerning each of the product lines (Guococap, 2009). Mainly compete with a wide variety of retailers selling through retail stores, most of these sales are generated through email or over the internet. Most of the competition in these markets segment is mostly associated with these multiple giants, like the most advanced brands have close links with major brands like Nike and Adidas, they are the majority shareholders so to match up with these market segments will be very hard (Kotler, 1999). Although with disciplined and tolerable strategies NEXT Plc can be able to top not with these giants but counter them in sales.
Most of the consumers perceive NEXT PLC as a brand that is mainly for men and their products are sports wears. Initially, this is because of the myth that many harbor that sportswear is associated with masculinity and depicted that most of the sportswear brands belonged to men. This was perceived so because all the advertisements and promotions which were done were masculine. Female and mainly the youths due to this publicity of sportswear for long they associated it with men and mostly sportsmen. For NEXT PLC to come top of the other key players in the world they have to address this issue and develop more feminine attires in their designs with youthful attributes which are closely attributed to the new fashion trends and cultures of the youth.
However, the perception of the consumers about sportswear has been changing drastically and this is mainly being driven by changing the culture of most communities. There is a trend of most people of all ages and sex prefers sportswear for casual wear (Joseph, 2002). This has changed the way customers perceive NEXT PLC, in the realization that the company has diversified its products to meet the changing preferences of most of their clientele.
To change the perception of females that the brand is not meant for men they have capitalized on changing their advertisements and promotions to make them much feminine. For the company to achieve it they are involving pop music celebrities besides the use of sportsmen. It also engaged professional designers to design clothing and footwear which will be more feminine.
Competitive advantages opportunities
Because of the high demand for sportswear and footwear, NEXT Plc can make a lot of sales and also these will help them to be elevated to the best competitive level by other major and big names in this industry like the likes of Nikes and Adidas, lower their prices to counter-attack the popularity of these brands (Seiten, 2001). Most of these items though they should still have the same quality should be lowered slightly to fit in the budget of even the lower class markets, they should also target most third world countries as they are densely populated and need to keep up with the western trends of fashion in this states is very rampant (Textiles Intelligence, 2007).
NEXT Plc should invest more in design development as most of the other developed brands have very lucrative designs and most of these firms are developed and mostly they have ventured into many other developments not only sportswear. Having celebrities as champion brands would also help market the brand internationally and locally, this will rejuvenate the sales and promote recognition of the brand by the youth as they are the most considered market of sportswear due to the personalization of celebrities (Chernev and Kotler, 2009).
Market opportunities of NEXT Plc opening
People in the developed and least developed states are opting for sportswear for casual because of the comfortableness and this is the potential hot spot for NEXT Plc to take affirmative action and develop designs that will suit all occasions. This opportunity has been scrutinized by analysts and has then been advocated that these in the twenty-second century would be the most prosperous industry, this is mostly influenced by the personalization of the fashion trend from the western community by the third world countries (Fenn, 2009).
The large population in this state is a potential market for the NEXT Plc organization, they are in dire need of this merchandise to fit in the trends. Diversification to footwear, caps, and sports clothing’s for the youth and mostly ladies who are the most accredited consumers in all retail markets in these states and all major developed states. Increased use of sports clothing’s by ladies. Because ladies buy clothes more than men therefore PLC should invest in the design of women’s clothes and footwear, they should exploit this market.
NEXT Plc brand is much stronger in the UK than most competitive brands; however, these inferior brands are working hard to ensure they are as much popular as NEXT Plc which sets the market pace in this region. Therefore, for NEXT PLC to maintain and improve its brand, it has invested more in getting into contracts with sporting associations, celebrities both in sports and pop songs, and designers to publicize their brand and improve on the goods which they offer in the market.
This will help NEXT PLC to strive and to lead in innovativeness especially in styles and quality and offer the products to the market at a relatively cheaper price. It shall be able to achieve this by investing in research and development thus it shall be able to produce high-quality products at a relatively cheaper price. Lastly, it is also striving to have products for everyone young, youths and the aged and of both sexes. By making the brand relative to all ages and sex it is would have been successful to reposition the brand to be known across different ages, social statuses, and gender hence being better placed in the market.
Porters five forces
The market of sportswear has as well been adversely affected by porter’s five forces which include; the threat of emergence of substitute products and entry of new competitors, competitive rivalry getting intense, and increased bargaining power of suppliers and consumers.
Over the years there have been substitutes of clothing to the cheaper strong fabric which most of them are synthetic. There are many substitute sports products in the market which most of them are cheap and easily available. Such sports wears are being imported at a very low cost which attracts most people who do not have much to spend on clothing. Although the substitute products are cheaper they are of low quality therefore they do not pose a threat in the long run because most customers will realize that the cheap sportswear is not durable (Porter, 1980).
The market of sports clothing is getting new competitors every time and the existing major players in the market are continually diversifying to meet the areas which they have not been able to cover. Competition rivalry is evident in the industry as some of the players try to outdo each other in design, promotions, and marketing.
The customers’ bargaining power is more influential in determining the pricing of the sportswear. Pricing of the commodities is not only determined by the bargaining power of customers but also the suppliers as well because they would form cartels and agree to sell raw materials at a given price (Porter, 1980). With such bargaining powers of customers and suppliers the players in the market to factor in their needs to be able to set up significant prices.
Recent Trends and Marketing opportunities
In the recent past, there has been a major credit crisis for Consumers who have become extra cautious in their expenditures and budgeting strategies. Nevertheless, NEXT has proven very tough to the crisis and instead made remarkable profits. Although it is worth noting that the main competitors did not enjoy any market luck and experienced a reduction in profits over the last two years coupled with the closure of some of their stores (PR Log Press Release, 2008). The inspiring performance by NEXT is prudent in creating an enabling environment for investment in other spheres besides capturing a wider market share even when the other companies do not enjoy a considerable amount of success and cannot have equivalence in the capital base as NEXT. The local and international markets were greatly affected by the economic crunch that descended in last years’ economy. The situation, though bad, is experiencing considerable changes to the positive turn.
By 2010, the demography of the bracket 15-24 population will most probably experience an upsurge of 3.0%. This demographic coverage has a heightened taste of fashion with obvious exposure to the long-established constraints that come along with expenditure with the inclusion of debt repayments and the housing market. Demographic changes, therefore, have far-reaching effects on market trends and opportunities.
The public interest will be greatly stimulated by such famous sporting events and activities like the world cup, the Olympics among others. During the most important sporting events, there is an upswing in the quantity sales of related commodities providing a chief stimulus for consumption of these goods.
Public awareness has also been amplified as relates to fitness and health influencing major intensifying rates in involvement in these activities across the UK with indicators of customers having a likelihood of boosting spending on performance wear for sports increasing the optimism in the sportswear environment.
Again it is worth noting that most people have the preference of wearing sports clothing with disregard to casual clothing. This is also a contributory factor to the ever-expanding market for sportswear.
Target Market and Market Segmentation
The sportswear market is divided into segments and when marketing is being done it is structured to target certain segments depending on their characteristic and behavioral characteristics. Such segments are the ones that should guide NEXT PLC when it is promoting its brand to increase its popularity and change the consumer’s behavior towards its product to increase sales of the brands in different regions.
According to Solomon, (2009) consumer behavior is relevant in the marketing and distribution of NEXT PLC products in the market. Because the behavioral characteristic determines how the consumers relate to the brand. Therefore, in areas that are perceived to have negative consumer behavior, the company shall need to study the reason why there is such negativity of its product in the region and formulate marketing strategies that would be used to mitigate such negativity. It is also used to understand the needs of the customers which the company captures analyzes it and incorporates in their product design and development of new product lines to meet the changing needs of the customers.
The total population of the United Kingdom was 61,789,194-report by 2001 census. Approximately a third of the populace live in England‘s South East and is primarily urban and suburban, leaving the capital city England, London with over 8.2 people.
The demography is set as follows: Age between 0-19 comprises of 25.4%; 20-49 takes 42.3% and 49 + hooks 32.3%. In 2007 and 2008, the first fifth of the households had £72,600 per family unit as compared to the bottom fifth which only had £4,700, putting the average income per household at approximately £38,600. The year 2009, had its median earnings of a male full-time at £531, and its counterpart female at the same rating, £426. The health professionals were the premier earning professions in that very year with a median pay of full time £1,031 weekly. The ratio comparing the males to females is moderately even forage up to 70. Females pick on a higher ratio after the age of 71 years (PR Log Press Release, 2008). There is also a suggestion in cases where women have a higher life expectancy
The ratio of occupational distribution was reflected as shown below in the year 2009; education and health 27 %; public admin, distribution, hotel and restaurant 22%; financial 21%; manufacturing 10% and others 20 %. In November 2009, the employment rate is decreased to 72.4 percent as the unemployment rate is raised to 7.8 percent. The employment rate of women has risen to 70 percent in December 2008 as the male employment rate has fallen from 92 percent to 78 percent. Women now represent more than a third of the UK’s full-time workers (35% versus 29% in 1985). Also, it is shown the redundancy rate of women is much lower than men.
In a review where measure items are taken to be the number of adults of working age regardless of the qualifications, the whole of United kingdom, 29% of the working class with degrees – 12.4% without any qualifications. London, which is the capital, has the highest educated workers ratio (Guococap, 2009). The United Kingdom families mostly have two children. Few women give birth to a number exceeding two, three, or more. By mid-2008, 40% of the populace got married; the ratio experiences a decline in contrast to that of divorce which is rising to 7%.
The market of sportswear has increased over the years thus it has become more competitive because of the changing trends of human behavior in acceptance of fashion and cultures. Therefore PLC should note that and be ready to get too stiff competition in the local and international market now and soon. There is a need to adopt new methods of marketing by use of e-commerce, advertisements, and use of brands champions is very essential. This is because customers from the market to which the product is marketed together with other brands in the market. However, the customers make their independent choices on the brand which they want over the other based on several factors which determine such behavior (Solomon, 2009).
Customer behavior is controlled largely by the individual value structures which are mainly in the subconscious mind of every person. This subconscious mind builds up over time to develop a value for one brand over the other.
Unless the customers have been exposed over a long time to publicity and advertisements of the brand then they can associate with it. These values of the brand over the others are desires which are imaginative and they are determined by a multiplicity of motives and attitudes. The values are the main influence of the consumer’s behavior and they are mainly not changed easily by any form of advertising because of their presence in the subconscious mind. The acceptance of women into sportswear is the best example of this attributes, so because this cannot be deterred mostly by advertisement all now NEXT PLC needs to do is invest in this latest development and have more designs favoring ladies for they sum up the majority of buyers of casual wear all over the world.
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