One of the most challenging industries for a supply chain within the Lifestyle industry is Sports & Outdoors given some particularities that drive its business model: seasonality and the technology adapted to each sport.

How is this seasonality challenging the supply chain?

Seasonality in sports can be understood in different ways. On one side, we have the seasons of the year: winter, spring, summer, and autumn and on the other, the different annual competition seasons that differ depending on the sport and the country. Sport brands have to be ready all year aroud, not only to adapt their collections to the different seasons but to also adapt them depending on the beginning of the seasons, playoffs, finals, local and international tournaments, friendly matches, unofficial cups, etc.

Professional athletes are constantly trying new outfits and are regularly changing equipment, which results in new trends and demands among the fans. For example, if Cristiano Ronaldo changes his soccer boots, the market will request them immediately. Only if the brand can react and cover this demand quickly, it is possible to take advantage of the momentum and remain at the top of the consumer’s mind.

Even amateur athletes or those practicing a sport as a hobby are also contributing to these challenges: they want to practice their favourite sport all year long, no matter the weather conditions. Even if the sport is the same, different outfits will be required depending on climate, location and seasons of the year.

Brands need to include “demand sensing” in their logistic flows allowing them to anticipate consumer trends or to follow them closely and to meet market demand each time an athlete breaks a new record or creates a new trend.

The main challenge is the ability to reach the end-user as quickly as possible with the trending product at that time, and this can only be achieved with a perfectly designed and structured end-to-end logistics solution with the right technology to detect any change in consumer behaviour and adapt the logistic flow accordingly. And this is what will give brands a competitive advantage with the end-user and improve their positioning when it comes to sponsorship activities.

Trends in the sports industry and their impact on supply chain

Technology adapted to each sport, the second challenge

Sports industry is continuously evolving- new specialities appear, new star athletes appear or even new trends (such as the #workout from home trend appeared during the pandemic), requiring sports retailers and manufacturers to constantly innovate new products. Most of the time, products are not launched in all countries at the same time or are first tested in more mature markets. However, social media, digital platforms and influencers make products visible everywhere, regardless of the commercialisation strategy, and thanks to global online retailers, fans are able to buy them.

This could be part of the marketing and commercial strategy for brands to test the new products or simply to avoid having inventory excess and being forced to sell off the products at the end of each season. But ... What if we were able to supply the demand with more accuracy in each market in real-time?

The ability to react to each consumer behaviour change in real time would ensure an optimised inventory management and at the same time the right infrastructure in positioning in each of the markets.

Trends in the sports industry and their impact on supply chain

Logistic integration as the best partner for sports & outdoor brands

Making this logistic dream true requires moving the goods with higher accuracy in a matter of units, having a single information platform to detect consumer patterns in each market and developing a connected end-to-end logistic process to react to changes in real-time.

Imagine this example

Goods are shipped from country of origin


Marketing and advertising campaigns start to promote the new products


Thanks to technology, demand is tracked so consumer trends can be detected in the different markets

Considering the interest in each of the markets, goods are redirected to each country while in transit (Hub in transit)

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Market demand is covered with more accuracy and agility

This example represents the perfect combination between logistic infrastructure, demand sensing and an end-to-end solution that can only be achieved with a 100% integrated and simplified supply chain that connects all the players.

Sports and outdoors brands need to find the perfect partner who can create an integrated logistic solution to meet the demand in real-time and in all markets.

Maersk has the largest infrastructure in the world and in the region and also has the most advanced technology in supply chain to become the first logistics integrator in the world.

To learn more about supply chain integration and innovation and how Maersk has capitalised on these challenges to turn them into opportunities in the Sports & Outdoors sub-vertical, get access to the report:

"5 key points for supply chain integration"

  • A single platform for the integration of information
  • Flexibility as a competitive advantage for your brand
  • Agility to predict consumption trends and inventory adaptability
  • End-to-end traceability
  • Sustainable integration

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