Insight into European football consumer trends

SPORT+MARKT’s Football Monitor study of over 3,000 "interested" or "very interested" football fans aged 15-69 conducted towards the end of last year across the five key European markets (UK, France, Italy, Spain and Germany) has found that, in the field of football merchandising, fans claim to have spent approximately €6.9 billion on club-related merchandise within the past 12 months.

Oliver Butler, Communications Manager for SPORT+MARKT, told Asian Football Business Review that the UK has the highest level of spending on club-related merchandise Of the spending habits of different markets, the highest spending market on club-related merchandise by far is the UK, where the average spend in the last 12 months of those surveyed was over €180. When this figure is extrapolated, it means that about €2.7 billion was spent in 2005.

"Next are the French with an average of over €134, but the number of these French fans who spent money on football merchandise was less than half than those in the UK," he said. "The next biggest market was Germany with €1.7 billion."

Scarves and jerseys are the most popular articles of merchandising in Europe with 35 percent or about 44 million fans possessing either of these goods. Next come T-shirts with over 40 million fans saying that they own one.

Young fans have more merchandise, but fans aged 40-49 years spend more Fans aged between 15-34 years are the main age group which own football merchandise with over 37 million such fans. However, this group is not the largest spender of money on club-related merchandise within the last 12 months. Fans aged between 40 and 49 years are the highest spenders among the European fans, having spent €142 on average in the last year on clubrelated merchandise.

Real Madrid and Juventus were the clubs with the most popular merchandise across the five markets surveyed. Both had merchandise owned by over 8m fans, although almost half of Real’s came from abroad, whereas three-quarters of Juventus’s came from its home market. Next in popularity came Barcelona, AC Milan and then Manchester United.

British Market: Jerseys are the most popular article of merchandise in the UK, where almost half of the fans surveyed say they have one. Of the fans of English clubs surveyed who spent money on merchandise, the fans of Arsenal across Europe were the highest spenders spending 11% more than the average European fan. Fans of Barcelona, however, spent around €128, more than Arsenal fans, and outside of the fans of French clubs was the highest. Manchester United was the UK club which had the most merchandise owned by fans. Approximately 3.5 million fans said that they owned a piece of United merchandise. Next came Liverpool, Arsenal and the England national team.

French Market: Jerseys are the most popular item of merchandise in France, where almost half of the fans surveyed say they have one. The French fans are higher spenders than German, Italian or Spanish fans with an average spend of over €134. But the number of French fans who spent money on club-related merchandise in the last year was the lowest of the markets at around 7.1 million and they were the lowest share of fans who owned merchandise (just over half of fans). Olympique de Marseille fans in France were the highest spenders of the selected club fans researched spending over €160 on average in the last 12 months. It was also the club whose merchandise was most popular with over 3 million fans possessing an OM article.

Italian Market: In Italy, where the possession of football merchandise is the lowest among the five markets, scarves are the most popular item but only a quarter of fans say that they have one. Italy was also the market with the highest proportion of fans surveyed who had received their merchandising as a gift. Of the selected club fans surveyed the highest spenders were fans of Internazionale, who spent 20% more than the Italian average. However, Juventus was clearly the club with the most popular merchandise. Approximately six million Italian fans said that they owned a piece of Juve merchandise.

Spanish Market: In Spain, less than one-tenth of fans own a jersey and T-shirts are the most popular item, owned by half of fans. In contrast with other markets, it was the younger fans aged up to 29 years who were the highest spenders, spending over 20% more than the national average in the last 12 months. Both Barca and Real Madrid fans spent more than the average Spanish fan, but Barcelona fans were significantly higher, spending 10% above the average. However, there were more Spanish fans owning Real merchandise, around 4.5 million.

German Market: Scarves are the most popular merchandise article in Germany where almost 15 million fans have one. Bayern were clearly the most popular club in terms of merchandise with close to 7 million fans in Germany owning a Bayern article of merchandise, more than double the next team, Borussia Dortmund. Bayern fans on average spent €122 in the past 12 months, ahead of the German average.

SPORT+MARKT AG ia a leading consultancy specialising in communications research and sponsorship and responsible for innovations such as the Sponsorship Evaluation Tool, the European Naming Rights Evaluation Tool as well as providing a unique service for sponsorship evaluation via new Media Analysis Technology.