Winter did not put fitness craze on ice

Spring is just around the corner and with the weather warming up – and coinciding with a welcome loosening of lockdown restrictions – many fashion and fitness brands will be expecting to cater to a growing number of consumers looking to get their fitness fix over the coming weeks and months.

If there’s one thing we’ve learned over the past year, it’s that consumer behaviour can be entirely unpredictable – including when it comes to fitness regimes. For instance, despite widespread reports that the latest winter lockdown prompted people’s exercise levels to drop, some of our latest data insights suggested that, for some, this lockdown winter could have been a driving force for them to ramp up their existing regimes to the next level. Read the full report here

So, although we can predict an uplift in consumer interest in exercise equipment and clothing as we move into Spring, what the exact trends will look like, when they’ll happen, and who will be in market are still questions yet to be answered – especially as restrictions change. And, to keep up with these evolving preferences, generic, ‘off the shelf’ marketing just won’t do any more.

Taking the guesswork out of the game

For brands looking to make meaningful connections with exercise enthusiasts over the coming months — whatever the weather or restrictions — fresh data is key. The lifeblood of marketing, fresh, real-time insights provide an extremely powerful tool for brands to get a glimpse into the changing wants and needs of consumers at any given moment and allow brands to target them with marketing messages that are truly relevant to their interests, mood and context — from one moment to the next.

Indeed, at a time when, more than ever, brands can’t afford to waste money serving ads to audiences that won’t be interested in them, fresh data is fast becoming the status quo. Not only does it mean that brands can wave goodbye to guesswork, it also signals an end to the days when brands unknowingly follow online shoppers around with irrelevant content – such as that pair of running trainers they already bought yesterday.

Instead, by harnessing fresh data that takes into account real-time interest signals, brands can engage with audiences who they previously might have overlooked when relying on historical behavioural data. For instance, with the pandemic impacting how people were able to work out in 2020, 31% of Brits took up a new sport or form of exercise in 2020 – defying historical habits or behaviour. In a world where people can do unexpected things, fresh data insights can lift the lid on behavioural changes as they happen and allow brands to capitalise on new, burgeoning trends.

What does this mean for advertisers?

Not only does fresh data help brands build trust and affinity with their customers, it also means they can use smart marketing to enhance the shopping experience, meaning customers are more likely to purchase again in the future — a win-win for everyone.

The past year has been one full of change and upheaval, with consumer behaviours becoming more unpredictable than ever. So, even as we gradually exit lockdown and hopefully get some normality back in our lives, the winners will be the brands that keep their ear to the ground, nimbly track growing trends and engage consumers with the content that’s most relevant to them in the moment — come sun, rain or snow.

This report was published in Direct Commerce on 24 Mar 2021. Read the full article here