1.1.1. Market Characteristics:
- Market Potential:
During the past few years major footwear and clothing brands like Reebok and Puma, and more recently, adidas and Nike, have been moving into the cricket market. Reebok was the official technical sponsor of the 2011 ICC World Cup and adidas clothes the Proteas, English and Australian teams. Nike featured prominently on the sleeves of the Indian team shirts. Some of the top players who had been in action at the World Cup use bats from brands more associated with athletic tracks or soccer fields than cricket pitches. These include the likes of Sachin Tendulkar using an adidas bat, and World Cup Man of the Series Yuvraj Singh using Reebok. Many other top players were sponsored by brands such as Puma and Nike. The sports brands have been supplying cricket clothing and footwear for many years, but the recent movement into hardware is a new innovation. Puma has been selling bats for a few years and adidas have been testing the market, but SA will only now be seen as a serious target for these brands. These big brands have the benefit that they need no introduction and are immediately recognised by consumers. Youngsters think they are cool. A company like New Balance is already well recognised and well respected in the sports apparel market, mainly with shoes. Brand recognition will be high amongst consumers and with the growing number of clothing and footwear brands entering the market; it seems the logical decision for New Balance to seek the potential this market can provide.
- History of Market:
Australia, England, India, New Zealand, Pakistan, South Africa, Sri Lanka, and West Indies are the main centers of the cricket sales industry. Kenya, Canada, Netherlands, Bangladesh, and Zimbabwe are the emerging markets. In these main markets, the traditional cricket brands have been the trendsetters for many years in the cricket equipment market which is highly specialized and technical. Mike Hermanson, owner of Sports Horizons, who claims to have 70% share of the cricket specialist retail market says that there has been little change of the past four years to alter that pattern. Traditional brands are outperforming the global brand names in the local retail market. Although there are no figures to support this, retailers claim that the traditional brands own arguably more than 80% of the top-end, top quality market. Traditional brands have the edge because they are generally very good marketers, they understand the complexity of the game and that each player has different requirements from their equipment. Gunn & Moore for example, has introduced computerised cutting machines for all of their bats. Gunn & Moore is the best performer in terms of sales at Sport Horizons and is comfortably ahead of the rest of the pack, says owner Hermanson. Interestingly though, Puma recently became his second best selling brand. Pierre Bester of Brian’s Sports in P.E agrees that the traditional cricket brands like Gunn & Moore and Kookaburra outperform the general sports brands in terms of his sales. The Eastern Cape manufactures the B&S brand of equipment which also sells well. But again, adidas, Nike, and Puma have begun to sell bats because of their strong brand-names and selling power. The traditional brands, it is predicted, will be preferred by customers for a while still as they are thought of as the specialists. But fashion, high cost endorsements and good marketing should attract more consumers for the other sports brands to establish themselves in the market. Cricket is a specialist sport like golf and it would take some time before the big sport brands would really penetrate the market. But as with golf, market predictors see that the sport could be dominated by the general sports brands in the future. For the specialist cricket brands to survive will require all their industry knowledge, experience and passion. - Level of...