The trends in football merchandise for 2018

2018 is coming closer. For our company a very interesting year with the World Cup. Traditionally, a large group of people change into fanatical fans during the World Cups and European Cups, to return to a 23 months drought of football after the tournament . During that particular month, the group is wearing the most colorfoul outfits of their country. Often even more colorfoul so than the fans of the football clubs, who visit all matches of their club during the whole year.

Such a new group of customers is nice to have, but of course we are more interested in the fans who follow their favorite clubs throughout the whole season. The latter group expects their club to offer an extensive and diverse range of fan articles each year. Just like in every sector, it is necessary to constantly renew, to follow the latest trends, and of course everything has to be done quickly. These are challenges we are happy to pick up

In our more than 5 years of experience (more than 10 years if you count the years as fanshop managers) we learned to respond to those trends. We are confident that we have a good idea of ​​where sports merchandise, and especially football merchandise, will go on in the next few years. Therefore, we list some trends here.

The most important trend is no doubt the individually personalized items. Supporters have been able to buy their favorite club’s jersey for years and have a name and number printed on it. That is often the name of a favorite player, but can also be their own name or even a ludic nickname. But there it usually stops, other items can only be bought ready-made. But what if you could add a personal touch to pillows, mugs, cell phone cases and so many other products?

We believe that more and more clubs will offer this. The equipment for making this is expensive, takes up a lot of space and requires some technical knowledge. Therefore, these items will not be offered in the physical shop, but via the webshop and through a third party that sends everything directly to the end customer. You already see all the major European and American sports clubs offer it, but soon smaller clubs can do this too.

We talked about the webshop, which immediately brings us to the second trend. At first it is surprising that online sales at smaller clubs are rather marginal. This is because a fan article is very often an impulse purchase, which is done in the club’s physical fanshop. However, keeping a shop, especially outside of match days, is an expensive matter that many clubs would rather save on. A well-run webshop takes up much less costs. Therefore, clubs are promoting the webshop more and more, with special actions, but also with items that are only available on the webshop, such as the previously mentioned personalized articles.

A third trend we see are auctions. Again this is an online phenomenon. A signed football boot, the ball which was used for a winning goal or a retro shirt from the 80’s, it’s all possible. In football there are a lot of collectors and they often have a big budget for these items. However, it does not have to be about money, which can go to a charity. Auctions create fun content for the social media, and they create engagement with the fans.

The latest trend we want to discuss is responding to specific events. This is not about hypes, like the fidget spinners this year, but about memorable moments at the club. Opening a new stadium, attracting a top player, winning a cup final, or more tragic, the death of an ex-player. A concrete example? In the 2015-2016 season, the goalkeeper of KV Mechelen Jean-François Gillet stopped 3 penalty shots in the game against Anderlecht. Obviously a very rare achievement. We brought out some t-shirts to commemorate this memorable day, and they sold like hot cakes!

Looking for tips to increase the sale of fan items? Are your fans not totally satisfied? Contact us quickly and we will be happy to assist you with the right advice.

How to choose the correct scarf?

There are many types of scarf available, and it’s not always easy to choose. There are different types of material, different possibilities with regards to designs, and of course different price categories.

We believe there are 3 things that will determine which scarf you have to choose: the type of event, your design and your budget.

Let’s start with the type of event. If you’re selling scarves for an outdoor sport, your fans will want the scarves to have a functional value, i.e. to keep them warm. Therefore for a football or rugby game you will want a knitted scarf. There are still various options, namely the standard jacquard scarf, the HD Deluxe scarf and the block scarf. Our favourite is the HD Deluxe scarf, as you will be able to make beautiful scarves with it. But if you’re building out a fairly large fanshop (let’s say you’re selling at least 500 scarves a year), we recommend you to propose the 3 types of scarves to your fans. You can even have several designs per type of scarf, in order to have a wide range. As you know, everyone has a different taste.

Indoor sports are a difficult one. Obviously you don’t need a warm scarf inside, or the must be something wrong with the heating system. But your fans might want to wear the scarves outside as well. If the latter is true, we recommend the same scarves as we did earlier. If your fans will only use the scarves in the arena, we recommend printed scarves. These are thinner than the knitted scarves and will therefore not be too hot inside. Printed scarves are literally printed like a piece of paper, so you can print virtually anything without any limitations in amount of colours. This gives you the opportunity to print a photo for example, which is nearly impossible with a knitted scarf.

You’ve probably seen the half-and-half scarves in the shops around the stadium. These are scarves that are made for 1 specific game only, and contain the colours, name and logo of both teams, generally separated halfway. We generally recommend a woven scarf for this type of scarf. Woven scarves can contain a lot of details, which can be necessary if the logos are very detailed. Woven scarves can also have a lot of different colours, which is obviously necessary if both teams have distinctive colours.

The last type of event we’d like to discuss is a promotional event. These don’t necessarily have to be related to a sports event, it can be e.g. a political event, a manifestation or a company event. Generally you need large quantities, and they are given away for free. Therefore we recommend the printed scarves. For large quantities these will be the most economic. We can make them in small dimensions in order to save even more on costs.

Your design is important in the sense that we need to see how detailed it is. As explained above, if you want a picture on your scarf, you will need a printed scarf. Other scarves can also contain pictures, but they will be very pixelated. A detailed logo doesn’t mean you need a printed scarf, this can be solved with an embroidery or an patch that is embroidered to the scarf.

Finally your budget can determine the scarf you need. We obviously recommend you to offer quality scarves to your fans if you’re selling them. But for events where the scarves are handed out for free, e.g. by a sponsor, we usually recommend printed or woven scarves. These will be a lot cheaper in larger quantities.

We’ll be happy to advice you. We can help with the design of your scarf and even send you some samples if you need these to make a decision. We’re here to help!