With the Olympic and Paralympic Games on the horizon for July 2024, the global spotlight extends beyond athletes to the sportswear brands that wear them. Now that athletic aesthetics permeate our everyday life—beyond gym walls, studio spaces, or yoga studios—brands must evaluate their standing in the global market.
This evaluation is more important than ever, considering that the global sportswear market surged to $319.4 billion USD in 2022 and is projected to exceed $450 billion USD by 2028, according to Statista. The driving force behind this market spike is a growth in fitness-conscious consumers seeking suitable attires for their physical pursuits. The influence of sports in marketing is unmistakable, with collaborations between Influencers and brands acting as a powerful Voice to broader audiences, elevating brand awareness and credibility.
In this landscape, leveraging the right channel can make or break a campaign. Instagram, with its 2 billion monthly users, is truly a hotspot for sportswear inspiration. Crafting a successful Instagram strategy is just as important today as other platforms, being still the key platform to drive performance for the industry. As our Launchmetrics x Lyst Beyond Followers report highlights, even amidst all social media platforms, Instagram still stands as the top-performer in the Fashion, Lifestyle, and Beauty (FLB) landscape.
The fact that Instagram still stands as a marketing powerhouse for fashion and sportswear brands is undeniable. With a user base surpassing the population of some countries, the platform has become a must in the marketing game for brands. In this blog, we deep dive into the strategies employed by 10 sportswear brands and how they’re currently harnessing the potential of Instagram, leveraging voices from Influencers, Celebrities, Owned media, Partners, and Media for PR and marketing campaigns.
In this article you’ll learn…
Decoding the Performance of 10 Sportswear Brands on Instagram
In this analysis, we selected ten sportswear brands that demonstrated varying degrees of overall brand performance success during the period from January to October 2023. Recognizing Instagram's potential for extensive brand outreach, it's essential to understand that a standard strategy is not a guaranteed path to success.
Take Gymshark and Peloton Apparel, as illustrated in Figure 1. Gymshark stands out with an impressive $229M in overall Media Impact Value™ (MIV®), including a substantial $160M from Instagram through 9.0K placements. Examining the Voice Mix Benchmark (refer to Figure 2), Gymshark's Instagram voice mix closely mirrors that of Peloton Apparel. Both exhibit a significant Influencer slice, a robust Owned Media foundation, and a minor yet noteworthy Celebrity input.
However, the contrast arises when we deep dive into the specific MIV® generated. While Gymshark secured a MIV® of $229M, Peloton Apparel garnered a total MIV® of $2.5M. From Instagram alone, Gymshark showcased $160M across 9.0K placements, whereas Peloton Apparel, with 457 placements, accumulated just about $2.0M. To achieve a comparable total MIV®, Peloton Apparel would need approximately 20 times their current number of placements.
The difference in these figures highlight the necessity of tailoring Instagram strategies to each brand's unique characteristics and audiences. Success comes from finding the right Voice to complement the chosen channel, ensuring that the campaign resonates effectively with the target audience. It's more than just reading metrics like likes and comments, which, on their own, may not yield direct results.
Optimizing Instagram Strategies for Sportswear Brands
Examining the ranking of the ten sportswear brands, it's important to note the difference between the overall MIV® and the MIV® specifically attributed to Instagram. The total MIV® encompasses all social media posts and articles related to specific search queries, along with consumer interactions like tags and comments. This metric not only provides insights into a brand's Instagram performance relative to its overall performance but also facilitates comparisons with other brands in the sportswear industry. These insights can be instrumental in identifying growth opportunities and fine-tuning strategies to maximize impact.
Moreover, delving into the Voice Mix—a metric revealing the percentage of exposure to different voices like Media, Influencers, Celebrities, Partners, and Owned Media—offers a strategic understanding of each brand's communication dynamics. This knowledge becomes important in discerning how, for example, certain brands harness Celebrity influence for heightened brand visibility, the rise of Influencers driving trends, and the establishment of a robust Owned Media presence—all channeled through Instagram.
For brands seeking to replicate success, a good understanding of the Voice Mix provides a starting point towards success when it comes to leveraging Instagram. It guides them in optimizing their approach, ensuring a balanced split of the right Celebrity, Influencer, and Owned Media Voices for your brand.
Harnessing Celebrity Influence for Sportswear Triumph
When it comes to Instagram, Celebrity endorsements wield substantial influence, particularly with sportswear brands. Each brand showcased standout performances, but the distinct strategies employed by Gymshark, Athleta, Salomon, Fabletics, and Le Coq Sportif in harnessing Celebrity influence on Instagram emerge as pivotal factors in shaping brand narratives. Whether emphasizing authenticity, global resonance, or regional entries, these brands highlight the impact of Celebrity collaborations in the digital age.
Gymshark's success in leveraging Celebrity influence is evident as the Voice generated $10.5M in MIV® across 313 placements. Notably, American singer-songwriter Kehlani Ashley Parrish emerged as a standout collaborator, amassing $759K in MIV®. Her endorsement on May 31st, coupled with a heartfelt fitness journey narrative, exemplifies the potential of authentic representation. High-profile athletes like British gymnast Nile Wilson and mixed martial artist and boxer Francis Ngannou further solidified Gymshark's top position.
Athleta also strategically harnessed Celebrity influence, accumulating $2.2M in MIV® across 137 placements. The collaboration with renowned American singer Alicia Keys proved highly impactful, reaching a peak MIV® of $320K. Additionally, the brand's partnership with Olympic gymnast Simone Biles showcased the brand's commitment to diverse and influential endorsers, resulting in a top MIV® of $287K. Dancer Nia Sioux also contributed to the brand's versatility, illustrating the broader reach of Celebrity endorsement.
Salomon, a French sportswear brand, demonstrated the global appeal of Celebrity endorsements, amassing $1.9M in MIV® across 178 placements. Noteworthy placements in the APAC region included collaborations with Japanese actress and fashion model Honda Tsubasa, South Korean singer Yesung, and Taiwanese singer Jolin Tsai. Furthermore, the brand's successful engagement with athletes like Sven Thorgren and Marco Odermatt emphasized the effectiveness of sports partnerships in amplifying brand visibility.
Fabletics also successfully tapped into Celebrity endorsements, accumulating $1.8M in MIV® across 75 placements. The brand's collaboration with American singer Normani garnered significant attention, generating an impressive $395K in MIV®. Not to forget, Kevin Hart’s reels generated a lot of buzz too with the top post generating $350K in MIV®. The strategic partnership with Khloe Kardashian actually prospered on Kris Jenner’s Instagram feed, further exemplifying the brand's ability to leverage Celebrity influence, with her top endorsement reaching $258K. Actress and content creator Nazanin Kavari added a unique dimension, showcasing the brand's versatility in engaging an Influencer Celebrity.
Le Coq Sportif
French brand Le Coq Sportif showcased success worldwide, amassing $1.0M in MIV® across 94 placements. Japanese actress and fashion model Elaiza Ikeda emerged as a standout Celebrity partner, contributing $76.3K in MIV®. Notable sports figures, including French judo practitioner Clarisse Agbegnenou and Argentine tennis player Sebastian Baez, further solidified the brand's global influence. In this landscape, the power of authentic Celebrity endorsements is undeniable.
The integration of Celebrities from diverse backgrounds, beyond traditional sports figures, highlights the nuanced approach required to harness Celebrity influence effectively. With the Olympic games coming up this Summer, these strategic partnerships not only elevate brand visibility but also resonate with a broad spectrum of audiences, showcasing the potential of Celebrity endorsements in shaping the narrative of sportswear brands on Instagram.
The Rise of Influencers Driving Sportswear Brands Trends
Influencers wield an unparalleled impact on consumers, seamlessly blurring the lines between activewear and loungewear while effortlessly sponsoring sportswear brands in diverse settings. This transformative trend is vividly exemplified by brands like Gymshark, Fabletics, Salomon, Beyond Yoga, and Columbia Sportswear, each navigating the digital realm with strategic Influencer collaborations.
Gymshark's recognition of the enduring rise of Influencers manifests in its $99.8M in MIV® across 7.6K placements on Instagram. The brand's top Influencer, Miranda Cohen, leads the charge with a remarkable $636K in MIV® from a compelling reel. This dynamic approach extends with Ethan Payne, aka Behzinga, contributing significantly with a sponsored feature that generated $376K.
Fabletics also embraces the Influencer wave, accumulating $18.1M in MIV® across 2.2K placements. Noteworthy placements by Eniko Hart, Draya Michele, and Fabletics ambassador Ashley Alexander showcase the brand's commitment to leveraging diverse personalities. Eniko Hart's post, generating $158K in MIV®, stands out as a testament to the effectiveness of partnering with high-profile Influencers.
Salomon reiterates the impact of Influencers, generating $10.4M in MIV® across 2.6K placements. The brand experiences a surge in the sheer number of placements, emphasizing a strategy of widespread collaboration. Notably, model and Influencer Abbie Herbert's post in the Americas leads with a substantial $290K in MIV®, showcasing the versatility of Influencers in diverse geographic regions.
Beyond Yoga taps into the potential of the Influencer Voice, accumulating $2.2M in MIV® across 397 placements. Internet personality Malvika Sheth takes center stage with a reel subtly featuring Beyond Yoga products, generating an impactful $152K in MIV®. American model Olivia Culpo adds to the brand's success with a celebratory post garnering $95.7K in MIV®.
Columbia Sportswear leverages Influencer marketing, accumulating $2.1M in MIV® across 575 placements. Micah Weber emerges as a top-performing Influencer, contributing $84.5K in MIV®, followed closely by Natalie Downey, whose engaging Instagram post generates $76.3K in MIV®. Ambassador Bubba Wallace, a renowned American motorsports racing driver, significantly boosts brand visibility with impactful placements.
Influencers prove to be a dynamic force, contributing to the reshaping of sportswear trends on Instagram. From Gymshark's fitness-focused authenticity to Fabletics' diverse collaborations and Salomon's prolific outreach, each brand strategically leverages the Influencer Voice. Beyond Yoga and Columbia Sportswear further underscore the power of subtle elegance and strategic partnerships. In this digital era, Influencers emerge as catalysts in driving sportswear trends, fostering authentic connections, and propelling brands to new heights of visibility.
A Strong Owned Media Foundation to Propel Brands to Excellence
A strong Owned Media presence can serve as a real foundation for fostering brand loyalty. The strategic interplay of Owned Media campaigns, Influencer and Celebrity Voices, and trend integration on platforms like Instagram paves the way for unparalleled brand visibility and engagement. Examining the top performers in harnessing Owned Media, Gymshark, Fabletics, Salomon, Le Coq Sportif, and Athleta showcase how a cohesive strategy can propel sportswear brands to excellence.
Gymshark takes the lead with a resounding $49.7M in MIV® across 947 placements, underlining the power of a strong Owned Media strategy. Embracing popular trends, a standout post taps into the pink Barbie hype, featuring fitness Influencers James Beardwell and Guusje van Geel, generating significant engagement. Another ingenious post, employing a cross-Influencer and Owned Media strategy, humorously addresses promoting their pre-workout, garnering $283K in MIV®.
Fabletics strategically integrates Celebrity Voices into its Owned Media approach, yielding a substantial $32.9K in MIV® from its top post. Collaborating with Khloe Kardashian, the brand showcases its collection, effectively blending Celebrity endorsement with Owned Media visibility. A secondary post featuring Fabletics ambassador Draya Michele reinforces the brand's commitment to diverse and influential partnerships, amassing $30.2K in MIV®.
Salomon maintains its prominence with a total MIV® of $2.4M across 269 placements, highlighting the impact of a playful and collaborative Owned Media strategy. Featuring Ouka, the fluffy flying dog, in an Instagram reel, the brand seamlessly integrates entertainment into its Owned Media feed, generating $33.8K in MIV®. The collaboration with running fitness Influencer Anaïs Quemener further solidifies Salomon's commitment to partnering with relevant Influencers, amassing $31.3K in MIV®.
Le Coq Sportif
Le Coq Sportif strategically taps into key sporting events, amassing $1.8M in MIV® across 251 placements. The brand's collaboration with the French rugby team proved instrumental, with the top post promoting the team during a key event generating $76.0K in MIV®. Sponsoring the team not only elevates the brand's visibility domestically but also on the global stage, leveraging the international event to maximum effect.
Athleta secures its position with a total MIV® of $1.2M across 219 placements, showcasing the potential of the Celebrity Voice in Owned Media. The top placement featuring gymnastics icon Simone Biles celebrates her achievements with a powerful caption, "8 All-Around Titles, 25 World Championship Medals, 10 Years of Competition, Because she can," accumulating $13.6K in MIV®. A secondary post with the same empowering motto generates an additional $7.5K in MIV®.
The brands above highlight the influence of a strong Owned Media foundation, demonstrating the art of seamlessly blending trends, cross-Voice strategies, Celebrity collaborations, and key event sponsorships. As sportswear brands navigate how to successfully leverage Instagram, a well-crafted Owned Media strategy emerges as a key milestone, propelling them to new heights of visibility, engagement, and ultimately, excellence.
Benchmarking your Brand’s Instagram Performance
Understanding your sportswear brand's performance is essential to succeed today. Do you want to uncover the full details of your brand's performance on Instagram? To see how your brand stands against competitors and where it holds room for enhancement? The key lies in taking a deeper dive into your brand's performance analytics.
By analyzing these insights, you can pinpoint areas for improvement, fine-tune your strategies, and pave the way for unparalleled success. So, if this snapshot of the brand performance analysis has picked your interest, take the next step by clicking the link below.
Ready to unlock the full potential of your sportswear brand? Begin your benchmarking journey now by clicking on the link below.