Sunday, July 11, 2010

World Cup Fever : The World Cup Is Influencing Consumers

World Cup fever: How the World Cup is influencing consumers
Euromonitor Global Market Research Blog
by the Countries and Consumers team.

As 32 countries battle it out for football's most prized trophy, a unique communal experience is taking place, and consumption plays a key role in it. From the diehard fan who buys a new TV to watch the games on to the World Cup Widow who goes out to dinner with her friends to avoid it, few are left untouched by this month-long homage to the “beautiful game.”

Key trends

• 32 nations compete, but the world watches;
• Too much of a good thing?
• Pushing the next paradigm shift in TV technology;
• World Cup Widows can help sectors that lose out;
• Cynicism or idealism?

Commercial opportunities

The commercial opportunities associated with the World Cup are legion. Among the most prominent are
• Sales of alcoholic drinks receive a huge boost during the
tournament, as many fans like to watch games in bars or with a beer
at home;
• Food sales are also likely to receive a boost as consumers hold
World Cup parties and barbeques. Products like pizzas and fresh meat
will benefit disproportionately;
• Take-away foodservice sales will rise as consumers spend more time
in front of the TV and less in the kitchen;
• Sales of televisions are always boosted by a World Cup, and
manufacturers are looking to this tournament to drive consumer
awareness of emerging 3D technology;
• Sportswear manufacturers and retailers will enjoy higher sales for
football-related items like jerseys and boots;
• The gaming industry will benefit from a surge in gambling on the


Pick your favourite cliché: Brazilian flair, Argentine indiscipline; German efficiency, Portuguese petulance; Italian cynicism, English grit, Dutch technique, Spanish gusto, Cameroonian naivety or even North Korean inscrutability. For the month of June, they (and 22 other nations) will be competing in the football World Cup in South Africa. For the winners, immortality beckons; For the losers, at best obscurity, at worst infamy.

It is only a slight exaggeration to say that some football fans would sell their grandmother to see their country crowned world champions: A survey conducted by financial services group ING in Portugal (the poorest country in Western Europe) found that the average consumer would willingly contribute US$450 in exchange for victory.

Given the stakes, it is unsurprising that the event has a huge economic impact. The feelgood factor generated by Germany hosting the event in 2006 gave a significant boost to the country's economic growth that year, and South Africa is hoping for a similar effect this time. However, the World Cup's impact on consumers goes well beyond the host nation, as consumers worldwide will be eating pizza and burgers and guzzling beer as they settle down to watch games on shiny new TVs.

32 nations compete, but the world watches

With the possible exception of the USA, where “soccer” has generally failed to capture the national sporting consciousness, there are few corners of the world that will be untouched by the World Cup, even among countries lacking a tradition in the sport. In this sense, football, like music, in an international language.

A survey conducted by Nielsen during March 2010 found that 55% of Asian consumers intended to follow the tournament, even though just 28% said they were football fans. Indeed, the largest proportion of the global TV audience is likely to be in east, south and south-east Asia. In Hong Kong (where many of the matches will take place in the early hours of the morning), one chain of shopping centres is setting up big screens and inviting fans to bring sleeping bags and “camp out” while watching games.

Too much of a good thing?

The World Cup can be depended on to provide a significant boost to sales of convenience food like pizzas and burgers, as well as food for barbeques and alcoholic drinks. Data from trade body ELBEX show the highest four-week period of sales of meat products in the UK during the last five years was during the 2006 World Cup. Research conducted by Loughborough University during spring 2010 suggests that 10% of English fans will drink at least 20 cans and 20 pints of beer during the World Cup, while one in seven will eat at least ten pizzas.
According to Euromonitor International data, growth in beer consumption spiked in several countries during the year of the previous World Cup (2006):