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2020 Was a Monumental Year for Sporting Goods on Google Ads

While gyms across the U.S. shut down and consumers were stuck at home, sporting goods retailers thrived online. Shoppers were eager to bring the gym home and embrace healthy lifestyles during a stressful and uncertain time. As a result, sporting goods retailers on Google Ads saw return on ad spend (ROAS) increase 22% year over year for shopping ads and 43% year over year for paid search ads, according to the 2021 Benchmarks Report.

“The sporting goods industry flourished during the pandemic,” says Sandie Shin, Director of Customer Strategy for Strategic Accounts at Sidecar. “In 2020, smaller brands saw massive growth in new customer acquisition. The increased popularity in home workouts and sporting equipment accelerated online penetration for most retailers in the sector along with sportswear. The incredibly high demand for sporting goods reflects in substantially higher ROAS and lower CPAs year over year.”

“The incredibly high demand for sporting goods can be seen in substantially higher ROAS and lower CPAs year over year.” – Sandie Shin, Director of Customer Strategy for Strategic Accounts, Sidecar

The 2021 Benchmarks report analyzed hundreds of U.S. retailers’ accounts across Google Ads, Facebook, Instagram, and Amazon to understand how online retailers performed in 2020 and identify key benchmarks for 16 retail segments.

Increased Conversions Drive Google Shopping Revenue Gains

On Google Shopping, sporting goods retailers experienced a 5% increase in conversions year over year and a 19% decline in cost-per-click (CPC). Those factors helped retailers increase ROAS 22% year over year, averaging 5.16 in 2020.

Rising AOV Powers Growth in Google Paid Search

In paid search, ROAS gains were significantly higher due to a significant decline in CPCs and increase in average order value (AOV). In 2020 Sporting Goods retailers saw AOV increase 18% year over year, averaging $146.91. Only Computer & Electronics (34%) and Book/Music/Video (210%) retail segments outstripped that AOV growth.

What to Watch in 2021

Now that sporting goods online retailers have rapidly expanded their customer base, it will be interesting to see how they can keep these customers engaged in 2021 as gyms and fitness classes reopen. Retailers should focus on creating a positive customer experience online. In addition, they should look to providing added incentives to return to site, such as rewards programs, discounts, or online fitness instruction. 

Get more industry benchmarks for sporting goods on Google Ads in the complete 2021 Benchmarks Report. The report covers key KPIs discussed here, plus YoY growth; performance data for Facebook, Instagram, and Amazon; and month-by-month benchmarks for 2020. This report is an invaluable tool to understand how you stack up against your peers and uncover new opportunities for growth.