June 2017 Update

In this edition of the ASGA Update you’ll find articles about:


GlobalData Logo   

Rising obesity boosting plus-size womenswear market

One in every £5 spent on womenswear in the UK this year will be spent on plus size garments, according to research and consulting firm GlobalData.

According to a media release, the company’s latest report reveals that rising obesity levels have powered market growth, with more retailers recognizing that size 18+ females were underserved. Due to retailer investment in new ranges, wider choice and improved accessibility online, plus size expenditure has been boosted by £800m since 2012.

The NHS’s Health Survey for England found that 26.8 per cent of females were either obese or morbidly obese in 2015, with obesity among 16 – 24 year olds increasing sharply from 12.9 per cent in 2014 to 15.9 per cent in 2015. These trends have prompted non-specialists such as boohoo.com, River Island and Quiz to launch plus size ranges, encouraged by the opportunity to sell online garments in bigger sizes which do not garner sufficient sales to justify space instore.

Lead Retail Analyst at GlobalData, Kate Ormrod, said “With improved availability and choice, plus-size shoppers are better catered for than ever before. The overall investment in ranges has brought them up to par with core womenswear propositions in terms of regular newness and fashionability, and is helping to drive up purchase frequency and therefore spend.”

The full report can be purchased on the GlobalData website.


Uni Arizona Logo   

Exercise should be a ‘core academic subject’

Daily exercise for school children is so important that physical education should be made a “core academic subject,” says a new report from the University of Arizona.

University of Arizona professor Scott Going, a co-author of the report, says that physical health is so important to the overall health, development and academic success for children that schools should play a primary role in ensuring an adequate level of activity.

In a media release, Professor Going said “We need to make physical education a core subject, just like math and English and science,” says Going, professor of nutritional sciences and interim head of the department of nutritional sciences.

“We felt so strongly that it’s important for kids to get it for their physical health, for their mental health, that they should get it at school so that all kids have a chance of meeting the recommendation.”

The report calls on the U.S. Department of Education to craft a consistent nationwide policy to help reverse the trend since 2001’s No Child Left Behind Act that has had schools cutting time from recess and physical education to focus on standardized tests.

“The intention of the study is to analyze the evidence and make a very clear recommendation that hopefully influences policy,” Going says.

“Our great hope is that we would create this habit in kids, and they’d want to sustain it and receive all the health benefits that physical activity has to offer.”  

The report, which its authors hope will influence education policy at the local as well as national level, says students should have opportunities to engage in at least 60 minutes per day of vigorous or moderate-intensity physical. Taking a broad view of the school day, the report’s authors include before- and after-school programs like active transportation, sports and clubs as a way to boost activity.  

The study, “Educating the Student Body: Taking Physical Activity and Physical Education to School,” was sponsored by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and is available through the National Academies Press online.

To read more about the study please click through to the media release on the University’s website.



Sport needs to be more collaborative

An article on the Sports Management website discusses why the UK sport sector must collaborate to head off the competition posed by other leisure activities for people’s time.

Talking at the Why Sport? Conference in London, Peter Fitzboydon, the outgoing chief executive of London Sport, said that organisations such as national (sporting) governing bodies should adopt a “collective bargaining” strategy like the arts sector to entice people to sport.

“All the different providers are competing against each other for attention,” he said.

“This really came to a head when I was at a consultation meeting recently with some big national governing bodies and we we’re asking who their competitors are. They were pointing at each other, which is a ridiculous thing to say.”

Claiming that even the banking sector was more collaborative than public sector sport, Fitzboydon added “What we need to do figuratively is do what the arts do very well – collective bargaining. ‘It’s us against them, It’s us against shopping’.”

“Why aren’t we working together to market and promote what we do as oppose to them [other leisure activities]. If the [sports] market is bigger, ultimately we all benefit from it.”

Fitzboydon use a Deloitte’s 2016 report A Passion for Leisure to illustrate his point.

With the report showing that the leisure industry had grown at twice the speed of retail over the last five years, he said the perception that people didn’t have enough time for leisure didn’t stack up.

However, while leisure offerings such as sport and physical activity, eating out and going on holiday had stagnated over that period, the growth had come from people spending time streaming videos and using online services.

As well as greater collaboration, he said the sector needed to be more creative, and put into practice more streamlined online booking operations for sport and physical activity to make it as easy as booking a hotel or flight.

Please read the full article on the Sports Management website.


Fung Global Logo   

Bringing ultra-fast fashion to market

A new report by Fung Global Retail and Tech suggests original ‘fast fashion’ pioneers like H&M and Zara are being left in the dust by newer rivals like Boohoo and Missguided.

According to a statement on their website, the new crop of online fast-fashion retailers is proving highly adept at rapidly responding to consumers’ increasing demands for immediacy and constant newness, in turn driving their rapid sales growth and success.

Boohoo.com, ASOS and Missguided are now able to produce merchandise in 2–4 weeks, compared to 5 weeks for Zara and H&M and the 6- to 9-month cycle for traditional retailers.

The fashion design process is faster than it has ever been, due to the digital revolution. It is much easier for retailers to copy or obtain design inspiration from fashion runways and digital influencers.

Social media is now a key tool informing sourcing strategy because it provides data on emerging and popular trends and styles. Pure-play online fast-fashion retailers are able to continuously refresh and rotate a large part of their assortments to drive customer shopping frequency. For example, Boohoo and ASOS add up to 100 and 4,500 products daily to their website, respectively.

Ultrafast fashion retailers also avoid the historical retailer dilemma of product shortages versus excessive inventory, and ensuing markdowns and lower margins. Ultrafast apparel retailers operate agile supply chains to quickly match inventory supply with changing demand and strictly control inventory to create a balance between undersupply and markdowns.

Initial designs are made in small batches to test demand, and, if successful, more items are quickly produced. The sourcing businesses target selling goods at full prices and reduced markdowns, hence fast-fashion retailers have much lower markdown levels than traditional retailers.

To download the report please visit the Fung Global Retail and Tech website.


ASC logo   

Active kids benefit from active parents

New data released by the Australian Sports Commission (ASC) highlights the strong link between physically active parents and their children, reinforcing that parents have an important influence on their child’s physical development.

The key AusPlay findings show the degree to which children’s participation varies depending on the involvement of the parent:

  • it’s nearly 90 percent if at least one parent is physically active and volunteers in sport;
  • it’s more than 60 percent when at least one parent is physically active (but doesn’t volunteer in sport);
  • it’s down to 50 per cent when the parent is not involved as a player or volunteer.

In a media release, ASC Chief Executive Kate Palmer said: “This data really highlights what important sporting role models parents are for their children. The physical literacy of our children is declining and that threatens to damage the physical and mental health of our future generations.”

“Parents can take an important step and it begins at home. By being more active you can improve your own health, but you will also be influencing your children to develop a love of sport and set them on the path to a more active and healthy lifestyle.”

AusPlay is a national population tracking survey funded and led by the ASC. The inaugural results from this continuous survey were first released in December last year and the ASC will release new AusPlay trend data every six months in April and October. AusPlay is a key plank in the ASC’s Play.Sport.Australia. strategy, which aims to get more Australians participating in organised sport more often.

AusPlay is collecting the sport and physical recreation data of adults and children together for the first time. AusPlay will help the sport sector and government better understand the relationship between the activity habits of children and their parents. The ASC is working closely with stakeholders, including Government and National Sporting Organisations, to make the most of the data generated from the survey and for the benefit of the sport sector at large.

For more information please see the media release on the Commission’s website.


Inside Retail Logo   

Big Data vs your data

In an opinion article on Inside Retail, author Arani Satgunaseelan discusses how retailers should look to their own wealth of customer data before worrying about ‘big data’.

During the 1990s, creation of data was spurred by the first super-computer being built and more devices being connected to the internet. However it’s only in recent years that extracting and storing data has become so accessible that almost anyone is able to find free solutions to keep data related to their business and draw insight.

According to IBM Research, 90 per cent of the data in the world today was created in the last two years alone. There literally is so much more data now that we have leapt into the buzzword world of ‘big data’.

And as accessibility to data has increased, more people are realising that data is not just numbers used for monthly reporting.

Take an example of a shop that sells widgets – in today’s world, this shop does not need to be a large corporate to use its own data to generate more sales. For this shop sales are generated from customers and they can record that a:

  • Customer purchases a specific:
    • Product; at a specific
    • Price; with a specific
    • Volume; at a specific
    • Time during the day; at a specific
    • Time during the year.

Further, the shop assistant might be able to keep notes on the customer in a structured format. The shop assistant has defined descriptions to choose from for each customer (eg. Old, Middle-Aged, Young). The shop assistant will have biases, however you are going from a position of having ‘gut feels’ about your customer to specific knowledge.

Also note that the data is not necessarily numbers. The key thing is that it’s ‘structured’ – each bit of data can fit into a pile without any thought.

To read more please click through to the article on Inside Retail.


Medical News Today Logo   

Happiness key to maintaining exercise motivation

A new report published in the journal BMC Public Health suggests that focusing on exercise that makes them happy, rather than focusing on exercise intensity, may be key for women to maintaining motivation for physical activity.

According to an article in Medical News Today, written by Honor Whiteman, the co-author of the study, Michelle Segar, of the Sport, Health, and Activity Research Policy Center at the University of Michigan, and colleagues asked women in the study what makes them feel happy and successful.

Additionally, the women were asked about their beliefs and attitudes toward exercise, and the researchers looked at how these conformed with their measures of happiness and success.

“A new understanding of what really motivates women might make an enormous difference in their ability to successfully incorporate physical activity into their daily routine – and have fun doing it,” Segar said.

The researchers found that the elements required for happiness and success were the same for both women who exercised regularly and those that didn’t.

Interestingly, however, for women who were inactive, the researchers found that their beliefs about physical activity counteracted their ingredients for happiness.

For example, the inactive women believed that for exercise to be “valid,” it had to be intense, which negated their need to be relaxed in their leisure time.

What is more, women who were inactive said they felt “pressured” to exercise in order to improve their health or to lose weight, which thwarts their desire to be free from pressure during leisure time.

These perceived expectations about physical activity stop inactive women from reaching their exercise goals, the team notes, and reaching goals is one of their requirements for happiness and success.

To read the article in full please visit the Medical News Today website.


sporttechie logo   

Fitness trackers unreliable as calorie counters

An article on Sport Techie suggests fitness trackers are often wildly inaccurate when counting calories.

Researchers at Stanford University launched a study of 60 volunteers sporting Apple Watch, Basis Peak, Fitbit Surge, Microsoft Band, Mio Alpha 2, PulseOn and the Samsung Gear S2. Six of the devices measured heart rate accurately — with an error rate of less than 5 per cent. Apple Watch had the lowest median heart rate error at 2 per cent, while Samsung Gear had the highest error rate at 6.8 per cent.

All of the devices, however, measured energy expenditure, or calories, very inaccurately. The median error rate across all devices and tasks ranged from 27.4 per cent for Fitbit Surge to 92.6 per cent for the PulseOn.

The researchers said factors such as skin color and body mass index affected measurements, with darker skins and higher BMIs leading to greater errors. Each device also uses its own proprietary algorithm for calculating energy expenditure, which can impact results. 

Much of the reason for the discrepancy between the brands is that consumer devices aren’t held to the same standards as medical-grade devices, said Euan Ashley, a professor of cardiovascular medicine, genetics and biomedical data science at Stanford University. 

Since over-the-counter fitness trackers are not as closely monitored by U.S. regulatory authorities, such as the Food and Drug Administration, which evaluates medical devices, doctors often don’t know what to make of the heart-rate data and other data produced by a patient’s wearable device, he said. 

“People are basing life decisions on the data provided by these devices,” Ashley said. “The take-home message is that a user can pretty much rely on a fitness tracker’s heart rate measurements. But basing the number of doughnuts you eat on how many calories your device says you burned is a really bad idea.”

The researchers have started work on a second iteration of the study that would evaluate the same devices while volunteers wear them and go about their normal day, outside a controlled laboratory setting.

For more information about the study please read the article on the Sport Techie website.