September 2017 Update

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


Fung Global Logo   

US Back to School trends – classic sneakers are big

According to Fung Global Retail and Tech, one of the five big trends for the US back-to-school market is the rise of the classic sneaker. In fact, this year, the hottest styles are modern takes on classic designs.

According to the Sneakernomics blog from NPD, classics, lifestyle running and casual athletic will remain the strongest growth categories for US back-to-school footwear. However performance footwear sales will remain soft.

According to Fung, Adidas is the go-to back-to-school shoe brand. The company’s Originals line is a consumer favorite, with updated classics that incorporate new materials and continued collaborations with celebrities.

Urban Outfitters’ entire shoe collection is devoted to inspired, classic looks. The retailer sells a sneaker collection by Vans called Old Skool and also offers selections by Adidas, Puma suede sneakers with platform soles, original Tretorns and Nikes, New Balance nylon sneakers, and Converse Chuck Taylor All Star ’70 Vintage Canvas high-top and mid-top sneakers.

According to Google Trends, “Chuck Taylor All Stars” searches are currently at an all-time high.

Vans Slip-On sneakers are a growing trend, based on social media buzz and online search patterns over the past three months, according to Trendalytics, a merchandise intelligence platform that tracks trends. Online searches for “Vans Slip-Ons” are up 35 per cent compared with last year.

To read more about trends in the US back-to-school market, please read the article on the Fung website.


Better Block Foundation Logo   

Tactical Urbanism shows benefits of human-centred design

An article on the CityLab website about ‘tactical urbanism’ discusses how, by making small changes to an intersection in a small city, urban planners and local communities can substantially improve their streets and encourage active transport.

On the final weekend of July, in the small city of Barberton (Ohio), the town’s 2nd Street got a small taste of the benefits of tactical urbanism. At 2nd Street’s central intersection, colourful bump-outs extended the pedestrian space on the street, shortening crosswalks and forcing drivers to slow down and pay attention. Up the street, parking lots were transformed into a pop-up coffee shop and a mini dog park. One vacant lot became a beer garden, and another became a farmer’s market.

This new streetscape was the work of the Better Block Foundation, which captured the whole event by drone. Before-and-after shots show a rather dreary street come alive with pedestrians, cyclists, and colorful temporary infrastructure.

Barberton’s event was a major boon to the town, says Krista Nightengale, managing director of the foundation. Local restaurants sold out of food, and the town’s customary Fourth Fridays festival was one of the busiest ever, community leaders told her. Volunteers also collected data on the gender of attendees, finding that the ratio of women on the street jumped from 42 percent to 53 percent. An increase in the proportion of women on the street can indicate that the street seems safer and more hospitable, according to Better Block’s website.

To find out more please read the article on the CityLab website or visit the Better Block Foundation.



Growth and trends of wearable devices

An interview on with founder of Wearable Technologies, Christian Stammel, discusses how the market for wearables continues to grow and what trends we can expect going forward.

Mr Stammel said “150 million wearable pieces have already been sold worldwide by the year 2016. More than 100 million of these were alone smartwatches. The market will continue growing this year and once again gain ground in the high-priced smartwatch sector. A strong consolidation can be seen when it comes to smartwatches for fitness.”

“New players capture the sector. In the first quarter of 2017, for example, Apple ousted Chinese manufacturer Xiaomi out of the top spot where worldwide sales figures are concerned.”

Optical sensors are on the rise when it comes to trackers, and will allow for a more exact and up-to-date data analysis. Developments here are no longer far off being able to measure blood pressure or oxygen saturation directly at your wrist.

The first products will most likely appear in the shops at the end of the year. Data analysis is becoming quicker and more exact and is constantly providing better projections. With that, wearables will soon become very good medical prevention devices.

An important area will be so-called smart band-aids: electronics that are applied directly to the skin and remain there throughout the treatment and monitoring period. That can be anywhere between a few days and over a week.

To read more about the coming trends in wearables, please visit the ISPO website.


Athletic Business Logo   

Research shows benefits of school recess

An article on Athletic Business discusses how elementary schools in Carmel (Indiana, USA), are rethinking students’ limited play time during the school day after mounting research suggests it helps learning.

Research suggests recess not only benefits children physically but helps them focus during class and improve grades and test scores. A Centers for Disease Control and Prevention review of 50 studies found that recess, movement during lessons and extracurricular activities have a positive association with academics.

In 2013, the American Academy of Pediatrics released a study in support of recess, calling it a “necessary break” from academic rigor. The study found the freedom to explore and socialize helps children be more attentive and productive in the classroom.

“The American Academy of Pediatrics believes that recess is a crucial and necessary component of a child’s development,” the study said. “And, as such, it should not be withheld for punitive or academic reasons.”

Please read the article on Athletic Business for more information.


SGB Media   

PHIT America gets 150,000 kids moving

According to an article on SGB Media, PHIT America announced that more than 150,000 elementary school children over the past 24 months have remained physically active through the PHIT America GO! Grants program.  To date, PHIT America, with the help of its sponsors, has invested over $1,000,000 in the PHIT America GO! Grants program.

Since the fall of 2015, PHIT America GO! Grants have been awarded to more than 300 elementary school P.E. programs by PHIT America, with the support of three-year partner, KIDS in the GAME

PHIT America GO! Grants help schools that are in desperate need of gear, programming or training for physical activity programs.  PHIT America GO! Grants range in size from $1,000 to $5,000 per school. Every PHIT America GO! Grant is focused on providing assistance to schools which want to help students improve their motor skills, reduce obesity, and increase physical literacy and fitness.

“We are proud to get more kids active and playing sports while fighting the ‘Inactivity Pandemic’,” says Jim Baugh, Founder of PHIT America. “We have beaten our projections and our average cost per child is less than $15. That is an incredibly small price to pay for the transformative power exercise has on these kids’ academic, physical and emotional health. The PHIT America GO! Grants are changing lives.”

To read more about the PHIT America GO! Grants, please click through to the article on the SGB Media website.


NPD Logo   

No, Athleisure isn’t dead

According to Matt Powell’s Sneakernomics blog on the NPD website, due to the disappointing quarterly results from some of the major US sports retailers, there has been a renewed cry that the athleisure trend is over.

According to Matt, while recent results for athleisure have been challenged, the rest of the apparel and footwear markets have actually been much worse, indicating that athleisure as a category is not dead. There is no indication that the athleisure customer is spending their money on other footwear and apparel.

We cited a year ago that many fashion brands were rushing into athleisure to tap into the positive growth the category was experiencing at the time. This has created a glut of brands that are making performance apparel when they have no history of making (or marketing) “performance apparel.”

We predicted a bubble, and that bubble is bursting. In the meantime, the glut of inventory is hurting the core performance brands and retailers.

The sports industry is at a critical crossroad. Will the industry go the way of the rest of teen retail, chasing the deepest discounts in a race to the bottom, or will the industry do the right thing and return to the days of full-price sales, focusing on the aspiration and inspiration that made the industry great? 

To read more of Matt’s blog Sneakernomics, please go to the NPD website.



Everybody active, every day – UK physical activity support plan

‘Everybody active, every day’ is a UK national, evidence-based approach, designed by Public Health England (PHE), to support all sectors to embed physical activity into the fabric of daily life. They want to make physical activity an easy, cost-effective and ‘normal’ choice in every community in England.

PHE has co-produced the framework with over 1,000 national and local leaders in physical activity and is calling for action from providers and commissioners in: health, social care, transportation, planning, education, sport and leisure, culture, the voluntary and community sector, as well as public and private employers.

To make active lifestyles a reality for all, the framework’s 4 areas for action will:

  • change the social ‘norm’ to make physical activity the expectation
  • develop expertise and leadership within professionals and volunteers
  • create environments to support active lives
  • identify and up-scale successful programmes nationwide

‘Everybody active, every day’ is part of the cross-government ‘Moving More, Living More’ campaign for a more active nation as part of the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games legacy.

To read more about the plan, please visit the PHE website.


Active for Life logo   

Active parents equals active kids

An article on Active for Life shows how, according to new research by Statistics Canada, children benefit when parents increase their own daily physical activity.

A CBC report on the study explains that a “child’s level of physical activity rises by 5 to 10 minutes for every 20-minute increase in the physical activity of a parent.”

Similarly, children walked an additional 200 to 350 steps for every 1,000 steps that a parent walked. This connection is important to keep in mind when encouraging children to get the recommended 60 minutes of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA) per day.

A similar relationship was also found between parent and child sedentary time. For every hour that a parent spent inactive, there was an 8- to 15-minute increase in the sedentary time of a child.

There was one exception, though. StatsCan found that, regardless of parents’ behaviour, children involved in organized sport averaged between 5 and 15 minutes more MVPA per day.

In addition to activity level, there was also a link between a child’s weight and the weight of their parents. Studies showed that girls and boys with an overweight parent were twice as likely to be overweight themselves, compared to children with a parent of normal weight. Girls, in particular, were more at risk.

For more information please read the article on the Active for Life website.


IbisWorld Logo   

Middle class Chinese driving growth in fitness

According to new research from IBISWorld, the gym, health and fitness clubs industry in China is set to generate $6.31 billion in 2017, with annualized growth of 12 per cent over the last five years.

The growth has been due to the increasing disposable incomes and health awareness among Chinese urban, middle-class consumers, along with a growing perception that fitness clubs are a fashionable, up-market product.

Gym memberships in China have doubled since 2008 to hit 6.6 million last year, according to the China Business Research Academy.

Running has also become a popular pastime, with more than 100 marathons held last year (compared to 51 in 2014), while the number of yoga practitioners is estimated to have grown from four million in 2009 to more than 10 million today.

According to a White Paper released last month, from less than 500 fitness clubs in 2001, there are now more than 37,000 gyms around the country.

The government is also playing a role, paying more attention to the general fitness of Chinese citizens. As a result, fitness exercises provided by fitness clubs are highly promoted and many fitness industry players are receiving government assistance.

The Beijing Olympic Games in 2008 also generated significant publicity for physical exercises and bodybuilding. As a result, the number of fitness clubs increased greatly and many existing players enlarged their offerings and established more chains to meet the growing demand.

To read more about this trend please read an article on the ALM website. For a copy of the research please visit the IBISWorld website.


ALM logo   

New Playground Safety Standards

According to an article on the Australasian Leisure Management website, Standards Australia has announced the publication of the new standard for playgrounds that provides guidance on the development, installation, inspection, maintenance and operation of playgrounds.

The publication of the Standard aims to promote fun and enjoyment through stimulating learning environments while, significantly also including a new risk benefit analysis technique.

Professor David Eager, Chairperson of the Technical Committee CS-005, Playground Equipment, said “The solution is not to wrap kids in cotton wool – the standard is all about challenging children and developing important life skills.”

“The objective of the Standard is to minimise the risk of injury to playground users. It provides designers, owners and operators of playgrounds with guidance on the development, installation, inspection, maintenance and operation of playgrounds.”

“This standard creates the foundation for all Australian playground equipment and surfacing standards.

For more information please read the article on the ALM website or visit Standards Australia.


UniSyd Logo   

Consumers wary of promotional deals attached to games

Retailers may be forced to rethink their marketing strategy with research undertaken by the University of Sydney Business School finding that many consumers reject promotional deals when they are linked to games such as scratch cards or trivia quizzes.

The research, published in the United States based Journal of Consumer Psychology, also found that shoppers with an Anglo background were much less likely than their Asian counterparts to purchase offers made through promotional games.

“These results are likely to cause marketers to rethink their use of games for issuing deal offers to shoppers,” said the Business School’s Professor Donnel Briley. “Games can be effective for helping deal purchases, but only for certain shoppers and under particular circumstances.”

The research team, which also included Professor Shai Danziger of Israel’s Tel Aviv University and r. En Li of Central Queensland University, looked at the difference in consumer responses to deals offered in association with a game and those linked to nongame promotion.

One study examined purchases of discounted coffee offered to some café patrons via a winning scratch card game and others via a standard coupon.

“We found that café visitors responded to the standard coupon offer similarly, regardless of ethnicity,” said Professor Briley. “But, Asian patrons were 20 per cent more likely than Anglo patrons to take up the discount coffee offer when it was made through a scratch card game.”

To read more about the research please visit the Elsevier website.