Experiential Marketing – Strategies to boost business growth in millennial sportswear markets by Lokesh Mishra, COO, Rhiti Group

Digitization has enabled the sector in spreading information about brands and has also helped brands in becoming more aware of the needs of the athletes, writes Lokesh Mishra.


Focus on fitness and exercise is inculcated in us as early as our school days but we start shirking it as the daily chores of grown-up life start taking a toll on us. A recent survey showed that 53 per cent of Indian women and 44 per cent men are “inactive” and burn less than 50 per cent of calories that a person should burn through physical activity, daily. Even more worrisome is the fact that over 50% of India’s population residing in metro and tier-1 cities is obese. However, the growing awareness about lifestyle diseases and concerns around physical and mental well-being is now pushing people towards exercising and maintaining their health.

The ensuing rise in fitness activities and outlets has been a boon for the sportswear and accessories industry, with athleisure becoming one of the major trends in fashion. Brands are gearing up to cater to the new-age millennial and their changing requirements – targeting them through different avenues as digital marketing gains prominence. Digitization has enabled the sector in spreading information about brands and has also helped brands in becoming more aware of the needs of the athletes.

In 2017, the Indian sports and fitness goods market reached a value of US$ 3,621 Million and is further projected to reach US$ 6,054 Million by 2024, showing a compounded annual growth rate of 9.0% during 2019-2024. India is Asia’s third largest retail market and the world’s fourth largest after US, China, and Japan, with one of the fastest growing major economies in the world, according to a report by Delloitte and RAI 2019 on Unraveling the Indian Consumer. The Indian retail industry is being shaped by trends like the increasing importance of millennials who are change makers in their own right, growth in multi-channel retail, technology aiding retail play and social commerce.

Some Experiential Marketing Strategies that Brands Need to Focus On

E-commerce ramping up business: This aspect of marketing has a make-or-break impact, especially for growing brands. It has been instrumental in enabling brands to access smaller cities and towns where it is difficult to have a brick and mortar presence. The flashing of new launches and sales details on the e-commerce platform ensures that your audience is up to date with your offerings and can access your products at the click of a button.

Social media marketing: With the prolific use of smartphones, social media use has grown exponentially. Youngsters and even the older population are glued to media platforms for updates regarding everything they find interesting and fashion and sportswear fall in this category. Having a robust presence on social media means that the audience can be in touch with you and you can be privy to their requirements. Harnessing the power of social media through focused campaigns will greatly increase your visibility.

Bloggers meets: Bloggers have their finger at the pulse of the audience and are one of the best ways to understand what your target consumer wants. Regular interactions with bloggers ensure that you are aware of what the influencers are talking about and what is in vogue. Further, with their huge list of followers, bloggers are the best mouth-pieces for brand promotion and percolation.

B2B partnerships: Sportswear companies catering to the requirements of Business to Business partners gain visibility through such representations. Brands can collaborate on polos, tees, jackets, sports accessories and other items that a corporate might require under clothing and mementos.

Targeting tier-2&3 cities: While more established brands usually focus on metros and tier-1 cities, growing brands should turn their focus towards the smaller cities because this is where real India lies. Being in touch with and catering to the needs of these cities will ensure that your brand gains popularity as well as a dedicated customer base. Smaller cities are also getting very conscious about fitness and this is the best time to tap them and be their preferred sport wear and accessories brand.

Focusing on organic growth: In the race to get ahead, brands sometimes lose sight of their target audience and this affects their user base. It is important to stay grounded and focus on organic growth. Relationships and loyal consumers are developed over time and there is no short-cut for this. The brand should keep its vision in mind and adhere to a well-planned strategy to reach its apex.

The millennial market is booming and this is the best time to be a part of the segment. However, a wrong step can make your brand irrelevant in these times of constant change and it is imperative that you employ strategic experiential marketing tactics to ensure that your brand reaches the pinnacles of success.

Around The World

Our Publications