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Rio and Retail: How the Olympics has affected online sales


The London 2012 Olympics definitely had a large effect on the UK’s economy, with billions of pounds worth of investment in infrastructure and an unprecedented influx of tourism.

Wwhether this was good or bad is still being disputed by economists. 

The BBC reported the Olympics put £9.9 billion into our economy, but the cost of hosting the games stood at around £8.9 billion.

Either way, most economists agree hosting the Olympics is usually bad news financially.

However, studies have shown that the Olympics can have a positive influence on the economy if you’re not hosting it.

Data insight specialist Summit reported that online searches for people looking to purchase Brazilian items have skyrocketed.

People searching to buy “Brazilian food” were 300 per cent higher than average during the event, “Brazilian drink” was up by 250 per cent, and “Brazilian cocktail” up a massive 450 per cent.

“Interestingly, the London 2012 Olympics had an instant impact of circa plus-10 per cent on the UK sports market during the event," Summit's head of insight Martin Corcoran told the Retail Gazette.

"Much of the growth from London occurred in the first week of the games which saw sales/demand 10 per cent higher than any other week in July – August."

RELATED: Discounting encourages 19 per cent online sales growth

Boxing is the most popular sport for Brits in the Rio Olympics, with the search for related items peaking on August 13.

“The weather will have a significant impact on customer behaviour and market sales of sports goods,” Martin said.

“We know weather triggers customer behaviour and this will change year on year. Sports retailers need to have great customer campaigns primed and ready for when the summer sun comes out so they can maximise the increase in demand for outdoor sports products.

“Viewing figures will be down compared to 2012. 2016 was the first year for the extended Euro 2016 football tournament and many of the Rio events are on during the night, which is likely to have affected the impact of the event.

“It’s worth bearing in mind the negative coverage of the Olympics, and considering if this has also had an impact on conversion to sales.”

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Published on Thursday 18 August by Ben Stevens

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