Today marks the release of L2′s 2012 Digital IQ Index: Sportswear report. For the first time ever, we have benchmarked the digital competence of the world’s most iconic sportswear brands. From running shoes to yoga apparel, snowboards to high-end casual wear, the 42 brands in this study run the gamut, both in their merchandise and in their commitment to digital. In this inaugural report, we anoint two digital Geniuses — Nike and adidas — highlight a variety of brand “Flashes of Genius” from the past year, and provide a comprehensive ranking of all 42 brands according to 675 data points across Site, Digital Marketing, Social Media, and Mobile.


2012’s Top Sportswear brands:



Some study highlights:


Size matters, with notable exceptions: A correlation exists between a brand’s size and its Digital IQ. Heavyweights like Nike and adidas are the most obvious examples of this, with both companies well-resourced to fund efforts across platforms, as well as hire top-quality, dedicated staff to oversee their execution. There are exceptions, however, as smaller lines like The North Face, Under Armour and Vans all proved, each of which earned higher Digital IQs than the size of their businesses would indicate.


Traffic stream highlights biggest threat:  While Facebook currently drives an average of 10 percent of traffic to sportswear brands’ sites, online retail giant Amazon, is playing an increasingly pronounced role in this ecosystem. For three-quarters of the 42 brands in the study, Amazon is a top downstream site, averaging 5 percent of all downstream traffic. This figure strongly indicates that consumers are discovering items on brands’ sites, then price-comparing — and likely buying — on Amazon.


Email marketing is undervalued: We found across the board that sportswear brands have underinvested in basic email marketing. Though social media spend is more in vogue than email, email still enjoys a comparatively higher conversion: 4.25 percent vs. 0.59 percent from social media in Q2. Sportswear brands sent an average of just 0.9 emails per week in July and August, two-thirds less than specialty retailers sent (2.7) during the same period (per our 2012 Digital IQ Index: Specialty Retail study).


The full Sportswear report is available only to L2 members, but for more top-level insights and a closer look at the rankings, we encourage you to download an excerpt. Also, be sure to watch our original animated video below and to check the blog throughout the coming weeks for additional report-related posts.


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