The athleisure trend has proven as lasting here as across the pond. Athletic apparel and footwear sales passed £6 billion in 2015 and will rise to nearly £7.5 billion in the next four years. However, few brands have developed their digital channels to take advantage of that growth. L2’s Digital IQ Index: U.K. Activewear finds that brand sites are frequently less sophisticated than their U.S. counterparts, in areas from guided selling to omnichannel.
Digital IQ: 162
adidas usurps the top spot from Nike this year thanks to stronger e-mail marketing and paid search tactics. The brand also makes significant investments in both desktop and mobile advertising, having garnered 260 million impressions from 85 campaigns in the last six months. On Instagram, the brand has gained over 12 million followers between its two regional Instagram accounts @adidasuk and @adidasfootball.
Digital IQ: 157
The brand’s boundary-pushing investments include the first women’s-only store in the U.K. – a retail concept first implemented in the U.S. – as well as virtual reality content. When Nike posted an interactive video of its Hypervenom II launch, the video got more than seven million views. Nike also dominates both paid and organic search visibility across key category terms such as “trainers,” consistently topping the results list across Google’s PLAs, paid ads, and organic.
Digital IQ: 137
Reebok maintains its strong European foothold with commendable digital performance across all dimensions. Given its continued innovation through the Be More Human campaign, the brand stops just short of ranking in the Genius category.
4. Under Armour
Digital IQ: 136
The brand’s interconnected fitness apps have earned unparalleled market share for Activewear brand-owned content, achieving high popularity ranks on both iTunes and Google Play. Incorporating m-commerce and compatible with both branded and non-branded devices, the apps essentially create a one-stop health and fitness system.
Digital IQ: 132
By leveraging content relating to product releases and collaborations, Vans boosts engagement and gains followers on regional European social media pages. For example, the brand’s Instagram account uses videos to promote partnerships with brand ambassadors.
Digital IQ: 131
Timberland maintains its Gifted status with an array of advanced features including access to live chat on product pages. The brand also offers click-and-collect options, recognizing the popularity of click-and-collect in the U.K.
Digital IQ: 125
Puma woos U.K. sports fans with customizable football kits and pages dedicated to Premier League brand ambassadors. With nearly 20 million followers across major social platforms, the brand has a firm grasp on European popularity.
7. The North Face
Digital IQ: 125
While its U.K. site fails to include best-in-class features from the U.S. version such as the recently unveiled artificial intelligence-powered guided selling tool, the brand continues to offer a superior e-commerce experience. In addition, The North Face maintains impressive visibility across sportswear retailers.
Digital IQ: 124
The brand graduated from Average to Gifted by boosting display advertising. Its sophisticated web advertising strategy achieves maximum exposure by offering a variety of creatives across numerous publishers. On both desktop and mobile, Arc’teryx deploys video ads and ads containing promo codes to encourage purchase.
9. Sweaty Betty
Digital IQ: 124
The U.K.-based brand matches larger peers in both creatives and impressions across desktop and mobile advertising. Its sophisticated site features several guided selling techniques as well as omnichannel options such as click-and-collect.
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