Priceonomics

This post is adapted from the blog of Perfect Price, a Priceonomics customer. Does your company have interesting data? Become a Priceonomics customer.

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From humble beginning of gym class sweatpants, athletic wear is now a lucrative business.

A lightweight softshell here, some extra-cushioned wool socks there, a moisture-wicking jersey, a pair of barefoot running shoes. It adds up. If you’re not careful, you may inadvertently spend $80 on a t-shirt.

Gear for sports and outdoor recreation is expensive. But at some stores, it seems like it’s extra expensive. To shed light on this adventurous world, we investigated a simple question: At which sporting/outdoors retailers do people spend the most money?

For this analysis, we analyzed our database of billions of credit card transactions maintained by Priceonomics customer Perfect Price to identify how much people spend at popular sporting retailers like LuluLemon, REI, and North Face. 

Among all the stores we looked at, where do shoppers spend the most on when buying athletic gear? LuluLemon of course.

LuluLemon Tops the the Rankings

In our search for the outdoor store where people spend the most money, we looked at the top retailers (in terms of revenue) for all retailers that sell sporting/outdoor goods in the United States. We excluded general department stores like TJ Maxx and WalMart, and we included notable chains like the North Face and Patagonia. 

The chart below shows the median price of a shopping trip to each of the major sports and outdoors retailers in the United States. 

Data source: Perfect Price

The store with the highest median for single transactions is LuluLemon at $100, which means that shoppers commonly spend $100 per visit to the store.

This isn't terribly suprising as LuluLemon’s core product—yoga pants—costs around $100 a pair. LuluLemon is followed by North Face, Foot Locker, REI and Nike, each of which have a median transaction of over $80. 

The stores with the lowest median transactions are Sports Authority, Journeys, Academy Sports, and Dick’s. 

REI has more Big, Big Shoppers

When we look at which stores have the highest percentage of shoppers making really big purchases, another leader emerges.

Data source: Perfect Price

21% of REI shoppers spent more than $200 in a single trip. This is a significantly higher percentage than at any other outdoors/sporting goods retailer—including the stores of expensive brands like North Face and Patagonia.

If we track the distribution of sales with more detail, a curious pattern emerges. In the plot below, we compare REI to LuluLemon, North Face, and Dick’s, parsing out the percentage of purchases that fall into different spending categories.

Data source: Perfect Price

Dick’s represents a store where people mostly purchase bargain buys. North Face and LuluLemon are typical of another type of store: most people buy $50-$200 worth of products, and a smaller percentage of shoppers make really big or really small purchases.

REI is different. Twenty to thirty percent of shoppers fall into each category, meaning that the store has about as many big spenders as it does small spenders and midrange spenders.

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When it comes to the question of where people spend the most on outdoors and sporting goods, context is key. 

If you want to know where people spend the most money on average, the answer is LuluLemon: yoga couture doesn’t come cheap. But if you want to know where people consistently spend hundreds of dollars, it’s REI.

Note: If you’re a company that wants to work with Priceonomics to turn your data into great stories, learn more about the Priceonomics Data Studio



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