• 40% of consumers will avoid the World Cup and majority of viewers will watch from home
• 99% of people think Football Association's pricing of replica football shirts is unacceptable
• TV not dead yet – low uptake on computers (8%) and mobile devices (3%) for viewing
The UK retail and leisure sector risks suffering as a result of the low levels of enthusiasm among Brits about the upcoming World Cup, with only just over half of the population planning to follow the games at all, compared to the three quarters that tuned in for the 2010 games [2010 figure sourced for FIFA by KatarSport http://fifa.to/1pMiW0M]. The retail sector will only see an average spend of £16 per head as a result of the tournament, according to new research by leading ecommerce partner Webloyalty (http://www.webloyalty.co.uk/).
The study, carried out by market researchers Conlumino on behalf of Webloyalty, found that approximately 40% of people do not plan on watching, or plan on actively boycotting, the World Cup tournament this year. Of those who do plan on watching the games, the vast majority will be doing so from home, which could disappoint hopes for a surge in the hospitality sector as a result of the World Cup. Watching at home was the most popular option found by the study, chosen by 94% of respondents, compared to watching in the pub, which was only selected as an option by 23% of people.
Although this could mean a slump for the hospitality sector, the large numbers of stay-at-home viewers will drive a total £271m spend on food and drink and a total £359m spend on household electronics. "With so many fans planning to watch the games from home this year, spending on food and drink to entertain friends will be a common priority; and some may take the opportunity to splash out on expensive devices to watch the football on," commented Guy Chiswick, Managing Director of Webloyalty Northern Europe (http://www.webloyaltyuk.com/tag/guy-chiswick/). "Supermarkets and electronics retailers can therefore expect to cash in on football fever this year."
However, consumers are less keen to spend on football merchandise. The study revealed disgruntlement with the Football Association's decision to price England replica football shirts between £60 and £90 this year – 99% of people think it is unacceptable to charge over £60 for a replica shirt and £20.05 was the average price that respondents think of as fair. "Regardless of how big a football fan one may be, the public is clearly unhappy with having to pay so much for a football shirt, which is likely to deter many from buying one", said Guy Chiswick.
Nonetheless, 78% of people said that they would not buy a replica football shirt anyway, regardless of the price, which reflects the overarching low level of enthusiasm about World Cup merchandise – less than 2% of people plan on buying any other tournament or team themed clothing or accessories, such as scarves, posters, mugs, stickers or key rings, which means a lower spend forecasted in this area compared to food and electronics.
When it comes to the way in which people will watch the football, traditional TV remains the most popular viewing option, despite the developments that have been made in digital technology, mobile devices and internet streaming over the last four years since the last World Cup tournament in South Africa. The overwhelming majority (93%) of Brits will be watching the games live on a television set. There will be comparatively low uptake on internet enabled devices, which contradicts recent popular claims about the death of TV – only 8% plan on watching it on computer or laptop and only 3% on a smartphone or tablet.