The athletic tapes market continues to remain bullish, as growing awareness on injury management and prevention drives adoption, finds a new study by Fact.MR. Devoid of substantial empirical evidence concerning the use of athletic tapes with performance improvement, sales continue to be influenced by positive word-of-mouth and physician/chiropractor recommendations.
The athletic tapes marketplace remains moderately fragmented, and multinational brands face pricing pressures from local manufacturers. Product penetration is sizeable among hockey and soccer players, but professional tennis players remain the top draw on account of better product visibility and familiarity of support staff with athletic tapes.
Rolls Ubiquitous, but Pre-cuts Gaining Traction
The report finds that end-users have a marked preference for rolls vis-à-vis precut tapes. Athletic tapes have been available in rolls of varying lengths and widths, and roll athletic tapes account for nearly 80% revenue share of the market. Pre-cut athletic tapes are steadily growing in demand, as they offer ready-to-apply feature. Pre-cut athletic tapes do not need measuring and cutting, and receptivity of these features has been positive among end-users. The report opines demand for pre-cut athletic tapes to gain ground at a steady pace during the assessment period.
Kinesiology Tapes – The Athletic Tape that Enabled the Shift from Niche to Mainstream
Kinesiology athletic tapes outsell elastic adhesive bandages and zinc oxide tapes, as the latter need to be removed periodically to restore movement. End-user preference for kinesiology tapes is positively influenced by their therapeutic benefits. The report finds that demand for kinesiology athletic tapes remained subdued for a long time, as applications were limited to patients undergoing physical recuperation. However, the product received unprecedented surge in popularity after US volleyball player Kerri Walsh sported it at the 2008 Olympics while recovering from a rotator-cuff injury.
The popularity of the product has led to recommendations and prescriptions by physicians and chiropractors, and establishment of a multi-million dollar marketplace. Kinesiology tapes are likely to outsell other conventional athletic tapes available in the market, and consistently hold over 50% revenue share during the assessment period.
Considering the multi-pronged demand for athletic tapes, manufacturers continue to focus on broadening their range of offerings. Athletic tapes are available in a wide range of widths, however, the report finds that 1 inch – 2 inch tapes reign supreme in the market. According to the report, sporting goods stores are the preferred sales channel for consumers, owing to the availability of a wide range of affordable and quality athletic tapes. Sales through third party online channels are also surging, as these remain a pragmatic and feasible option for reaching last mile consumers. Manufacturers are not oblivious to the lucrativeness of this fledgling sales channel, and it is highly likely that the marketplace will witness collaborations and tie-ups between manufacturers and leading e-commerce platforms.
The US remains at the forefront – both in terms of innovation and sales, and the status quo is likely to remain unchanged during the assessment period. The surging sales of athletic tapes in the US make North America the largest market for athletic tapes globally. Demand is also complemented by growing popularity of athletic tapes in Europe and Asia Pacific.