What New Sports Customers Are Trying Out, and How to Use Sports Mannequins to Sell to Them

The coronavirus lockdown was incredibly tough for retail, but there may well be one or two glimmers of hope now that shops are open once again. One of the unexpected consequences of the shutdown was that many people took up new forms of exercise.

The coronavirus lockdown was incredibly tough for retail, but there may well be one or two glimmers of hope now that shops are open once again. One of the unexpected consequences of the shutdown was that many people took up new forms of exercise. Whether it was to alleviate boredom and loneliness or merely to work off the stockpile of chocolate they had made their way through, these are new potential customers for sports retailers. And there is a host of sports mannequins available to target your displays directly at them.


The list of sports explored by the British public is long and varied, but thankfully so is our stock of different sports mannequins at The Retail Factory. Take a look at this selection of the top sports that people tried out during lockdown and find out how to entice them into your shop with your displays.




By the sixth week of lockdown during the Spring, 63% of UK adults were walking for exercise, according to Sport England. The good weather helped, of course, as did the fact that it is the easiest form of exercise for many people to take up and a perfect way to take advantage of the single allowable recreational pass out of the home that the government allowed.


As the pandemic rumbled on, the public was allowed out of the house for “unlimited” exercise and to travel to do so. Many of these people who had never previously considered walking for exercise took their new venture to the countryside in order to maintain their newfound passion in the national parks, moors and mountains, where it is easy to socially distance.


A lot of these novice walkers will have none of the kit that more seasoned ramblers have amassed. This means there is an opportunity to rack up some sales if you can tempt them in. You can find walking sports mannequins in our selection, with a choice of grey and white figures. You can dress them in lightweight waterproofs with rucksacks, hats and walking sticks in order to show off the full kit. Add in sunglasses, water bottles, fitness watches and more.




Another ever more popular sport where there is plenty of specialist kit to sell to newbies is cycling. The Sport England survey found that 13% of us jumped on our bikes every week as we headed deep into the second month of lockdown.


Bike outlets and repair shops struggled to keep up with demand as people enjoyed the environmentally and waistline friendly aspects of cycling, and there is even some research to say that, even as the country returns to whatever normal is now, many of these beginners will ditch the car and commute to work by bike instead.


If that does happen, or even if they continue with their new pastime as merely a weekend pursuit, they will need to swap the slobby t-shirt and shorts garb for the real deal. If you sell cycling clothing, put together one of our bike-mounted sports mannequins in a full outfit to guide these novices in the right direction.



Internet analysis site Brandwatch looked into the stats on people mentioning running online and found that this activity also received a real lockdown boost. More people mentioned running on social media in March than in January and February combined, whilst the same pattern was seen in people sharing details of their runs on the various running apps.


In terms of commerciality of running, nearly half a million social media users mentioned buying new footwear for their running activities, and 60,000 talked about getting new headphones to help them soundtrack their runs.


This shows how much of a selling opportunity there is around new runners. We have a choice of running sports mannequins, with jogging or sprinting options available. You can choose the one that suits your stock or use a selection of both to produce a varied and eye-catching display. 


Aerobics, Pilates and Yoga


Whilst running, walking and cycling are perfect outdoor pursuits for anyone hoping to remain two metres away from others, there was also a lot of love for activities that you could indulge in at home.


Aerobics and other similar exercise classes were given a boost by Joe Wicks. The Body Coach provided free live streams to get kids and parents moving in the mornings from March until July. Millions of viewers caught the sessions either live or later on, and many are continuing to work through the enthusiastic exercise guru’s back catalogue even now he has stepped down from his position as the nation’s PE teacher.


Other indoor pursuits such as pilates and yoga have also seen a huge increase in popularity, with a host of online lessons being made available during lockdown. These are all sporting endeavours that work so much better when you are wearing the proper, well-fitted kit that moves and stretches in ways that complement what your body is supposed to be doing.


This is something that you can capitalise on, thanks to our dedicated aerobics, pilates and yoga sports mannequins. These stand out as being unusual and out of the ordinary on the shop floor. They act as a beacon for these newbies who might be nervous about entering into this new world for them. Welcome them over with a stunning display that tells them exactly what they need to buy from you!