Why Buying Women’s Football Shirts is Still Complicated

Klarna X Sophie Hind

There is no doubt when it comes to women’s football the tide is turning. Since the Lionesses’ inspiring Euro 2022 win and heartbreaking World Cup final loss against Spain in 2023, support for the Women’s game has gained significant momentum. According to a recent survey by Sports Innovation Lab, 69% of people have attended or watched a women’s sports event on TV or digital platforms in the past 12 months, which equates to a record-breaking 46.7 million viewers – and the number looks set to grow.

With many of the players becoming household names and with matches played at sold-out Premier League stadiums the women’s game is breaking through the gender barrier when it comes to support, so why is one major aspect still dragging behind? Yes, we’re talking about the merch. According to Klarna, sales of women’s football shirts through its platform are up 17% year over year (growing twice as fast as men’s shirt sales which are up just 8% from a year earlier), but this increase appears not to be reflected in the items available.

The study by Sports Innovation Lab also found 8 out of 10 people said they would buy more if it was available and shockingly 78% reported a noticeable gap in not only availability, but quality too. After a quick google search it’s clear that the options are just not out there for women or girls who want to buy their club or country merchandise.

“Consumer appetite for league, team, and athlete merchandise is vastly exceeding supply,” said Angela Ruggiero, Co-Founder of Sports Innovation Lab. “There is a golden opportunity for retailers to capitalise on a surging market that is telling us if you create something authentic to the community, they will buy it.”

However, female fans have been left frustrated when it comes to supporting their teams or players, often spending hours searching on google on to find limited availability. Which is why Klarna has launched a dedicated women’s sports merchandise hub. It aims to collate all the different retailers and options in one place to prevent disappointment. “There is a wide-open goal for any sportswear brand who caters to the women’s sports boom, but surprisingly, not enough are stepping up just yet,” says Megan Gokey, Klarna’s Head of B2C Marketing and Brand Partnerships. “We launched this research to raise awareness of the Merch Gap and goad the big brands into serving female sports fans.”

To raise awareness and to celebrate the launch, Klarna has worked together with global football media brand COPA90 to create new merchandise, including a football shirt and t-shirt. Designed by Sophie Hird, who in the past designed a cap with Mitre to commemorate the forgotten Women’s World Cup team of 1971, the merchandise all features the phrase “Rep Her” to symbolises the growing influence of women’s sports and celebrates fans’ passion.

The Klarna X Sophie Hind range will be available from today on Klarna and at Foundys, which is the world’s first retail site dedicated solely to women’s football. Helen Hardy, launched Foundys in 2020 after she was frustrated at the lack of availability for fans of women’s football and has been astonished by the response. “While our goal was to double our growth annually, we’ve actually tripled it which clearly shows the immense demand for women’s football merchandise,” says Hardy. “I’m thrilled to be part of this initiative with Klarna, recognising the value of women’s sports and helping to ensure that fans are no longer underserved.”

The Klarna X Sophie Hird ‘Rep Her’ – Football Shirt (£60) and Klarna X Sophie Hind T-Shirt (£22) are available now and all proceeds from the sales will benefit The Laces Community Clubs, supporting the growth and visibility of women’s sports.

Lauren Ezekiel is an associate editor at PS UK, where she writes about all things beauty and wellness. With a degree in journalism and 12 years’ experience as a beauty editor at a leading Sunday supplement, she is obsessed with skincare, hair and makeup, and is often found offering advice to innocent bystanders. Her work has been published in Grazia, OK, Health and Beauty, The Sun, ASDA, Dare and Metro.

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