HONG KONG, February 23, 2009 – The global trade in sports balls may have taken a dramatic bounce for the better because of the 2008 Beijing Olympics, according to data collected by Alibaba.com (HKSE: 1688; 1688.HK), the worlds largest business-to-business e-commerce company.
Despite the downturn in the worldwide economy, interest in sports showed a significant upturn according to the figures revealed by search requests made on the online international marketplace. Soccer balls and basketballs were the top two types of sports balls sought after for mass purchase in 2008, followed closely by badminton shuttlecocks.
All three product types gained in popularity during the year, with soccer balls posting a 77 percent year-on-year increase and basketballs rising 6 percent as of January 2009. Badminton shuttlecock search requests rose 133 percent. Volleyballs, which were the seventh most searched balls last year, rose 17 percent. In total, searches for sports balls, which also included shuttlecocks and hockey pucks, measured in January 2009 rose nearly 31 percent year-on-year.
“The common thread between soccer, basketball, badminton and volleyball is that all four sports were featured prominently during the 2008 Beijing Olympics; all had strong competitors from a number of nations around the world in contention for medals; and searches for all four surged after the Olympics from September through to December. The implication is that many companies around the world may have ordered more of these items for the holiday season to meet the growing appetite,” said Sabrina Peng, Alibaba.com vice president of website operations.