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Athleisure set to grow to 2.5 billion pounds

By Danielle Wightman-Stone


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The UK sportswear market is expected to increase by 8 percent to 2.5 billion pounds this year, as the athleisure trend continues to grow, according to the latest figures from GlobalData.

The UK Sports Market 2017 to 2022 report reveals that the athleisure trend has been a major contributor to the growth of sports clothing in the UK and that customer demand follows “high profile attention via Instagram influencers”.

The 8 percent increase in sportswear is in stark contrast to the forecasted growth of the overall clothing market which is expected to grow by 2.1 percent this year, according to the business information and analytics provider GlobalData.

The growth in sportswear has been helped by the creation of sports categories by high street retailers in recent years including H&M, Boohoo, Primark, New Look, Ted Baker, Topshop, Whistles, Superdry and Jack Wills, and will be further boosted later this year when Asos launches its own-label sportswear line in November.

The Asos launch is likely to fuel further spend per head as a result of its “strong foothold in the market given the brand’s broad appeal, fashion credentials and loyal shopper following“, states GlobalData.

Sportswear to increase by 8 percent this year compared to 2.1 percent for the total clothing market

Fiona Paton, retail analyst for GlobalData, said: “Sales growth in athleisure is set to peak in 2017 but it will remain a very popular category over the next five years, outperforming total clothing. The health and wellbeing trend, influence of high profile fitness bloggers and continued investment from the government in initiatives such as improving cycle routes will increase consumer participation in sport and exercise – providing retailers with a larger, more varied activewear customer base.

“As fashion retailers such as New Look, Primark and Asos invest in affordable, trend-led own brand sportswear ranges, female shoppers have access to more choice, will spend more on impulse and will purchase athleisure pieces in replacement of core casual wear items.”

Gym fitness, swimming and running are the preferred activities among females and all have seen an increase in participation levels over the last year according to GlobalData’s survey of 10,000 UK consumers. The wellness trend has also contributed to this shift, with health and fitness bloggers such as Ella Woodward, Joe Wicks and Shaun T gaining a substantial following and subsequently raising awareness of healthy living and the benefits of regular exercise which all supports the athleisure market.

Paton added. “GlobalData believes non-sports specialists can lean on their fashion credentials and skills in interpreting seasonal trends quickly to ensure regular newness and that collections remain relevant, thereby forcing sports players such as Sports Direct to up their fashion game.

“In order to compete in the increasingly crowded sportswear market, more premium brands must find ways of increasing destination appeal, such as working with high-profile celebrities or fitness and sports personalities and enhancing social engagement. Sweaty Betty, Nike and Lululemon are strong examples of brands already engaging with their customers via free gym classes, VIP discounts, and yoga and running clubs – services the non-specialists will find difficult to replicate.”

Images: courtesy of Jack Wills

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