Global athleisure wear market expected to post strong growth this year

Consumer desire for a multifunctional wardrobe is set to continue driving the global athleisure wear market, according to data and analytics research group GlobalData.

Over the last two years, the athleisure trend has risen as demand for comfort, performance and style has driven the need for a multifunctional wardrobe. 68 per cent of consumers who purchased sports clothing for exercise also wore such items for eating out or shopping.

The firm forecasts that the global athleisure wear market will rise 9 per cent this year and will continue to outperform the total clothing and footwear market beyond their 2023 forecast period.

“Over the next five years, the sportswear market will be one of the leading retail sectors,” said GlobalData principal retail analyst Honor Strachan. “Activewear brands are selling consumers a lifestyle, and fashion retailers are leveraging their style credentials to produce affordable fitness ranges to sell alongside core casual and formalwear collections.”

In the UK, 20 per cent of consumers purchased sports clothing specifically for leisure activities and free time, not to exercise in.

“This willingness to pair sportswear with core wardrobe pieces has opened sportswear brands up to new audiences and allowed them to diversify into new product areas,” said Strachan, “boosting their share of the global clothing & footwear market.”

While fashion trends and influencers have driven the success of the global athleisure wear market , the sustainability movement will continue to support the desire for a multifunctional wardrobe. Consumers are purchasing more consciously and reducing spend on fast fashion, playing into the hands of those retailers and brands that can showcase the versatility of their items, as well as the durability and quality.

Moreover, increasing consumer appetite for comfort has also fuelled sales of activewear and trainers with brands utilising their technical expertise in ensuring products offer freedom of movement, aid temperature and sweat control, shape the body and provide support. These qualities have filtered into consumers’ everyday wear and not just when they are at the gym.

Adoption of the athleisure trend in much of Asia has been slower, so international and national brands are leveraging social media, third-party selling platforms and brand ambassadors to sell the appeal of having a sports and street-influenced wardrobe.

“Chinese brand Li-Ning has exploited its credentials as a sports manufacturer to produce high fashion casualwear which can be worn for training or leisure,” concluded Strachan, “while Nike’s instore and online outfit styling provides inspiration on how to wear pieces for multiple uses encouraging consumers in China, Taiwan, South Korea and Japan to incorporate sportswear into their everyday wardrobes.”

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