Will we continue to wear tracksuits, sneakers and leggings? It is the legitimate question we asked ourselves with the first reopenings, when after so many (too many) days of confinement, we returned to take nice shirts and dresses from our closets. The reopening was necessary, for the sake of our mental health. And yet, the more sequined dresses we wore, the more bras we began to wear again, the more certainty it showed that it had settled in us: comfort, above all. Eight letters, a key word, comfort, but above all a need, a modus vivendi (rediscovered) that has not escaped the sportswear giants: the success of sportswear has made the collections take off, has favored the birth of new brands and new capsules, and also called industry experts to come up with new estimates. How much more will the sportswear market be (still) worth in the coming years?
Estimates point high, very high. An article appeared in world water day just over a year ago it announced that, according to Allied Market Research, by 2024, the sportswear market will be worth approximately $547 billion globally. This boost is partly “thanks” to the pandemic: “It’s interesting to see how people wear sportswear,” Kristen Classi-Zummo, director of Market Insights at NPD Group, told the source. – Before [in pandemia], people wore sportswear to train at home. Now they buy it for everyday activities, to be comfortable on the road or to work from home.” The first effects of sportswear on shopping habits had already been recorded at the end of 2020, when an NPD investigation found that, in the US, exercise. But now, in the post-pandemic climate, what has changed?
The predilection for comfort, the buying trend and the desire to wear sportswear also remained. Data from a study of fashion business, which is added to the estimates citing other useful percentages to understand the phenomenon. The source is based on data from McKinsey & Company: in 2021, the global sportswear market was worth $295 billion and it is expected to reach $395 billion by 2025, with an annual growth rate of between 8 and 10%. But, on balance, what are the causes of the phenomenon?
The success of sportswear does not stem, as one might believe, (only) from established brands like Adidas and Nike.. The big behemoths have a position of power, of course, but the audience they are targeting is, as varied as it may be, if we think of those who praise the sneaker culture, made up solely of professional and aspiring athletes. Instead, there is a new niche, with niche products, that speak to their consumers based on their lifestyle and interests. This is what explains fashion business Cristina Fernández, senior analyst at Telsey Advisory Group: “Brands have known how to find niche spaces to be successful”. In a world of generic sportswear brands, creating products for specific needs has become a true calling, as well as a strategy to close gaps in the market and solve a problem. “Nothing starts without a great product – comment posted by investor Richard Kestenbaum is a BoF. – The brands that are the first to adopt this strategy (from the niche, educate) will leave word of mouth among friends and the network to do the marketing for you.”
Therefore, the #2 factor in the success of sportswear: the power of the community, especially that of real people who do not play sports for competitive purposes but for pure pleasure. An interesting example is that of the Lululemon brand, which since the 1990s has managed to target the passion for yoga (and thus the interest of its community) even before individual advanced practitioners per se. This opens a reflection: today, in 2022, the identity of the final consumer who buys sportswear has changed. Sportswear is worn for training, regardless of whether you are a professional or not, but also because of the need for comfort in circumstances beyond training. It will be a challenge for brands to understand the next steps. It is as if sportswear is now seen from a more “inclusive” perspective. We can all train. But we can’t train either, and wear sportswear (anyway).
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