Research from Kantar Worldpanel shows gym wear has now become a key part of the UK wardrobe. In the past year, our data shows the market has grown 13%, driven by an increase in both the number of people buying activewear and the amount of gym clothing being bought. UK women bought £20m more activewear in the past year, when compared to previous years.
Activewear, or “athleisure” as the fashion press has dubbed the movement, appeals to all ages, transitioning their wardrobes from the gym to socialising and work all in one go. As the fastest growing women’s clothing category, activewear is now worth £267m, growing by 50% in the past 4 years.
While all age groups are aiding activewear growth, the main driver are those under 35 years old. 55 year olds make up 33% of the activewear market, but they account for half of the spend of Under 35 year olds, who consist of 31% of the category. Under 35s are growing 12% year on year in the category and are massively overindexing at 3.1% against the total market in the more expensive price tags.
Activewear’s growth stems from a shift in lifestyle changes by women in the UK. The hashtag #strongnotskinny has become a mantra for women who prize a healthy lifestyle, but also want to look good while working out. The gym is no longer a place to drag yourself to for a routine workout, but a place to be seen, so looking good is of utmost importance, but it isn’t the most important purchasing criteria. For activewear shoppers, 37% say that fit is the most important factor, an overindex of 107 against womenswear shoppers. Surprisingly, 24% of activewear shoppers, however, say that price is second most important, while 24% of womenswear shoppers say that quality is the second most important.
The retailers who have had success in their activewear ranges are the ones who have paid attention to fit and value for quality, rather than just following the trends alone. This is why the likes of Ivy Park, sold at Topshop, has done so well compared to other high street retailers who rushed out lines to bring in new shoppers and drum up press attention.
Despite Sports Direct having a clear hold on the womens activewear market with 19% share, the retailer saw share losses of -1.7% driven by shoppers dropping the retailer from its repertoire. Meanwhile, Primark, ranked third, gained +1.0% share appealing to shoppers attracted to the retailers low prices - the average price of activewear at Primark is £6.02. Conversely, JD Sports, ranked fourth, is on the opposite end of the market in price, appealing to shoppers looking for expensive branded sportswear from the likes of Nike and Adidas.
As activewear grows in the market and continues embed itself as a clothing staple in womenswear, retailers would be wise to understand activewear consumers as a different beast than their average womenswear shoppers. With shoppers stressing fit and price, and investing more in activewear, retailers have an opportunity to not only sell their ranges into their current shopper base, but attract new shoppers if they can get the balance correct.
Source : Kantar Worldpanel